What I hoped to get out of this shopping ban:
- Tone my self-control muscle, which should make it stronger for the future
- Greater contentment and appreciation for everything we have
- Save $400+
- Use up some of the food we have stored up
- Healthier meals – Less eating out means I know what’s going into our meals
Here were the rules...
I will not buy:
- Groceries, except fresh produce, bread and milk
- Food at restaurants if I can eat at home or bring food with me
- Toys (The boys are arguing that these are necessities. I beg to differ.)
- Household items
- Stuff we don’t absolutely need
I may buy:
- Fresh produce (veggies, fruit, herbs)
- Fresh bread
- Almond milk
- Soy creamer for my tea (Very important, guys. I need my tea.)
- Food at restaurants if I need to eat and haven’t brought food with me
- Necessities (toilet paper, gasoline, etc.)
How did it go?
Overall, it went really, really well. When I went to the grocery store, I went with intention. The intention to spend as little as possible and only on the things we really needed that were on my list. I thought it was going to be hard (considering my terrible track record) but it was easier than I thought it would be. Plus, my boys did a great job of keeping me honest.
"Uh, do we really need that?"
"That's not produce."
"Aren't you on a shopping ban?!?"
Haha, it was a helpful deterrent. I did veer off course a bit when I went to the store to buy cucumber, avocado and herbs to make sushi and banh mi and realized we were out of soy sauce. But, soy sauce is kinda a staple, right? Right. And, we were out of tofu, too. So, we got soy sauce and tofu, in addition to our produce that day. But, I said no to the spicy noodles and ramune, a Japanese soda the boys love.
Overall, I spent much less on groceries than I do in a typical month. We easily saved the $400 I was shooting for by limiting grocery spending and eating out. I spent $224.12 in groceries during the month of April. For a family of four, that's $1.87 per person, per day for groceries. That's a pretty good number to me. What do you think?
When the month was over, I could tell a difference in my tolerance for spending. Within the first week, we needed to get something at Target. Oy. Target - my arch nemesis. I swear it's physically impossible to leave that store without spending over $100 bucks. And, of course, there were all kinds of things we needed (or "needed") and we ended up spending way too much. I felt sick to my stomach walking back out to the van.
Clearly, one month isn't going to cure this tendency.
But, on the bright side, when I go to the grocery store now, it is much easier to only buy what we need. I remind myself that my home is not a storage facility. When I run out of something, I can easily replenish it. I don't need to buy extras "just in case". Except for toilet paper, because you don't want to run out of toilet paper.
Because of the Target experience, we decided to get an Amazon Prime membership in May for the express purpose of me not having to step food inside Target. I know my weaknesses.
You can buy almost anything online. This way, I can order things we need that I would normally buy at Target online and get it shipped, for free. Then, I don't have to step inside Target and be tempted with all the pretty things. For some reason, I have more buying self-control online than I do in person.
What I got out of the shopping ban:
- Saved over $400, by limiting grocery spending and eating out
- Toned my self-control muscle, so now it is easier for me to say no
- Greater contentment and appreciation for what we have
- We used up quite a bit of the food we had stored up, but there was still a lot, so we have more work to do
- We ate healthier meals, because I was cooking most of our food at home
What did you eat all month?
Trying to use up the food we had on hand led to me crafting some creative, but delicious meals throughout the month. I even have a few new favorites! Here are a few of them.
All in all, it was a good exercise in self-control, restraint and gratitude, all qualities I plan to continue working on. Not to mention, the practical $ savings and using up some of our pantry items.
Does this sound like something you would like to do? Do you think you would benefit from it? Let me know below in the comments!