I’ve recently finished reading The Year of Less by Cait Flanders and I think it’s one of those books I will remember for years. It’s a memoir of her year spent doing a self-imposed shopping ban, but it’s much more than that since she also gives you advice and resources to start your own.
I’m not a compulsive buyer, I always overthink my purchases and, most of the times, my mom needs to force me buying stuff. But I won’t deny that since I discovered the planning community online, I’ve spent more money on stationery than I’d like to admit. Another kind of things I like to buy is digital stuff because it’s immediate, it doesn’t take space cluttering your house, and it’s usually cheaper than physical stuff. Since getting an improvement on our WiFi connection, I’ve started: a Netflix subscription (but my parents use it too so it isn’t just for me), renting movies on Google Play (it all started when they offered me the first one for only 0,99 €), purchasing filter packs for A Color Story (because they are “just” 2/3€!), downloading workbooks and other printables, taking online classes, and so on. As I said, these things are most of the times useful and don’t take physical space in my small room, but the fact that they cost me all under 10€ is basically the most dangerous thing ever because you don’t realize how much you’re actually spending!
Reading Cait’s book made me realize that I’d like to stop mindless shopping things I don’t need and to save some money, but a whole year would be too scary for me. So I decided to do a 90-ish days experiment (basically the length of a season), using my birthday as an end date. On October 27th, I’ll be 28 years old, so I thought it would be nice to dedicate my last months as a 27 years old person to do something meaningful and useful for myself.
In her book, Cait recommends to write three lists:
- The Essentials List: things you’re allowed to buy whenever you run out of them
- The Nonessential List: things you’re not allowed to buy during your shopping ban
- The Approved Shopping List: specific things you’re allowed to buy during your shopping ban
I’m going to keep it simple and share just the second and the third lists here.
I’m allowed to buy:
- clothes and shoes (if needed, I never purchase them just for fun)
- skincare products (if I finish the current ones)
- presents for others (I usually take advantage of Amazon Prime Day to purchase some birthday/Christmas gifts in advance to save some money)
- pen pal stuff (stamps, envelopes, etc.)
- 1 ebook per month (if it’s under 9€) OR 2 ebooks per month (if they are under 4€)
- I can rent only 1 movie per month (but only if it’s under 3,90€)
- experiences (exhibitions, cinema, dinner out with friends, etc.)
I’m NOT allowed to buy:
- stationery of any kind (if I finish something essential, like the black gel pen I use to write everywhere or my trusty paper pad, I will just buy it from Muji because it’s cheap and the quality is great, this way I wouldn’t need to replace it only because the pen stopped functioning or the paper is horribly thin)
- online classes, courses or webinars
- digital planner supplies
- apps or in-app purchases (filter packs or Project Life kits, for example)
- physical books
- home decor
I just want to point out that I didn’t include big purchases like electronics and similar only because I never spend money on them if I don’t have to replace something broken.
I’m very excited to start this project for myself and I don’t care if I thought about it only this morning and not last Sunday, at the beginning of the new month. The important is to just start, right? 🙂