Journey Through Debt: A Shopping Ban, You Say?

What the heck is a shopping ban, you might ask? And why in the world would one ever want to do one??

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So I got the idea from Cait Flanders, who decided to put herself on a two-year shopping ban, after having paid off $30,000 of debt in just two years. You can listen to her talk about it on her Budgets and Cents podcast.  I’ve taken a really good, hard look at my finances, and have decided there are just some things I have to do. The operative word in that last sentence is HAVE. If I want to be serious about paying off my consumer debt, meaning my credit card debt, auto loan and then that pesky private student loan I have, I need to get SERIOUS. Every video I watch on YouTube about people getting out of debt and how they have done it – they all include the word or concept: SACRIFICE. You can’t get out of debt without changing your ways.

So,  when Cait went on a shopping ban, she did give herself a list of approved items that she could buy if she needed to during the shopping ban. So I’ve been thinking of what that list would include for me and here is what I have come up with:

  1. nutribullet/ninjabullet/magicbullet blender system (or something similar).  Right after I posted about my debt hurdle last week, mine died. I used to have a cheaper one made by Oster which only lasted a few months – the motor on it was just not very powerful. The NutriBullet is a bit more expensive (I paid about $85-90 for mine about two years ago), but it is super powerful and I do drink a lot of smoothies. It’s a good way to get a lot of veggies and fruits and protein powder in your diet if you don’t want to eat a ton of salads. And I have to admit, I like salads, but I definitely like something that is a bit heartier at times, like rice or pasta.
  2. Jacket or sweater for Morgan. Pets get cold too, and I understand sometimes it can get down into the single digits in ABQ. So if she seems like she is getting cold out on our walks, then I will get her one. For right now though, she seems just fine!
  3. Plane ticket to Florida for May 2017. It’s my brother’s wedding and I have been saving for it since I first heard about their plan. I almost have enough money saved for the ticket now but am hoping that flight prices come down. I’m going to keep looking pretty much every day. And did you know that you can use Ebates to go to sites like Orbitz or Travelocity, and then earn money back on your ticket?! (Seriously, I’m loving Ebates!)  And I may need to get a rental car unless I split one with my mom and her husband, which they have offered to do. Just depends on which airport I fly into, I think.
  4. Still mulling this one over – a dress for my brother’s wedding. I say this because as of right now, I have two dresses and I wore each one this past year for each of my nephew’s weddings. I’m sure that if I do buy something, I can get something that isn’t too expensive, and there are always second hand shops. If need be, I could get it altered. It won’t have to be anything too fancy because the wedding will be on the beach.
  5. I will occasionally let myself buy a ticket to a movie or museum type-thing. But honestly, there are a lot of free museums and places I can go to here in ABQ, and there really isn’t one movie that I am just dying to see. Not something that I would want to spend full price on. Unless the new Fast and Furious movie comes out, because well, that I would go see as a first run movie. (No judging!!)
  6. Renewing the domain name for my website when it comes up, but I don’t think that’ll happen until summer 2017.
  7. Necessities such as food for me and the furballs, toiletries, and gas for my car.

Honestly, when I look around at my place and my lifestyle, I don’t think I need much. Nor do I think I want that much either. Because, let’s be honest, needs and wants are very different, even though we can often get the two confused. I have plenty of clothes, and I wear scrubs to work, so there’s nothing to buy for there. I have lots of extra blankets and pet beds, etc. I use milk crates as my bookshelves of sorts, and milk crates also act as the base of my bed. (I have a four-inch latex mattress topper on top of them and it works just fine for me and the furballs.)  I’m also planning on selling a few things also, to free up some cash and room in my apartment.

Also, As I’m looking toward the future and when my lease is up, I’m even considering apartments that don’t have kitchens, because I’ve realized that since living here, I don’t use mine a ton (because of the insect problem I wrote about in an earlier post. It’s getting better since they’ve sprayed, but still, I’m DONE with dealing with that.) So if that happens, a fridge will be on the approved list of items, and probably a toaster oven. But if I do move to a full-fledged studio, then I won’t need those. I even watched this video on youtube about a lady who moved into a place that only had bathrooms in the hall – she seemed to make it work and also seems happy with her choice!

How long is my shopping ban going to be for? I’m not sure yet. I should probably keep it in place until at least when I move to another apartment. In fact, I think that’s what I will plan on doing. See how much I can save or pay off debt in the meantime.

Btw, an update. I have bought a magic bullet since I started writing this post. However, I bought it online through, which was offering an even stronger one than I had before (this is 900 watts, the last one was 600, and it kicked ass), at 30% off. I then used an online discount code for an additional 25% off, and shopped through to get an additional 6% in cash back! If you haven’t heard of ebates, check it out, and please use my referral link! If you’re buying stuff online, you might as well get it through ebates, so you get some more money back into your pocket.

Would you ever put yourself on a shopping ban? Why or why not? 

As always, thanks for reading!



6 thoughts on “Journey Through Debt: A Shopping Ban, You Say?

  • I love the shopping ban! In general our culture is so “thing” obsessed we could all afford to buy less. I try to not shop for stuff in general because of such overconsumerism and the amount of crap we (mostly Americans) send to landfills every year. I’m still bad about splurging on junk food though (aka m&ms haha). A little sacrifice will pay off large in the long run. Some ideas for your list above – could uber in FL, even split those costs with your mom in lieu of a rental. Or I’ve heard (but not researched) that renting from off-airport car rental is cheaper. Take a cheap uber to the off-site rental and save on fees, supposedly you can still return car at airport without additional costs. I feel like there has to be clothing rental apps/websites where you could maybe rent a dress for the wedding and then you don’t have to also store it until the next event. But also tons of people donate quality clothes so a thrift shop hunt could also be fun (and cheap!). I love flight shopping for deals (it’s a big part of how we are able to travel!) and will keep an eye out for you if you let me know your destination in FL. 🙂

    I know I don’t always comment on your posts but I’m still so proud of you for diving headfirst into a fulfilled life!

    • If I can find an off-airport place, i will go that route. My mom and I might split a rental car if we both fly into Ft. Myers. If I fly into Ft. Lauderdale, it’s about 100 miles from Naples, so it might not work out. But I still figure that if the cost of the flight is way cheaper from Ft. Lauderdale, the difference in rental car stuff won’t end up costing me more than it would to fly into Ft. Myers. So I just have to see!

      And yes, I think the overconsumerism in this country is disgusting. And that is a great idea about a rental dress. I need to see if ABQ has anything like that. How do you like for flights by the way? My friend Liz said she uses skyscanner to find cheap flights. She’s like you and flies internationally!

  • I somehow missed this post! Have you checked to see if there is an airport shuttle between Ft. Lauderdale and Naples or Fort Myers? Sometimes those can be inexpensive because there are several/many passengers to share the cost. You wouldn’t need to navigate the distance – just relax from your flight.

    What about flying into Tampa? At least you would be on the west coast of the state. I haven’t lived in Florida for over thirty years, but I always liked the west coast better – less crowded and problematic in all regards.

    Virtual hugs,


    • I hadn’t looked into flying to Tampa, but I will do so and see what the rates are like. I’ve downloaded an app called Hopper (it has the image of a bunny) and am going to use the heck out of that too. I figure it’s best to start looking now. And I will check into the airport shuttle – I know they had them back in Utah between St. George and Kanab and saved a lot of people some money. All good ideas, Judie – thank you!!!

  • Try a Good Will store for a dress. Some days you find great stuff, other days nothing- so you may have to go several times. Tuesdays in my area are Customer Appreciation Days and everything is 25% off. You should check in your area for what days are discounted. My daughter got a prom dress for $11. It was stunning. She also needed a white blouse and a black skirt for a uniform, and we got BOTH for less than $10 total.
    We love Good Will and other thrift stores too. We rarely buy from ‘regular’ stores. They are just too expensive for us. Good luck!

    • Oh I love thrift stores too, and I was super excited to see when I moved to ABQ that they have TONS of them!! I will have to check out their days that they discount things – the good thing is my days off are Wed and Thurs, so I might get lucky and it’s one of those days of the week! I grew up on second hand clothes, from my sister, from rummage sales and garage sales. So yeah, maybe I should start looking now! 🙂 Yvonne, thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog. I really appreciate it.

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