a shopping ban can be fun

Preventing the influx of new clutter – A shopping ban can bring surprising insights. About you. And your stuff.

The purpose of daily-life experimentation

Creating and conducting experiments in our daily life is a playful way to develop greater self-awareness and to try out new ways of behaviour or testing the effects of new ways to solve problems.

Shopping bans – Experimenting with buying less

Shopping bans, for example, are a way of temporarily experimenting with drastically changed shopping behaviours.

Do you have any experience with shopping bans?

Some time ago I imposed a 3-months-shopping-ban on myself – no spending on books and clothes for 3 months.

This is what my shopping-ban exercise taught me:

    • I appreciate more what I have and I use it with more care and attention if – for a while – nothing new is coming in.
    • A lot of my buying behaviour is directed by spontaneous shopping decisions.
    • I can break this circle of ‘automatic’ money spending if I postpone the decision for some days.
    • Often, I no longer want to have the desired item and don’t buy it, without any regret.
    • And if I decide to buy it after some days of consideration, I appreciate it more consciously and gratefully.

How do you feel about experimenting with a shopping ban?


Impose a shopping ban on yourself to understand your shopping decisions better or to change them.

    • Determine the duration of the shopping ban. (Two weeks? One months? Three?)
    • Transfer the start and finish dates of the ban into your calendar.
    • Decide what type of shopping is not covered by the ban (Groceries. One coffee-to-go per day? Eating out once a week?)
    • Start a little journal and keep notes of your experiences – Your thoughts and feelings and actions.
    • In situations where you didn’t stick to the ban. What did you think and feel while you were making the purchase? And after it?
    • In situations where you obeyed to your rules and didn’t buy something that you’d have bought without the ban. Was it difficult? Or easy? Why?
    • Start a list and take notes of the things you would like to buy. You can promise yourself to revisit this list and to purchase whatever you still desire to have after the end of the ban.

At the end of the ban, sit down and evaluate your experiences.

Summarize what the shopping-ban exercise taught you about yourself.

And your shopping behaviour.

And how you plan to make use of those learning-gains in the future.

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