Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My first shopping ban slip up

Yesterday I worked on planting our late summer garden.  We agreed that even though this wasn't a "necessary" expense, it's not really shopping and impulsive either.  And since the garden will provide food, we don't feel that it falls within the shopping ban restrictions.

I went to the local hardware store for organic soil to build up the raised beds and some seeds and also bought several packets of flower seeds.  At the time it didn't even occur to me that flowers are "fun" and definitely part of the ban.  In fact, I didn't realize my mistake until after I had planted two packets:(

I have three packets of flower seeds left and I'm going to return them.  It's only about $6 but this experiment isn't just about the money, it's about changing our thought process when shopping.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New way of shopping

When I first told my friend, Tina about the shopping ban, she said, "Well, this isn't going to be any fun for me!".  We do weird shopping together, not the typical girls day with lunch out and buying clothes for ourselves.  Usually, we go to Target and get food, toiletries, and other boring everyday stuff on our lists.  But we also easily drop $10-20 on stuff from the dollar spot that is too adorable not to buy or fun holiday stuff that will take up more storage in our garages.

I've been to Target and Walmart once each since we started the ban and I noticed two things:

1.  Shopping with Tina isn't really that different.  I still found fun stuff in the dollar spot and cute outfits in the girls section but instead of buying them myself, I just suggested that she buy them:)  

2.  I waste less time.  I can think of three different things I saw at Walmart yesterday that I would have wandered over and looked at pre-ban but they were all fun or unnecessary items so I didn't even waste my time on them yesterday because I knew they were banned.  

I think this week may be hardest on Pops.  One of his favorite companies is having a "Christmas in July" sale and a backpack he wants is on sale for $199...which is apparently a great price?  He definitely doesn't need it and I know he knows that but he's brought it up a few times this week so I think it's killing him a little bit that he can't buy it. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

So. Much. Stuff.

Just like Blonde on a Budget, we're doing a MAJOR purge with our shopping ban.  And let me say, it's been eye opening.  The girls got rid of so much clothing and still have plenty left in their closet.  

We call this pile "Clothes Mountain".  We joked about it but it really makes me feel embarrassed. We just went through their closet and dresser a few months ago so it's not like this is a year's worth of outgrown clothing.  In fact, most of this still fits them, it's just not their style anymore (apparently they're both VERY anti-pink now).  We do get a lot of hand me downs from friends but a large portion of this was purchased by us or my mom.

I work at a very low income school with lots of students who have very minimal clothing, maybe only two pairs of pants.  If those pants get stained or torn or don't fit anymore, they continue to wear them.  I've let my girls think that clothing is disposable and if you don't love what you have, we'll just go out and buy something new. I rarely try to mend or re-purpose anything and don't think twice about running to the store.  

Here's a perfect example of our issue.  A few months ago, I realized Matea only had one pair of jean shorts and I decided she needed more.  We ran into Walmart that day and spent $15 on two pairs of shorts.  Now those shorts are in Clothes Mountain, each worn only a handful of times because she decided they weren't comfortable.  Yes, it's only $15 but how many times have we thrown away just $15, only $10, etc.?

I'm hoping our shopping ban will teach us a few things about buying clothes.  

1. We all wear the same 12-15 outfits all the time so we really don't need 70 different shirts.
2. Just because something is on clearance, doesn't mean I have to buy it.
3. Only buy things we truly love.  If we're talking ourselves into liking something, it's a no.  If there's the slightest hint that it won't be comfortable, it's a no.

4. We don't need a million multiples of everything.  2-3 hoodies is totally fine, we don't all need 6 or 7.  The girls can easily get by with 2 pairs of jeans each.  A colorful kimono for every freakin day of the week is excessive.

5. Remember that I can't force Bella to give up her sporty spice wardrobe and go back to the days of pink and ruffles and twirling.

6. Focus on buying far less but higher quality items that will last or have a guarantee.  Steve bought a pair of $89 Kuhl pants (we only paid $22 on clearance though - woot!) that started coming apart at one of the seams.  Instead of tossing them, he contacted the company and they repaired them for free.  We want to work on buying more brands like this that really back their product.

So, back to school shopping is going to stink because this year, it's pretty much non existent.  And it's always been a really BIG deal in our house.  Each of the girls already got 4 or 5 new items before we came upon the idea of a shopping ban and now all they're allowed is one pair of jeans and a first day of school outfit.  Not even our standard new undies and socks to start off the year!  I know my mom will read this and want to make up for our ban by taking the girls shopping but they truly don't need anything.  Need vs. want, that's what we need to take away from this.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Shopping Ban

It's been a long time since I've blogged but our family is beginning a little adventure and I think this blog is a great place to keep track of our goals and results.

A few weeks ago, I read this blog post that was linked on our budgeting software's Facebook page (You Need a Budget).  It was written by a young woman who undertook a year long shopping ban after realizing she had accumulated way too much stuff and was doing a lot of unnecessary shopping.  It's totally worth reading even if you think a shopping ban is crazy.

I was really inspired and sent the link to Steve and told him I wanted to do our own Gonzalez Family version.  We did a two week long no-spend challenge a few years ago but I really wanted to do something bigger this time. 

We got the girls on board and used some of our recent 8 hour car ride to Oregon to discuss our terms.

So, here's what we're looking at...

3 month long shopping ban
-began on July 18th
-ends on October 18th

Approved Purchases (items we know we'll have to buy)
1 pair of jeans for each Bella and Matea
Birthday gifts for Tina and Shane (try to make all other gifts)
Steve shoes
Matea's birthday party (aim for $200 total)
School supplies - only what is on list, no "fun" items, shop the house first
Kelci work pants, 1 pair
First day of school outfit for Kelci, Bella, and Matea
One Go Ruck Event for Steve
Project life vertical page protectors
$100 for next month's girls' trip (which was planned months ago)

Acceptable Spending
Necessary cleaning supplies and toiletries (no fun or extra items, only once we run out)
Girl Scout events
Extracurricular activities (baton lessons, volleyball, swim)
Pictures for scrap booking but no supplies
$100/month for dining (currently spending about $250)