Make do don't spend - surviving a spending ban

I have done a couple of posts on how I best find cheap vintage, in the interests of balance I wanted to write about what happens when you have the ability to shop smart but you shop too much. I see it mentioned so much on the vintage pages that I had to write about it.

I have been trying to fight the urge to seek out vintage bargains that I really don’t need! This is difficult for a vintage enthusiast because when you see something you love it's not like shopping at Topshop, you can't just wait till next month, it's likely to be gone. That's the thrill of the vintage chase but it can be addictive!

There are people I follow on Instagram, or blogs that I read and the people responsible for them always seem to have something new, serious OOTD (Outfit of the day) devotees whose posts never feature the same dress twice.

It’s lovely to spectate, or even dream about winning the lottery and living a dress per day life from time to time but I don’t want this blog to become the kind of contrived environment where I blog in order to maintain the facade that I don’t have bills or have to limit myself in any way. Its something I have been working on a lot recently as I realise my spending is erratic at best.

Online shopping is somewhat easier to avoid if you delete your apps and but if vintage fairs and antiques markets form part of your social life as well as your shopping habits you might have to fill your time with alternatives if you have the kind of self control I do (meaning zero!)

However to have a spending ban is healthy so here is how I have gone about it:

Before you start:

Be realistic - don't stop your life, you will get miserable and justify a treat to yourself. Everything is about choice, you can blow your wages on a vintage dress or you can look at the ones you already own and attend a vintage event with that money instead, what's the point in having those fabric beauties if you are not showing them off?

Offset it - consider selling instead of buying which will free up funds for when your spending ban is over.  If you have things you are not wearing then why not sell them and why justify buying more? I’ve sold loads of things on ebay recently and have much more to sell and I’m telling myself its good to let them go as it is paying for Twinwood! 

Budget it - don't try to impose a spending ban when you know you have friends birthdays and a night out coming up, choose a quiet month and fill it with alternative things to do as below but if you have an event to attend budget for it and don’t beat yourself up about spending something for a planned event.

Do I have hobbies? Think about the things you enjoy other than seeking out vintage, write a list of them and tick them off as you go through your spending ban.

The things you don’t have time for:

We all have things that we proclaim that we would dearly love to do, but we don’t have time. A spending ban is a good way of trying these things out. Last Monday, grateful for the bank holiday but not impressed by the weather, I set myself the task of cutting out a dress pattern which has been languishing in my sewing box.

Whilst it wasn’t the most glamorous of tasks, it took me the entire afternoon to carefully cut out the pattern without ripping it. It does mean I am one step closer to being able to (in the interests of thriftiness) make my own dresses, which will save me money in itself.

Looking to the future:

Just because I am on a spending ban doesn’t mean I cannot look ahead. Getting my diary out and going through all of the events that I am interested in for the summer vintage season was a real pleasure. I’m a list maker so I really enjoy writing everything down in my little book.

Just researching how I would get to these places and looking at the cost of the train fare was enough to keep me off eBay! I find planning for the events I will enjoy rather than worrying about what I will wear to them and then panic buying yet another dress very useful.

Taking care of you (and your purse)

Other than vintage the other area in my life in which I waste stupid amounts of money is food. I used to love cooking and would always whip up a big pot of something on a Sunday to freeze and take to work the following week. This weekend I made a batch of lunches, which has cost me the same as one shop bought sandwich. It was super cheap and saved me loads!

I really enjoyed myself too, feeling very thrifty and getting back into cooking the way I used to with the radio blaring. With no one around in the house I could pretend to be Nigella for a while, and my pinny got an outing so it was win win all around.

I’ll do a receipe blog post on my thirfty lunches soon as I think they would be really handy especially for those with a big family to feed.

Buddy up:

It would be a jolly good idea to buddy up with a vintage pal for a spending ban and you could make a competition out of it. Just make sure it’s not a friend who will enable you. I have some friends that I could never do this with, as much as I love them.

You can check in with eachother during the ban and if you have been browsing (naughty!) and see something you cannot resist your buddy must approve it and you must give 5 reasons why you should have it.

Catalogue it:

If your reading this and relating to being a bit of a vintage shopaholic then hopefully you’ll also relate to this: Forgetting what you have got! Having just moved to a tiny bedroom in London I currently have storage issues and not everything is within reach or view. I was wearing a red dress recently and wondered why I didn’t have any earrings to match. I did have earrings which I found two days later when I was looking for a hair flower. Sad, bad times!

I have started taking photos to store in a private online album of what I own. Not only will this help me plan outfits for vintage events but it will serve a great purpose when the spending ban is over to allow me to assess quickly what I already have when I see something beautiful for sale at a vintage event. If I have something too similar then either one must be sold or I have to leave the item there. Should be simple shouldn’t it?!

I’ll do a blog on this soon too as although it has taken some time it really is helpful to do.

Desperate times:

It's Sunday evening, the latest series of Home Fires has finished and you are at a loose end. You reach for your phone to just have a quick look at ebay/etsy. GO AND HAVE A BATH! Wet set your hair, do something other than tempting yourself by looking at vintage. If you really cannot control yourself after all that then put your phone in the inside pocket of your handbag and paint your nails. It will be impossible to get out without ruining your manicure and your bag lining!

So that’s how I am going about my spending ban, and it’s going pretty well. I’ve had one vintage event which I budgeted for but other than that I have resisted the urges to shop thus far.

Until next time


Lucy xx

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