The Year I Embraced Minimalism and Completed a Yearlong Shopping Ban

Originally published on July 6, 2015.

Well, friends, this is it – the final day of my yearlong shopping ban. I’ll be honest and say I feel like I’ve had a touch of writer’s block for the past month, because I’ve been waiting to write this post. Once I hit the 11-month mark, I knew it was going to be smooth sailing to the finish line, and I’ve been so anxious to share everything I’ve done and learned over the past year, as well as some of my plans for the future. Now that the last day is finally here, I think it’s safe to post this… (You may want to grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable. At over 6,000 words, this is the longest post I’ve ever published.)

*Note: I’m going to sprinkle in some of my favourite/most relevant quotes from those of you who responded to my survey a couple weeks ago. I hope they inspire you, the way they’ve inspired me.

July 7, 2014

It all started on my 29th birthday. In the weeks leading up to it, I had been stressing about turning 29, because it meant I would be that much closer to 30. For some reason, I was dreading my 30s, because that’s when I thought I would finally need to “settle down” (i.e. I can’t seem to figure out where I want to live long-term or map out any kind of 5-year plan). It’s the last year of my 20s – I should do something fun/impulsive/[insert more synonyms for spontaneous], right? Maybe I should finally go to Europe; live/work from France for a month; or do the same from Hawaii for three. Omg, I’ll probably settle down, get married, buy a place and have kids in my 30s. Ahhh! Must take advantage of freedom and do all the things NOW!

Instead, I decided to embrace minimalism, put myself on a yearlong shopping ban, try to live on 50% of my income and potentially have the most frugal year of my life.

How did I switch my mindset so quickly and come to those decisions? I wish I had a good answer. I wish I could say there was a catalyst moment in my life that forced me to see that minimalism and a shopping ban were the answers to my problems. Instead, it was a lot of little things that I’d been thinking about for months. First, I was mad at myself for never being able to save more than 10-20% of my income, even though I “wanted” to. (Remember that I used to allocate up to 55% of my income for debt repayment.) Second, I finally acknowledged that I’d let lifestyle inflation creep in after becoming debt-free, and realized nothing I’d been spending money on was bringing me joy. And finally, after searching for and not being able to find the most basic item in my kitchen (a can opener), it became clear that my home was full of stuff I never used but was still buying/holding onto for one reason or another.

I was consuming for the sake of consuming; it was mindless spending and it had to stop.

“Your blog inspired me to challenge myself to spend less, and to stop thinking that I could spend up to (or over) my allotted amounts in each line of my budget. You really got me thinking about how much more I could be saving if I tried to buy less crap and spend less on stuff I don’t need. Thanks! Keep it up, Cait!” – Steph, Canada

All the confusion and guilt that came with the first two points (the financial stuff) lingered for a while, until it eventually surfaced and resulted in this decision – which was actually pretty impulsive. I had no idea if I could do it. Even as I was typing up the rules for the shopping ban, I kept thinking: this is crazy! What am I doing!? I can’t do this! But the fear was outweighed by my gut instinct, which told me I had no choice but to accept this challenge and change my spending habits. I didn’t want to keep wasting money on clutter that would fill my home, especially at the expense of my other life and financial goals.

I wanted to become a more mindful consumer, so I could enjoy what I had, only buy what I absolutely needed and let go of the rest. Saving money would be a bonus.

The Rules

The rules for the shopping ban were fairly simple. I was allowed to shop for necessities, such as groceries, toiletries, basic cosmetics (like eyeliner and mascara, but only after I ran out), cleaning supplies, gift for others and a few items I identified before I started. On the approved shopping list, as I called it, was a new bed (to finally replace my 13-year-old bed) and a few items of clothing, which I could see would need to be purchased or replaced while I was decluttering. I was NOT allowed to shop for things like clothes, shoes, accessories, nail polish, books/magazines, notebooks, candles, household items, home decor or electronics.

I also added takeout coffee to the list of things I was not allowed to purchase. I’ve been drinking coffee for 15 years and, by the time I started the ban, I was buying $5 lattes at least 4-5 days/week ($80-100/month). That’s not a lot of money, in the grand scheme of things, but it was still money I could’ve done better things with than drink and piss away (literally). I started a “Shopping Ban” account, so I could save all the money I wasn’t spending on coffee as well as the money I got from any items I sold during my declutter. I started by putting $100/month into the account and assumed I’d have $1,200-$1,500 at the end.

“I started with a one month ban of takeout, my biggest trigger. Now I’ll be continuing on for an entire year! I know I’ll have to give myself a couple takeout treats here and there, but overall, your shopping ban definitely proved to me that it’s possible to be strict!” – Stephanie, USA

Month 1

In July, I started my new minimalist lifestyle off by doing a massive declutter and purge of my belongings. Room-by-room, I opened up every closet, cupboard, drawer and box in my home, emptied them and only put back items that were used often or truly cherished – and I was pretty ruthless. I got rid of 55% of my wardrobe, 35% of my books and 47% of my office supplies, 58% of my home decor/household objects, 41% of my toiletries/linens and 25% of my kitchen supplies, for a grand total of 43% of my belongings. I kept a detailed inventory of everything I kept, then tracked the number of items I got rid of and decided I wanted to aim for 250. By July 28th, I had bagged up and donated 377 of the 904 items that were originally in my home… and I felt so much lighter!

Of course, in contrast to that, there is no denying that the first month of my shopping ban was the toughest. It wasn’t that I missed shopping, per se. I did constantly have to face my book buying addiction and tell the inner voice that told me I should buy whatever I wanted to shush up. (And I almost broke it in week 3 to buy David’s newest book then, but he sent me a copy before I could.) But other than that, I didn’t miss shopping at all. Actually, while it might’ve seemed counterintuitive to get rid of so much stuff at the same time I wasn’t allowed to buy more, the greatest lesson I took from my declutter/purge is that I had wasted so much money on “stuff” before and I didn’t want to do that again. So, no… my greatest challenge in the first month was giving up takeout coffee.

The first week or so was easy, as I tried to build a new morning routine around making coffee in my French press. Then, I started to get hit by some of my triggers and bad habits. I quickly learned that I usually allowed myself to get a triple espresso on mornings when I’d had a bad sleep the night before. I discovered I had a habit of buying a latte before running errands; that alone made me question how difficult this challenge would be – not because I didn’t think I could do it, but because the act of “getting” coffee for certain reasons was so ingrained in my daily life. I was also constantly tempted by the offers from friends, who were so generous, but I couldn’t accept because the point of the challenge wasn’t just to let people spend money on me. Oh, and not being allowed to order a coffee at brunch felt really strange… but I pushed through it.

“What most surprised me is how even a shorter shopping ban (one month) still provided me with such surprising and helpful insights about my spending triggers and mental habits. When you do a shopping ban, you quickly realize it’s about way more than money. True awareness is a powerful thing!” – Devan, USA

One cool thing that happened in the first month was The Minimalists came to Vancouver and held a reading/Q&A session for their readers at the library – for free. It felt serendipitous so I dragged my friend Kasey to it. :)

Months 2 and 3

Months 2 and 3 were a bit easier than the first. On the minimalism side of things, I continued to go through my home and got rid of another 42 items, which brought my total number of items removed up to 46%. I then shifted my focus and pushed past the physical objects so I could declutter my life and mind. With that challenge, I mostly cleaned up my digital life, by clearing out all the apps on my iPhone I didn’t use, unfollowing all businesses/stores on social media, wiping out the hundreds of bookmarks I had saved in Chrome, cleaning up my desktop and creating a better folder system in my inbox. I also began to understand the connection between minimalism and relationships; not that we should cut out everyone who doesn’t bring us joy, but that the minute we do cut out toxic relationships it opens us up to be better friends/partners to the other people in our lives.

As for the shopping ban, books continued to be a struggle for me – especially cheap eBooks (you know, those ones people sell for $0.99-$2.99). Every time I thought about giving in and buying one, I would remind myself that I still had stacks upon stacks of unread books on my shelves that I couldn’t find time to get through, so there was no point spending money on more. The real struggle for me during this period, though, was a breakup I went through at the end of September; that’s when I realized I used to buy things to fill a void. I felt so empty for a time there, and wanted nothing more than to buy the new iPhone I was dreaming of, along with anything else that crossed my path and looked good. In the past, I would’ve swiped for it all no problem… but the shopping ban loomed over me, so I carried on.

Throughout those first 3 months, I’d been putting a little bit of money into my Shopping Ban account, along with all the money I’d made selling items throughout my declutter. At the end of September, I had $760 saved up (more than half of what I’d thought I would have at the end!) and got the most incredible offer from Sleep Country Canada, so I finally bought a new bed. (Remember: This item was on the approved shopping list.) I’ve never really thought about this until now, but that was a purchase I’d been pushing off for a couple years… and only after I finally stopped spending money on useless stuff was I finally able to make it a priority.

Months 4 and 5

In October and November, I decluttered and got rid of another 68 items, which brought the total number of items removed from my home up to 54%. Three boxes I had actually avoided until closer to the holidays were my Christmas decorations, which I managed to reduce by 70%! Crossing the 50% mark felt incredible, as that was the second goal I’d set for myself, after I surpassed the 250 items I originally thought I would try to get rid of. To reach that goal, I wasn’t emptying my closets or drawers anymore… I would simply walk around and, if something caught my eye and I knew I hadn’t touched it since July 7th, I put it in a bag to donate. Once the bag was full, I dropped it off and was done with it.

“I’ve been so much happier with my life since cutting my spending. It helped me realize: the short-term high from buying something was just that – short-term! Real happiness came from chucking every pair of high heels I owned in the trash can. Gleefully.” – Erin, USA

Now, as far as the shopping ban goes, two big things happened in months 4 and 5. In October, David came to visit and we hung out a few times. The first time, we went out for lunch, went for a hike and then I took him to my favourite used/rare bookstore downtown. I walked out without buying anything, so that was a win. The second time we hung out, however, we went for dinner and then he asked if I wanted to have coffee after. We walked up Commercial Drive until we found a place, walked in, ordered, paid and I drank a latte. It wasn’t until he asked me how the shopping ban was going that I realized I had just broken the takeout coffee ban… and you should’ve seen the look on my face: pure shock. After months of declining coffee date requests with friends, and apologizing for saying “no” to everyone’s offers to buy me coffee, I had said “yes” to David and paid for/drank a latte without realizing I wasn’t supposed to. Since I’m a firm believer that much of our spending is based on habits, I chalk this up to the fact that I hadn’t hung out with David before and, therefore, going for coffee with him wasn’t a habit I was used to – or one my brain knew to say “no” to. Anyway, I broke the takeout coffee once…

I almost broke my shopping ban in a big way in November, and it was one of the most eye-opening experiences of this entire year. Up until that point, all the triggers I’d felt pull me towards making the decision to spend money were simply around shopping habits I had built up over several years. I had a habit of buying eBooks the minute I decided I wanted them, and I had a habit of buying things to make myself feel better when I was sad/lonely. In November, I discovered a third habit of mine: talking myself into buying things I didn’t need. I learned this on Black Friday when Kobo e-readers went on sale and my thoughts quickly went into a tailspin. I convinced myself a new one would replace my current one that is slightly broken, which would remove a huge daily annoyance from my life. “I have the money, so I’m going to buy it!” And with that, I added one to a shopping cart, entered all my billing and shipping information and submitted the order.

Of course, it took mere seconds for me to realize what I had done, before I talked myself out of it and cancelled the order. But the lesson I took from that wasn’t just that I had a bad habit of talking myself into buying things I didn’t need; I had a bad habit of talking myself into doing things I shouldn’t do – and it’s one of the toughest bad habits to kick. (Oh, and the kicker? I barely touched my e-reader for the month that followed, so it wouldn’t have removed a “daily annoyance” after all!)

Note: I did buy a new set of tires for my car in October, which is a big expense, but is a necessity – and not something I would ever consider as a “break” of the ban.

Months 6 and 7

In months 6 and 7, I decluttered and got rid of another 86 items, which brought the total number of items removed from my home up to 60%. One of the first things I got rid of was my collection of MoneySense magazines, which I’d been subscribed to for a couple years but barely ever finished a copy from cover-to-cover. When I started this yearlong challenge, I had told myself I would read them all and then recycle them, but 6 months later I hadn’t touched a single one, so I just got rid of them (except for the one I was featured in!). I went through the same process for some clothing items and books: if I hadn’t touched them since July 7th, I wasn’t going to now, so off they went.

In December, the entire Flanders family decided to embrace minimalism and celebrated our first minimalist Christmas together. We each got a stocking that could be filled with a maximum $100 worth of stuff, and it all had to be useful/serve a purpose. We spent the morning at the beach with the dogs, the afternoon relaxing and didn’t even think to open our stockings until just before dinner time. It was one of the best Christmases we’ve ever had (and just happened to also be the cheapest).

Just before I hit the 7-month mark, I began to notice my entire mindset around money and “stuff” shift even further. Beyond just challenging myself to buy and spend less, I wanted to challenge myself to become more resourceful and make/create/fix more of the things I wanted/needed. You could say I was looking at this whole “minimalism” thing from a new “simple/sustainable living” angle. I’d grown up in a house where we grew lots of our own fruits and vegetables, and I had a mom who could sew and a dad who could do/fix anything – yet I had adopted none of those skills. So, I decided to up the ante on my shopping ban and change the rules slightly, making it so I would need to make some of my own cleaning products (including shampoo and conditioner). I was also allowed to buy any gardening supplies I needed, so I could plant my first little patio garden, as well as whatever supplies I needed to make candles (something I had run out of and was missing dearly).

Months 8 and 9

During months 8 and 9, I feel like I did the deepest soul-searching of this entire journey. One of the toughest posts I had to write was about how I let go of 60% of my belongings and learned to accept 100% of myself, because I finally realized – months and months after getting rid of so much of my stuff – that I’d purchased most of it to exhibit some level of success I wanted people to believe I had reached. I had bought books simply because I wanted them to be on my bookshelf when people came over, so they thought I was well read. I purchased outfits for the same reason, but didn’t feel good in any of them so they remained hung up and unworn in my closet. And my home was full of brand new, matching furniture, because that felt like success to me, which is how I wanted to be perceived. But it all went on credit. (Not since becoming debt-free in 2013, but leading up to that.)

Over time, and with age I suppose, I have become more comfortable with who I am. So, when it came time to declutter in the summer of 2014, it was easier for me to look at things and say: “You don’t want to read/wear/do that. It’s ok that you bought it and won’t use it. Let it go.” Shortly after I published that post, I got rid of 43 more things, which brought the total number of items removed up to 65%.

As I became even more willing to let things go, I found myself consumed with gratitude for everything that I chose to keep, because all of it made my life better in some way. I began to discover some truths about minimalism, including the fact that it reveals what matters most. Coupled with the shopping ban, minimalism had shown me that I didn’t need to consume and spend money, in order to feel better about myself or my life. It had also helped me become more resourceful, which was proven when I asked the women in my family for a sewing lesson. I then patched holes in 3 pairs of pants, 2 of which I would’ve thrown out but now wear every week. (The third was a pair of jeans that ripped in the inner thigh, and which I eventually had to throw out and replace because it was literally my only pair of jeans.)

I am grateful I got to share the lessons I’d learned in this part of my journey on Joshua Becker’s blog, Becoming Minimalist, in a post titled: What We Appreciate Appreciates.

“It was inspiring reading about your experiences and made me evaluate my own life and to take a step back to realize that I don’t need STUFF to make me happy.” – Kim, UK

Months 10 and 11

Once I pushed past the 9-month mark, it almost felt like I could see the finish line… I was certainly done decluttering, by that point. Everywhere I looked, I used or planned to use what was in my home, so I didn’t remove a single item in April or May. It seemed as though getting rid of 65% of my belongings was the sweet spot. The takeout coffee ban also had a huge win, as it was during this time that I finally started to feel like spending $5 on a latte was a huge waste of money. I just stopped valuing the drink and the experience that came with it. It might’ve had something to do with the fact that my friend Marci taught me how to roast coffee beans at home (another useful skill to add to my list of new ones) but I honestly never thought I’d see that day come. I’m sure my future budgets are happy it did, though.

While my new minimalist lifestyle without take coffee was going well, the shopping ban faced one more challenge. In April, the iPhone 4S I’d been wanting to replace since before the shopping ban started, and had planned to replace as soon as it ended, died. It just shut itself off one last time and never turned on again. I was a little sad to “break” the ban for this, but the delay had an interesting effect: I didn’t notice anything different about the iPhone 6 compared to the 4S, other than the size. After months of using an old phone and doing fine “without” a new one, I grew to appreciate it for what it was: a tool that lets me communicate with family and friends. But I don’t need any bells and whistles. I like iPhones but I certainly don’t use them to their full advantage. I couldn’t even tell you what any of the new features are on the 6 compared to the 4S (other than the better camera – I do like that). Anyway, the bonus is that I think my cell phone company felt bad my phone had died, because they offered me $105 worth of loyalty credits. Tacked onto the $90 I’d built up in their rewards program, my new phone cost less than $200 incl. tax – and I had way more than that in the Shopping Ban account to cover the cost.

The Final Month

At the beginning of June, I decided to do one “final” declutter (I say that loosely because I think it’s good to constantly declutter) and removed another 54 items from my home, which brought my grand total up to 70%. One of the things I had to get rid of was the only pair of TOMS I owned (which had just been given to me at Christmas – wah!) that… well… died on mine and Sarah’s 10-day trip to the east coast. I’m not even sure what happened to them. Each day, they started to fall apart a little more, but then I came home, pulled them out of my suitcase and they looked like this. My automatic reaction was to rush out and replace them. Before I broke the ban for a new pair, however, I remembered it was sandal season and decided to try to live in flip flops for the final few weeks. So far, I haven’t missed having shoes once… and I don’t think I’ll replace them until closer to the fall.

The minute I started telling people I only had one month left in the shopping ban, the #1 question they started asking me was: What are you going to buy when it’s over? Never mind the fact that I still had 30 more days to get through, everyone just wanted to know how I was going to celebrate. Here’s the truth: as of this moment, the answer is nothing. Today is the last day of the ban and I plan on buying nothing tomorrow. My shopping ban wasn’t tempted once this month (other than when I begged Sarah to let me buy a new day planner, lol). I didn’t think about any books or clothes or even takeout coffee – none of it. There is nothing I need right now that could make my life better than it already is; that’s a great feeling to end this yearlong challenge with.

What I Bought During the Shopping Ban

I’m sure it doesn’t need to be said, but I obviously feel as though this challenge was a huge success. Aside from the 5 items included on my approved shopping list, I only purchased 3 things in the past year:

  1. Bed
  2. Boots
  3. Dress
  4. Workout capris
  5. Hoodie
  6. Car tires (1)
  7. Jeans (2)
  8. iPhone 6 (3)

That means I stopped myself from making every single impulse purchase I considered (aside from the e-reader, which I technically purchased but then cancelled the order right away). I didn’t buy a single book for my e-reader or magazine at the airport… nothing. (I can almost hardly believe it myself.)

The Numbers

Now, this wouldn’t be a personal finance blog if I didn’t share some numbers with you, right? Well, if you think back to the beginning of this post, remember that I had two financial goals I wanted to achieve this year: to live on 50% of my income and to save at least $100/month in my Shopping Ban account. Thanks to the increasing amount of freelance work I took on, I was able to successfully achieve both goals. Some months were tougher than others but, overall, I lived on an average of 51% of my income, saved 31% and spent 18% on travel. Translated into dollar amounts, I spent $28,000 on “life” expenses (that includes all regular living expenses plus medical costs, gifts, donations, my new tires, etc.), I saved $17,000 and I spent just under $10,000 on travel. (That was a doozy, even for me, but you saw how much I travelled this year so it shouldn’t be too surprising.)

“By being more conscious, I was able to pay off my credit card debt, add a few $K’s to my emergency fund, and build up a planned spending account for two events coming up this fall (which I’m halfway towards my savings goal for). I also learned I can live on WAY less than I thought I could.” – Jessica, Canada

As for that Shopping Ban account, I forgot to mention it more throughout the post, because I didn’t do a great job of tracking how much money I put in it each month, but I was saving more and more as time went on. I started by putting $100/month in the account, which was the amount I figured I was saving on takeout coffee. Eventually, I increased that to $150/month, then $200 and $250. I also deposited any referral bonuses I got from my bank, random amounts leftover on payday and any money I made from selling bigger items during my declutter/purge. As of today, the account has a balance of $2,850 – but I technically saved $3,800, because I spent the first $760 on a bed and $190 on a phone. That’s a far cry from the $1,200-$1,500 I thought I might have at the end!

The Press

The topic of this yearlong shopping ban received a surprising amount of press, over the past 12 months. I did early interviews with and the Saskatchewan Pension Plan. Gail Vaz-Oxlade had me on The Late Shift, and I did a few interviews for podcasts, including the new Mo’ Money Podcast andStacking Benjamins. I was also interviewed by a newspaper in Germany and a magazine in New Zealand. I had several recorded interviews for a CBC Radio documentary that is expected to come out this fall. And I did an interview with Forbes last week, which includes my 10 tips to complete a successful shopping ban.

The Best Feedback: Your Shopping Bans

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, one of the best parts of this entire experience was receiving all the comments/tweets/emails from those of you who were inspired to start shopping bans of your own. Feeling like I had all of you supporting me throughout my ban was one thing, but knowing others were joining me along the way took it to a new level. I had saved a lot of your comments/tweets and conversations, but at the last minute I got the idea to send out a survey to everyone who was inspired to do a shopping ban with me and turn the results into an infographic.

Not surprisingly, the majority of you who responded were female. Surprisingly, though, you were all over the world. I honestly had no idea I had readers in Brazil or Italy! Some notable stats: the length of your shopping bans varied, and 41% said you didn’t do a ban but mine inspired you to stop making impulse purchases (love it!). Clothes and home decor were at the top of your ban lists, but you were most triggered by clothes and takeout food. Weekend plans and boredom/stress were among the “other” triggers you mentioned. And even though most of you felt the ban was difficult, 80% of you successfully completed your bans – and 34% extended it! Take a look:


*Note: I know that more than 129 people were inspired, during the past year, I just didn’t come up with this idea early enough to leave the survey open for a longer period of time. More responses came through in the past few days, but I had already analyzed the data and asked a friend to help me with the infographic. Thank you to everyone who responded!

So, Where Does this Leave Me?

I don’t know how to sum up everything I’ve learned in the past year. I have seriously sat at my screen half a dozen times and tried to write this section, but there are too many possible lessons to list – and many of them were already mentioned in the context of the stories above. Rather than try to come up with something brilliant, I’ll just say it how it is:

I feel like the most honest and real version of myself, right now.

Decluttering was just the beginning. When I started on this journey, I was so focused on the physical objects in my space that I had no idea how my life would change once I’d removed most of them. As I said, altogether, I removed 70% of the belongings from my home – and I don’t even remember what most of it was. Since clearing all of that out, though, my home has become a much brighter and more creative space. There’s no more clutter filling my brain with random ideas for projects or things I should do and topics I should write about. And there’s no guilt about the fact that I own tons of things I once bought to impress people but didn’t actually use/love. I no longer keep track of how many items I own (that idea exhausts me, so I won’t do it) and it doesn’t really matter. I’m just glad all the clutter is out and my home is only full of things I use often or truly cherish.

With the shopping ban tacked onto this plan to embrace minimalism, I was either setting myself up for failure or for the most successful year of my life – and I’m happy to say it was the latter. This entire journey forced me to give up all the things we are taught to want in life: the newest and greatest of this, that or the other. I exchanged them for basic necessities and, after a year of not being able to buy anything new, I’ve realized I have all I could ever need. I don’t value material objects anymore. I value people, places and experiences. This new mindset has not only saved me money, it’s expanded my capacity to care for others and to find gratitude in the simplest things. And perhaps the best outcome of all is that I will never again purchase something because I want it to portray a certain level of success or character quality I wish I had. When I can shop again, I will only be buying things that I like.

So, the final year of my twenties wasn’t everything I thought it would be, when I was freaking out before my 29th birthday. I didn’t go to Europe or Hawaii and work remotely for 3 months, or do anything else equally spontaneous. I did travel a lot, but otherwise I was a homebody who lived her most frugal year yet. It is interesting, actually: the fact that I made more in the last year than I ever have and yet I spent less than I ever used to. Oh, but that freedom I was worried about having to leave behind in my 20s, in place of settling down*? As it turns out, I now have more freedom than ever, since I quit my job and decided to work for myself. In all honesty, I don’t know that I could’ve done that this early in life, had I not challenged myself to spend less for a year. Knowing how little I need to live off of and be happy is part of the reason I was comfortable taking the leap. Now that I’ve leapt, the world is mine.

(*Although, if I do “settle down” anytime soon, I have some ideas now for what that would look like… and it would be “tiny”. We can talk about that more later this summer.)

What’s Next?

That’s the million dollar question, right now. As the end of this journey crept up, I honestly started to feel a little sad, as I didn’t get to accomplish everything I wanted to. For starters, I travelled so much this spring that I still haven’t run out of cleaning supplies and needed to make any of my own yet. I did plant a little garden, but I feel like I missed out on that project. I also still have stacks of unread books on my shelves, and I had a bunch more on hold at the library, but decided to remove them all and just focus on reading what I currently own. Overall, the last few months of the shopping ban felt a little too easy…

…so I’ve decided to do it again.

I’m going to change the rules slightly, but it’ll be another yearlong shopping ban – so a two-year shopping ban is what we can start calling it now, I guess! Tomorrow is my 30th birthday, so I’m going to take the day off (not from the ban, just from the blog) and share the rules for my next ban on Wednesday.