Saying hello to simplicity (with a 3 month shopping ban!)

I’ve been convicted recently about how much I have and how little I appreciate it. So many people have much less than I do, and yet I don’t feel content if I’m not upgrading my wardrobe, my home decor, and bookshelves. I love the thrill of receiving something new in the mail, and I shop when I’m bored or sad. I’ve got some bad habits, which I think come from a place of not actually recognizing the full worth of what I already have in Christ.

Lately, I’m realizing that my happiness and success isn’t correlated with how much stuff I own. Things don’t matter, really.

And just last week (as I’m realizing all of this), I read Kayla Hollatz’s post on finding enough in a culture of excess – which then led me to Cait Flanders’ blog about minimalism and her year-long shopping ban. And so the conviction intensified as I was reminded that my life is filled with excess – but it can’t satisfy me. Those two inspired me to start fasting from shopping, so that I can fill my life with Jesus.

I'm starting a 3 month shopping ban! #shoppingban #simplicity #minimalism #minimalistblogger

I’m giving up shopping for the next three months (February – April) so that I can focus on what matters. I want to find my delight in the Lord, not in things.

I’m reading John Piper’s A Hunger for God in order to prepare my heart, and while it’s specifically talking about fasting from food, I’ve found it to be really applicable to fasting from other things.

The weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things.” Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God.

John Piper

Increasing my soul’s appetite for God by fasting from shopping is my #1 goal.

What does this look like practically? Obviously, there are some things that I have to spend money on – like food and rent. So I made three lists: essentials (that I’m allowed to buy), non-essentials (that I’m NOT allowed to buy), and approved purchases (things that I know I’ll have to purchase in the coming months).

My shopping ban rules:

  • Essentials
    • groceries
    • rent/utilities
    • everyday toiletries and makeup
    • what I need to keep my Etsy shop running
    • cleaning supplies/school supplies
    • car-related expenses like gas and insurance
    • tithe
  • Non-essentials
    • books
    • candles
    • makeup
    • clothes
    • accessories/jewelry
    • shoes
    • coffee mugs
    • home decor
    • electronics
    • alcohol
    • Target trips where you leave with a cart full of impulse purchases 🙂
  • Approved purchases
    • what I need to wear to graduation
    • weekly dinners with my sister
    • gifts for others

I’ve also planned out some specific goals that I want to reach over the next few months. I want to replace my habit of shopping with a heart for giving by spending more time in the Word with Jesus.

My goals for my shopping ban:

  • appreciate what I have + discover what I truly need
  • simplify my lifestyle by donating what I don’t use
  • no more fast fashion
  • cultivate a giving heart by matching any purchases that I do have to make with a donation to International Justice Mission
  • enjoy beautiful things without having to own them
  • realize how rich and full my life is in its current state

I’m going to stick to this plan for the next three months, and I hope to share some updates along the way to keep me accountable! This weekend, I’m going to sort through EVERYTHING I own and give away as much as I possibly can. I’m going to be ruthless in cutting back on what I own – aka no keeping things I don’t use just for sentimental reasons! 😉

What do you think of a shopping ban? Is it something you would consider trying?