It’s Good to Be Home

July 24, 2015


I’m sorry for the disappearing act, friends. I could never have expected the type of feedback I received at the end of the first yearlong shopping ban… to be honest, it’s been a bit overwhelming – in the best way possible, of course. I appreciate every single comment, email and Facebook message that has come through, as well as all the support from friends and fellow bloggers who helped spread the word. I have loved connecting with so many new people over the past two weeks. :)

One thing I truly didn’t expect, though, was the volume of you who have come forward and said you’re going to join me for the second yearlong shopping ban. I’m excited to share this journey with so many of you! For the past two weeks, I’ve been brainstorming ways for us “shopping banners” to stay better connected: should we have a closed Facebook group? Monthly Twitter chats? Forums? What would you like? I want your input and promise to get something setup soon.

The other reason I’ve been MIA is because I made a big decision a few weeks ago, which needed to be taken care of this week. Those of you who have been reading for a while know I’ve moved many times over the years. I left my hometown to move to Toronto for work, then took that job to Vancouver and have been there for the past two years. I’ve loved so many things about living in and exploring Vancouver, but my heart has been calling me home for a while… so, I moved back to Victoria.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make, at first, and I’ll talk a lot more about that in Monday’s post. However, now that I’m here, I can tell you it was the right decision – just like quitting my job was the right decision and simplifying my life was the right decision. I will say, it was adding to my feelings of being overwhelmed. Two of the biggest areas of my life have undergone changes in the past month: where I live and how I make a living. But Victoria is definitely the place for me to experience this next stage.

So long, Vancouver. It’s good to be home. <3

How was your week? :)

  • L July 24, 2015 at 4:48 am

    I’m looking forward to hearing about you decision to move, but it sounds like it is something that you needed to do :) There are many ways to “mix” up the same outfit, add a scarf or necklace etc. Since you are not purchasing any new clothes maybe you could set up a clothing swap with friends and that way you could “mix” up your wardrobe! A friend of mine had one and it was a great way to get rid of some things and find some “new to you items”.

    As for dating and telling a guy about your shopping ban, I think that will come naturally and if it doesn’t feel right telling him…he probably isn’t the “one” anyway.

    • Lauren July 24, 2015 at 7:46 am

      I totally second clothing swaps! My friends and I do it annually (sometimes twice a year) and it’s a great way to refresh your wardrobe without spending any money :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Ha, that’s very true, L. And thanks for the suggestion re: clothing swaps! (Although I don’t think I can part with much of what I have left, hehe.)

  • Rob July 24, 2015 at 4:57 am

    Wow Cait! So you moved back to your roots (aka Victoria), eh? What with all you’ve been through over the last few years (actually since I started reading your blog), I must say that “change” is definitely in your vocabulary! :-)

    Well, like everything else that you’ve accomplished, I’m sure that it’s all good. Now, my friend, it’s time you took a breath and settled down to a (more-or-less) hum-drum style of living for awhile, right. Oh, but since you mentioned the topic of dating, I will give you “permission” to get out there and find a nice young man (aka: Mr. “Stud Muffin”), get married, have “2 point 5” kids and live happily ever after (Amen). Sound like a plan? Just don’t use Ashley Madison to do it! :-)

    My week was pretty good (so far), even if it wasn’t as active as yours was. Lately I’ve been involved in doing some volunteer work at the Senior’s Club that my wife and I joined after we retired. Most of my home projects are finished for this year (but there’s always more in the job jar to do – my wife sees to that – lol). Anyway, hope you have a great weekend ahead, my friend.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Ha, someone else recently told me that they thought “Change” was my middle name. I don’t see many other things changing in the future, though… at least not in the short-term. I’m really happy to be back and am looking forward to settling in and starting a new life here. Hope you guys have a great weekend, too!

  • Bri July 24, 2015 at 5:10 am

    Welcome home! Life’s much better here, anyway :)
    Why don’t you join a clothing swap for new outfits? I’ve seen a few local Facebook groups that do it, and I give away/take bags of clothes from friends and coworkers all the time. You can score some really nice outfits that way!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      You’re right about that, Bri! And I like the idea of a swap, but my wardrobe is already so small that I wear everything I have… so I don’t want to give any of it up! Haha.

  • Ilse July 24, 2015 at 5:42 am

    So first of all I am from Flanders, hah, and I have to say I love your name of course :)
    Then: I discovered your blog two days ago. After reading several tiny house/minimalist/shop-ban blogs, yours must have struck the right cord at the right time.

    Right now I am in the middle of a huge life-organisation-process where I take apart every single part of my life: body, love, friends, work, spirituality, material, time, energy,… and purposefully apply specific tools to make my life more organised and sensible. It is an amazing process and gives me many many wins.
    And your blog has now helped me to make the topic of money more accessible. You explain things in such a down-to-earth way that I wonder “why do I stress about money, it’s just money and the more I work with it, the better it will work with me”.

    Another thing in your blog that helped me is cultural element. I now live in France but used to live in Flanders and we don’t have massive student loans like you peeps do, there is also not the habit of credit card debts or at least not as easily to go wrong as with you maybe. So your descriptions of a very different consumer culture helped me objectify our cultural spending and my own personal spending.

    For these two things I thank you.

    I think there is a big need for people like you who explain things on a “normal” and understandable level for people who don’t really need to go deep into economic principles but just need to have basic techniques and need to relax about money in order to ease up their control on it.

    I’m happy to report that the last year already bought me good habits and mindsets about money & budgeting.
    I have had my massive decluttering last year and it did help in starting to buy less. Setting financial goals and plans have helped too (less money in book = more money in travel) and looking at your ways of budgetting most definitely helped!!
    One rule I’ve learned is: first spend what you must, then what you should and then what you could (first taxes, then food, then books) (or as a mom: first lice shampoo, then taxes, then netflix, haha)

    Now my next challenge is to teach my daughter sensible spending & budgeting. First off is obviously setting a good example but then what? She gets 1 € every week (she is 7) and I do ask her to contribute: she coughs up €5 when she goes to horse or Summer camp and when there, we give her € 10 of pocket money but she can top that up with her own money. I hope this teaches her that money is not just pretty but also has a purpose, plus that saving up money is different than spending all her money.
    I hope I’m on the right track on this!

    So anyway: keep up the good work, your writing is very pleasant and your topics speak to me. Well done on your one year shopping ban and I don’t think you are moving into your second year, I think you are moving into a new “you” :)
    Well done!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 1:53 pm

      “Spend what you must, then what you should and then what you could.” I am obsessed with that quote, Ilse! And you are right – I am definitely moving into the new me. Thanks for sharing your experiences here, and I think the money management tricks you’re using to help teach your daughter about personal finance sound like a great start. PS – So cool you are from Flanders!

  • Momto2 July 24, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Hi Cait,

    I’ve been following you for a while (from your Gail days) but this is my first post. What an inspiration you are!! “It’s tough to “throw away money”, but the mental clutter can be more stressful than the physical loss of an item itself.” – this really resonated with me … We are in different finanical situations. I am married, in my 40s with 2 small children (one of whome has developmental delays). Financially, we are in great shape , own a home in GTA (free and clear) and have no debt whatsoever. However, as most parents of small children will attest to … my house is filled to the brim with clothes (30 t-shirts for my little guy !!) and toys. While we do purge, I am guilty of holding onto things because they cost too much – the clutter is maddening. Your blog amoung others I read have made me think about what I bring into the home … and how long it will stay…. keep up the great work :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks! And thanks for sharing some of your experience with us here. I feel like it’s difficult to take control of clutter/stuff when you have kids, but once you do, I’d suggest creating a system that will help your hard work last – like using the 1-in-1-out system for buying/getting rid of things. Good luck :)

  • Meg July 24, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Sometimes you just have to go home, eh? At least you didn’t have much to declutter before you packed!

    I’m putting my vote for monthly twitter chats – I don’t use the book of faces, you see, and would love to talk to other shopping ban participants.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Ha, nope – it was easy to pack and move, this time around! And thanks for the feedback re: how we could all connect. I’ll try to find some ideas that work for everyone!

  • Sara Oss July 24, 2015 at 6:24 am

    Congrats on the move! I’ll throw in my vote for a forum, because with Twitter chats you’ll have to take time zones into consideration and they’re very hard for those of us with slower internet to keep up with. Not to mention that Twitter chats aren’t much of a permanent resource. A forum could be viewed and visited whenever by people interested in the ban, no?

    And I deleted Facebook a few years ago and have no desire to jump back on so I selfishly hope that’s not the route you go with. But – some people might not be comfortable with a public group, and then you have the same problem as with the Twitter chats in that you aren’t building a resource for people who stumble upon the ban at some point in the future.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Yep, that’s a great idea, Sara – I’ll start looking into what it takes to setup/manage forums! I do like that idea for various reasons, too. :)

  • Dylan July 24, 2015 at 6:43 am

    Congrats on the move! Also congrats on not buying anything (except for a moving van) for the move. I’m putting my shopping ban off until I’ve had a few weeks in my new place, because I’m paranoid that I’ll need to buy something for the house. For starting a group, I’d vote for a forum. (Facebook would be my top pick but that seems like it might exclude some folks right off the bat!)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      Yea, a forum seems to be the most popular answer! Thanks for adding your vote, Dylan. And good luck with your upcoming move!

  • Jennifer July 24, 2015 at 6:45 am

    I moved home from Vancouver to Waterloo 5 years ago after 7 years at university/working. Haven’t looked back. Best decision for me, it’s good to live where you belong, and for me (and you it seems!) that’s our hometowns. Good for you!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      Good for you, too, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing that with me. :)

  • Alyssa @ Generation YRA July 24, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Congratulations on the move, it can be such a wonderful thing to get back to your roots! I’ve come to the conclusion that moving is never easy (regardless if it’s exciting, terrifying, or just neutral). What I do enjoy most about moving is that when it is all said & done, you have definitely come out on the other end a stronger person: physically & mentally! All that heavy lifting, and logistical/strategic thinking of how to fit what you own into a truck. Will your home of Victoria now allow you to take walks to the beach in the morning? (forgive me, I do not know much about each area of Canada)! As far as how the shopping ban was tested, I think you may receive the opposite reaction because they will recognize how fortunate they are to be on a date with such a lovely, determined girl! :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      I’m not within walking distance of the beach, but I’m a 3-10 minute drive from some of my favourite spots! And a 20-minute drive to many others. And I am within walking distance of a mountain, now, so I can hike more often. :)

  • Marrianna July 24, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I haven’t decided if I will participate in the shopping ban, however, I have decided that I want to be more mindful and intentional in my spending. I like the idea of a closed Facebook group.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      Thanks, Marrianna!

  • Walnut July 24, 2015 at 6:59 am

    I won’t be doing a full shopping ban with you due to the upcoming birth of my first baby, but I will be minimizing all unnecessary spending. We’re anticipating a likely layoff in the next six months, so the husband and I will be down to a one income household. Fortunately after running the numbers, we will be comfortable on just my salary, but definitely no room for extras in the budget. Every extra payment and extra transfer to savings over the past few years has left me feeling very calm and in control of this new unknown. That said, I’ll be relying on all of my favorite PF blogs to keep me grounded and frugal!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      Blogs are great for that, that’s for sure! I’d be lost without some of my favourites. :)

  • Kariane July 24, 2015 at 7:12 am

    These are definitely exciting changes. Congratulations!

    I think an article on the reactions of guys when you tell them you’re in the midst of a two year shopping ban would be great. Honestly, I think how people respond will tell you a lot about them. Have fun!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:15 pm

      That’s probably true, Kariane! Honestly, I don’t even tell people about my blog, haha… so it’ll be interesting to date and see how all of that unfolds.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach July 24, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Hope the move is exactly what you need right now! I find not having “enough” clothing (or enough nice clothing) has kept me out of the dating scene. I know I should’t use that as a crutch though.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      Nope, you shouldn’t! If I’m not (anymore), you can’t either. :P

  • Mrs. Crackin' the Whip July 24, 2015 at 7:18 am

    I think your shopping ban is awesome! I’m not quite ready to join you but I have given it some serious thought. Instead we are carefully examining all our purchases moving forward!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      That’s great – and what it’s all about!

  • Stacy July 24, 2015 at 7:40 am

    It must have been so easy to move with fewer belongings! And no need to worry about having different “date ” outfits… Guys don’t really notice that stuff :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      It was the shortest move I’ve ever done – minus the ferry ride! And you’re probably right… thanks :)

  • Stephanie July 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

    Man, wasn’t it so much easier to move now that you decluttered everything?
    Are you going to buy a tiny house now?! I’m obsessed with tiny houses but we’re buying a house in April and my boyfriends wants space and a yard and all sorts of other things. My dream tiny house would fit in 1/6 of his backyard haha. Ah compromise.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      So much easier! And re: the tiny house – in my dreams! I love the idea, but it would cost $25-40K to build + I’d need to buy a truck. I think I’d rather build or buy a small house on a piece of land (one day).

  • Our Next Life July 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Congrats on the move! Hope that it’s easy getting settled in — though it seems like you have a major leg up on that as an affirmed minimalist! As for the shopping ban group, we’re not huge Facebook users, so we’d love to see a monthly Twitter chat. But that’s just us! :-)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks! It’s been really easy to get settled, so far – mostly because I’m back in my hometown and am happy to be close to all my friends again. And thanks for the vote! I think it’s safe to say that Facebook is out :)

  • amelia July 24, 2015 at 8:40 am

    i just found your blog, and i’m in for the shopping ban!!! july 7 2015-july 7 2016. i decluttered for my 29th birthday last year.. and i’ve tried to be more mindful about my spending, but when i went back over my credit card statements for the last year i was shocked at how much i was still spending on clothes and other random stuff. so, shopping ban seems like a great answer to really take time and examine my shopping habits. i really want to look at wants vs needs. thanks for the inspiration!!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Wow, sounds like we’ve been doing the same things around the same time, Amelia! Excited to hear how your shopping ban goes :)

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore July 24, 2015 at 8:40 am

    I decided to take another crack at my shopping ban. I am doing it from now (actually Wednesday) until December 31 (at least). :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      Awesome, Kayla! Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  • Katie July 24, 2015 at 8:48 am

    Yay for Victoria! Vancouver is a fun city with lots to offer, but there is something the keeps people coming back to Victoria (myself included!). I also wanted to say thank you, I’ve reduced my spending significantly and saved up enough for a SUP board or a kayak (I can’t decided yet) over that last few months. There are just so many good places to paddle on the island! I look forward to reading your future posted based out of my hometown :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      WOO! Stoked for you, Katie. I’m 100% going to use part of the money I saved during the first year to buy a SUP board. CANNOT. WAIT. If you end up getting one, maybe we can go for a paddle sometime :)

  • Maggie July 24, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Congrats on the move, Cait! The island just got brighter :)

    I am participating in the shopping ban and would love Twitter chats (would be incentive to actually use my account) or a forum. I’m not a Facebook user – and am pleased to see that I’m not the only one!!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      Aww, thanks, Maggie! And no worries – I think I’ll try to setup a forum for everyone.

  • Susan Johnston July 24, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Welcome back to Victoria!

    Now that you’re self-employed, have you thought about joining a coworking space here? Viatec on Fort Street actually has free open coworking on the first floor (there’s a coffee shop too but they won’t pressure you to buy anything). I’d love to meet up for coworking or a walk if you ever want to chat about freelancing!

    • Susan Johnston July 25, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Oo, also, you and your readers might be interested in submitting stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul: They’re currently accepting essay submissions for an anthology on the joy of simplifying/living with less, which is right up your alley!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks so much, Susan! I’m not 100% sure about a coworking space just yet, as I’d like to see how much I earn in the first few months. I know it’s a write-off, but still want to make sure I’d get value out of the space. But I would absolutely love to meet-up sometime! That sounds like a great idea. I’ll email you this week! And thanks for the link!

  • Hannah July 24, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Congrats on the big move! The best thing you can wear on a first date is confidence and a well maintained smile. I think this is true because my first date with my husband involved 6-7 year old snowboard gear that wasn’t cool even when I first bought it. Also, I looked like a puffy snowman, and I took a tumble, so I had to rinse off my eye makeup in the chalet.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Confidence and a well-maintained smile – I’ve got that covered, Hannah. Thanks :)

  • AshleyD July 24, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Ive been meaning to post for awhile.
    As you have moved to back to Victoria, I am now moving away. Approximately 3 weeks and counting.

    I am currently trying to organize my life and belongings and cut down on spending. Not that I shop a lot for stuff, in fact I really don’t buy stuff. My weakness is eating out, whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner or out for drinks.
    I am also trying to set and live by goals and to do that I need to schedule my life to live better and accomplish everything I want. After struggling for years, I have been diagnosed with ADHD and medication only does so much. I still need to work hard.
    I am reducing my alcohol consumption. I want to get out of the habit of drinking (something I know you understand), increase my fitness, keep saving money and live within my budget.

    Also on a side note, I paid off my government student loan yesterday. Only 6k left in a bank loan that should be paid off by the end of summer. We have paid off over 80k of combined debt in 3 years. I am pretty proud of that. We are dinks. My debt spreadsheet has changed to a savings spreadsheet.

    Moving may change these numbers but currently 26% of budgeted take home goes to set expenses, 22% for variable expenses, 16% earmarked for savings(retirement and future expenses). The rest is debt payment, extra savings and used if we overspend on variable.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:41 pm

      Wow, thanks for sharing so much here, Ashley – and sorry to just be missing you! Where are you guys moving to next? It sounds like you have lots of great goals lined up; you’ll accomplish all of them, so long as you make them each a priority. I know I haven’t been making working out a priority over the last few weeks, but will change that after I’ve settled into life back on the island… and then life should all be on-track! Finally, a huge congrats on your debt repayment! Being debt-free at the end of the summer will feel amazing. I’m cheering you on :)

      • AshleyD July 28, 2015 at 9:50 am

        Cait, I will be moving to Vernon mid-August for work. I am looking forward to experiencing a new town. I will miss Victoria, it has been amazing here and I have made many great friends.

        I am trying to decide what should be on my Bucket List for Victoria. I plan on spending as much time at Thetis Lake as possible, and I have not hiked Mt. Doug yet.
        I have stopped running (its been too hot) but I have been swimming more. I do need to start strength training again.

        If you want, I can give you a recommendation for a great chiropractor and massage therapist I found in Victoria.

  • Johanne July 24, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Ah, Victoria! As a little girl in the 1960’s, I used to visit my Aunt and Uncle who lived on a street called Inverness. The house was tiny, 400-500 square feet, but had a beautiful back yard with a huge garden, fruit trees, and berries. In fact, it supplied all their eating needs and enough to share with the neighbors. The house was demolished years and years ago to make room for asphalt and retail stores.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      Ahhh yes, I have an idea of where the house was, Johanne. I’d love to buy a little house that size one day. :)

  • Megan July 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Congrats on your recent move! I am very interested in participating in the shopping ban forum as I do not use Facebook or Twitter. Thank you for asking your readers!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Perfect – I think the forum wins! Thanks, Megan!

  • allroundbetterme July 24, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Welcome back to the island! :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks! :D

  • Mackenzie July 24, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    I can understand the need to be “back home”… I am moving back to California in a few months because I just missed it so much; it is where my heart is :) I look forward to hearing more about your move and how you are going to incorporate dating and all that it entails, into your shopping ban!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:43 pm

      Yes, I can relate to that statement exactly, Mackenzie: it’s where my heart is. I’m really glad I spent some time away, though, because it will make me appreciate being here so much more. <3

  • Neita July 24, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Hi! I am with you in the shopping ban. Well, one could say that last week I “practiced” it lol! But I did start tracking everything I purchased; that in itself is giving me an entirely fresh perspective on what I spend my money on.

    I like the idea of a forum, too. I would not contribute on Facebook. I would be fine with a Twitter chat too, but agree that time frame would not work for everyone.

    Or — maybe you could just set up a blog post such as “This Week’s Shopping Ban Update” and we could post our experiences in the comments?

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      That’s a good idea, but I think I’ll setup a forum! That’s something I wouldn’t need to moderate all the time… you guys could just share your experiences/struggles/tips/resources, etc. I’d love to see everyone create the community I know is brewing here. :)

  • Charity July 24, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    You definitely were one of my inspirations for my self-imposed shopping ban this year. July is my third month but first completely successful one! And I plan to continue it as long as possible.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:45 pm

      Woo hoo! Congrats on your first successful month, Charity. Here’s to the next :)

  • Nicole July 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Wow, big changes for you lately Cait! We will miss you in the Tri-cities, but it sounds like Victoria is where you are meant to be right now. Looking forward to hearing more on Monday. You are such an inspiration! In fact, I am starting another shopping ban next week to ensure that I stay on track with my savings goals. Not as long as yours, but will definitely help :)

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Lots of change, for sure! I’ll miss the Tri-Cities, as well, and am definitely leaving a piece of my heart at Buntzen Lake/Shoreline Trail. <3

  • Isabelle July 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    My own shopping ban is going awesome! In the past 2 weeks, my only “personal spending” ( so not the essential) was 28$ on makeup (which I decided afterwards to add to my one year shopping-ban list) and 15$ for an Authentic Relating Games night (check it out!). So it’s all good! Good for you, too, for sticking to your plan. As far as dating goes, I can’t really remember what it’s like (been with the same guy for 8 years) but one thing I know is that I would be really unhappy with a “spender”, so it’s OK to be WHO YOU ARE (no apologies!) and to have standards\wanting someone who ” get’s you”. So you should be proud of your ways, and not ashamed of sharing them. If the guy is wirded out, it’s probably not the right guy anyway. Good luck and keep us posted!

    • Isabelle July 24, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      And I vote for a forum, since Facebook is now out of my life and I don’t use twitter

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      I’m definitely going to work on setting up a forum, Isabelle! And sounds like you had a good first couple of weeks with your ban. Here’s to the next :)

  • Cate July 24, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Inspired by you I started a year long shopping ban on June 30. Luckily I received 2 things off my approved list as b-day gifts, so I’ve saved a bit extra! I’d vote for a forum.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:51 pm

      Nice – that’s awesome, Cate! And yes, the forum will happen. :)

  • CharlieD July 24, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Found your blog thanks to Joshua Becker and subscribed as I am happy to have a Canadian perspective on intentional living. I haven’t done a shopping ban, but started easy with looking in my wallet, seeing 10 dollars and resolved to keep it there for the week. I almost lost on the first day, but the bakery was closed, so I was diverted. It’s still there, so that’s one week I didn’t spend all I had on me on sweet treats! Good luck with the move and the year-long ban.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Wow, that’s a neat challenge, Charlie! I like it. I rarely carry cash, but it would be an interesting test to try… thanks for the idea! And happy to see another Canadian here :)

    • Connie July 30, 2015 at 11:07 am

      I only use cash, & it’s helped me spend less. Twice a month I get the cash I have allotted for food, gas & any other planned spending. I saved for months to have new floor put in & paid for the materials & labor with cash. When I paid for the materials the guy told me that he really appreciated the cash payment & gave me some cleaners for the new floor.

      I have found that a lot of clerks don’t even know how to make change. Using cash has helped me stay within my budget.

  • Pira July 24, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Cait! It has been awhile but I’ve certainly been following your journey and am so impressed by your sense of discipline. I’ve been on a shopping ban of sorts, but mostly by default of not working at the moment. :) Not like a lack of income to curb the spending! Very exciting that you’ve decided to move to Victoria – I fell in love with it years ago and have visited a few times since. One of my favourite cities on earth.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      It’s the best. <3 Thanks, Pira!

  • Patrik Olsson July 25, 2015 at 12:33 am

    I totally resonate with your writing and ideas. Trying to be a minimalist among consumerists is for sure challenging. Easy to be led astray. Facebook group is of course good. There is a Swedish FB group “Frivillig enkelhet – mer med mindre”, which means “voluntary simplicity – more with less”.

    And are you aware of that you can have video conferences for free on Google hangouts? I think the upper limit is about 10 people. That could be useful too to stay in touch with likeminded people all over the world :).

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Yep! I’ve thought about doing webinars before, but haven’t really put any more thought into it than that. Thanks for the suggestion, Patrik!

  • Mark Anthony Harrison July 25, 2015 at 3:06 am

    I totally get where you are coming from and kudos to you for actually doing it.

    The TV thing I totally get too, as I realised I was staying up late watching various stuff and then waking up groggy and not really remembering what I watched!
    That told me it was time to ditch the TV and now I go to bed at 9pm (unless we have something on) and wake naturally at 5 – 5.30ish.

    I feel so much better too.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      That’s awesome, Mark! I used to watch sooo much TV… now I might catch 4-5 hours/week, typically just to watch 1-2 series’. It’s nice that it’s become a form of entertainment rather than part of my daily life. :)

  • Jen Ferris July 25, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Ah Victoria!! … I miss you.

    I’m so envious of you, Cait, for moving back there. As you know, Victoria was my home for 18 years. It’s a different kind of life in Ottawa, but I’m happy here, too.

    I’m glad to hear you’re back in the dating scene, again. I have been deliberately out of the dating scene for quite some time and I am not in a hurry to jump back in. And if you’re not too shy to write about it all, I will live vicariously through your adventures. But Honey, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER apologize for your looks or your lifestyle. If you have to justify either of those, that man is not the right one for you. You’re awesome! You’re doing great things! You’re going places! And you’re a fantastic writer! You are committed and loyal and dedicated. These are traits hard to find. And to top all of that off, of course you’re beautiful! Maybe this is easier said than done, coming from a single blind girl. But just remember to be genuine, true to yourself and always act with integrity. You’re important and you’re purpose in life is more important than material things. You’re bound to find a good match.

    I like this blog as a community forum. It works for me. I don’t like Twitter and I find Facebook a waste of my time. I only check in every few days and only for an hour. I suppose that will all have to change when I launch my business.

    Until the next time.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      You are so sweet, Jen – thank you for all the kind words! And don’t worry, I’m not going to use Facebook. I’ll keep writing here, but am also going to setup a forum for people who are doing shopping bans to connect with each other. :)

  • Nadia July 25, 2015 at 7:36 am

    I’ve been told that the three most stressful things in life are: death, loss of a job, and moving.

    Although you made the decision to quit your job it’s still stressful. And moving? Well that’s always stressful.
    You can handle it! Because you’re doing what’s best for you.

    The best money I spent this week was the $1894 (that will be reimbursed by insurance) for my root canal. Teeth no longer hurt! And the $23 to reclassify my class 7 licence into a class 5! I passed my road test! Woohoo!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Nicely done, Nadia! Although, major OUCH to the cost of your root canal… I’m now praying I never need one, as a self-employed individual, haha. Thank goodness your insurance covers it!

  • Tyler July 25, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I’m in eager anticipation of your second year shopping ban. I tried out a simple test of where I would spend no money at work for 1 week which was surprisingly much more difficult than I thought it would be and you did 51 weeks longer than that. Though I was able to save a lot of money in that short week, and also able to kick the habit of buying soda at work, I actually in that short time discovered that I was buying a lot of things just to try to alleviate stress and that if I just take a second to breath and maybe read a blog post or something I can calm down enough that I don’t even need those things.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Wow, that’s awesome, Tyler! I don’t know if I’ve ever learned that much about myself in 1 week… well, maybe that first week of not getting takeout coffee! It was pretty trying and very interesting to figure out what all my triggers were.

  • Kate @ Cashville Skyline July 25, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Congratulations on the big move home, Cait! It sounds like you’ve made the right decision and I look forward to reading more about it next week. Also, I’m so happy to hear you’ve received so much positive feedback. It’s all well-deserved. Cheers to your 2nd year-long shopping ban!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks, Kate!

  • Jessa July 25, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I would love to do the next shopping ban with you. I think a facebook group would be fun and a twitter chat.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks, Jessa!

  • Cassie July 25, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Chiming in a little late but I vote for forum! I don’t FB and barely twitter..

    Welcome home!!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Your vote counts! Thanks, Cassie :D

  • sheryl July 25, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    its great to see all the responses to your move! I will throw my congrats into the arena as well!
    I have joined your shopping ban. I am just over two weeks in and doing well. I did buy something from my pre approved list today (work shoes) and they were on sale for 20% off! I instinctively wanted to buy two pairs but talked myself down and went with the one I needed.
    I am also in the middle of the ‘de clutter’. I am selling some stuff, giving away some stuff and donating the rest. so far I have removed 157 items and honestly, you can’t tell anything is missing. this will definitely be a process!
    but it is much easier than I thought it was going to be. could it just be it was the right time?
    I am nervous that as time goes on it will become a bit harder. like my focus will wander and I will forget the reasons I started in the first place. do you have some suggestions for keeping the focus? I do have some signs I hung around my place. one right by the door! they say things like ‘it is important to be debt free. this is your pathway there’, ‘I can resist the shiny things! but if I do see something I think I need I will write it on this list’ and there is room to write things.
    so far, I have not needed to write anything down…
    thank you again for your inspiration. when I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, it was exactly what I needed. since then I see you helping and inspiring so many people. it’s truly a gift to all of us!
    thank you.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      Sounds like you’re on the right track, so far, Sheryl! When you’re asking for tips to stay motivated, do you mean for your shopping ban or decluttering?

  • Sue July 25, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Really inspired by your blog. We’re starting small next month with “No Eating Out August.” Have definitely resisted a few more impulse buys since reading here.

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Nice! That’s a great idea, Sue, and I know a couple other people are just doing bans on takeout. It’s a huge cost, for many people! Good luck :)

  • Kristen July 26, 2015 at 7:44 am

    Congrats on the move. 3 years ago I made a series of big changes in my life (all good) but all in a very short period of time and it took me a full year to totally adjust. I hope it goes well for you.

    I think if you are dating someone who is too hung up on the clothes you are wearing (as long as you are looking clean and socially acceptable), it is not someone you want to date.

    I had to replace 2 items in my home this week. Well, we could argue “had to”. I have a mat by the front door the dogs sleep on and it gets doggy. It couldn’t be washed and after a thousands of other attempts to get rid of the smell, which had the whole house smelling like dog, I replaced it. Also the car cover for the dog that gets car sick had to be replace as it has holes in it. So really, it is the dogs who are wreaking the place lol!

    • Cait Flanders July 26, 2015 at 3:08 pm

      Sounds like perfectly acceptable items to replace, Kristen! Plus, you replaced something – you didn’t just buy things to fill your home/car with more stuff. :)

  • Amelia July 26, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I wish you good luck with telling any dates you are on a two-year shopping ban! I find it hard enough when I tell them one of my interests is minimalism. No matter how much I explain, they still end up making comments like ‘So, you don’t do any fun stuff, right?’ and ‘Do you spend all your free time at home, just sitting on the floor?’ And those are the nice ones. Sigh.

  • Lisa July 27, 2015 at 7:07 am

    I’d like to cast my vote for a Facebook group or a forum! I do not have a Twitter, Facebook is convenient, and a forum is something I can always bookmark. :)

  • Dyan July 27, 2015 at 11:03 am

    Longtime reader, first time commenter!

    My philosophy about buying something new for a date is not to, because if the date goes terribly, you’ll always associate that item with the bad date and probably won’t want to wear it again. If you think you might be dipping your toe back in the dating pool (And I think you should! Go get it!) it won’t hurt to invest in some timeless pieces that you’ll feel really great about wearing.

  • The Follower July 28, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Well hey, that’s great, Victoria is a nice place. There’s a certain kind of person that’s drawn to the island life, I know many of them! I think I’m the opposite and could never leave Vancouver. It may be the ‘big city’ but we do our best to avoid the parties and stuff and hit up all the great things that we enjoy about the city.

    Hope you enjoy your time back in Victoria.

  • Caroline August 8, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve been so inspired by you that I’ve decided to begin a shopping fast too. Three months to start. So, August through December. I also started project 333 that I read about on your blog. So now I have my “capsule wardrobe”, a clean closet, and Rules to Shop By.😀
    Thanks so much for them inspiration.

  • Mary Beth August 17, 2015 at 7:04 am

    Cait, you are such an inspiration! Reading your blog has really changed how I look at shopping, and decluttering. So much so, that I’m going to try Project 333 this fall, as well as begin a shopping fast after Labor Day. In a sense, I’ve already begun my fast, because I’ve become increasingly mindful about purchases the past few months. It is funny how that snowballs – you look at one thing, make a decision, then suddenly you’re seeing that you can do more, that there are other areas you can improve upon. I’m making my list now, of what my personal shopping ban will include.

    I love the idea of a closed group or forum, to exchange ideas, and for encouragement. Please keep us posted if you create this!