January 21, 2015 - Better You, Style

Ten Ways to Make a Shopping Ban Work


Have you ever done a shopping ban?  If you have, then you already know that it’s often easier said than done!  In case you missed this post, I announced that I’m under a self-imposed shopping ban this month.   My goal is to make the most of my winter wardrobe without adding to it.

Many of you decided to take the plunge with me, especially those of you that participated in the Winter GYPO Style Challenge.  What we’ve collectively discovered through doing style challenges is that less really is more and you can create lots of outfit options from what you already have.

This past week, I asked the winter challengers to share some of their best tips for sticking to their zero shopping commitments this month.  Whether it’s for financial reasons, or just to prove to yourself that “less is more”, there are lots of ways to make a shopping ban easier to follow.  Today I’m sharing some of their best tips with you.

Ten Ways to Make a Shopping Ban Work

1.  Get Pin-spired

Recreate outfits from Pinterest using ONLY what you already have in your closet.  Of course, this could also tempt you to buy new pieces but keep the commitment to use what you have.

2.  Use an Outfit App

After you’ve created those outfits from Pinterest, snap a selfie and then log them into an app like Stylebook which allows you to virtually organize your wardrobe and track your outfits.

pattern_bg 3.  Clean Your Closet

Cleaning out and organizing your closet is a really effective way to see what you have and what you need.  If you have legitimate needs, you can them keep them on a list to shop for at a later date or when the price is right.

4.  Get Some Accountability

Create a no shopping support group with your friends, hold each other accountable and encourage each other to keep on keeping on!

5.  Unsubscribe from Sale Alerts

This is all about removing temptation.  Clean out your inbox and unsubscribe from all of those sale alerts you get on a daily basis.  Don’t worry, Loft will continue having a flash sale every few days, with or without you!

6.  Stay Away from the Mall!

This one is a no-brainer but if you’re trying not to shop, then stay away from stores.  Some you may not be able to avoid.  I do my grocery shopping at Target, so that is my achilles heel.  I just stay on the grocery side of the store and use the registers farthest from women’s clothing in order to avoid temptation.

7.  Contentment is Key

Be grateful for what you already have.  No piece of clothing can bring true happiness.  Practicing gratitude will.

8.  Keep your “Why” in Mind

Why did you start your shopping ban to begin with?  My why is that I want to save money this year to help my son pay for college.  Your why could be that you’d rather spend money on travel.  If you keep your why at the forefront every day, it makes it much easier to stick to the plan.

9.  Leave Cash/Credit Cards Behind

If you know that you’re going to be tempted, leave all payment methods at home.

10.  Find Something Else to Occupy Your Time

If shopping is your hobby, then consider picking up a new one.  Now would be a great time to try something you’ve always been interested in.

It’s Your Turn:  What helps you get through a shopping ban?  Share your tips in the comments.


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  • These are really awesome tips, Alison!
    I love #7– I know I need to be practicing gratitude in all areas of my life 🙂

    • Thank you Rachel! Sometimes the practice gets pushed aside in our daily lives, but it’s a great reminder. 🙂

  • Great tips Alison! I took last year to focus on not buying any clothes (besides a very few essentials). It was so freeing. It’s amazing how much we sometimes have that we just don’t need.

    • I agree completely with you Morgan. Will you be doing it again this year?

  • Great tips Alison, I think so many of us are trying our hands at a shopping ban this time of year so these are helpful! I have to stay away from stores because resisting the urge to buy something is too hard for me. I never thought of #5 & that’s brilliant because I get so tempted with all the sale alerts & new arrival e-mails!

    • Marta, that was so hard for me to do at first. Now, it feels so good!

  • great tips and I have to check out that stylebook app.


    • Thanks Rachelle. Let me know what you think of the stylebook app.

  • I’m currently in the middle of a shopping ban, the sale alerts are killer! Thanks for these great tips! I’ve got a great cash giveaway on the blog, please stop by if you get a chance!


    • Thank you! I’ll stop by.

  • I am working on a new budget this month and I have been on a shopping ban too. I have enjoyed reworking my closet and saving some money. I have never heard of that app, I am going to download it today! Thanks! Susan

    • Great job Susan! Keep up the good work!

  • I’m on a spending ban right now, so this is helpful!

    • You can do it, Ashley! How long is your spending ban for?

  • It is really hard to stay on a shopping ban – there is always something I see that is a great deal! I created a shopping email so all of the sale alerts go there. I only check it if we are going to the mall. Thanks for sharing your tips!

    Doused In Pink

    • It feels good to stop though. Jill, a good way to think… there will always be a great deal, next time. 😉

  • These are great tips, Alison- and remind me, I definitely need to do a closet clean-out soon!
    Happy Wednesday and thanks for always hosting a great link up!

    Le Stylo Rouge

  • I do need to cut down on my shopping but I don’t know if I could do a total shopping ban. But love your suggestions for shopping your closet. My number one priority right now is cleaning my closet! I always find things that I have forgotten about and come up with several new outfits just by rediscovering oldies but goodies. Enjoy the rest of the week, Alison! ~Cynthia

    • Have a great week Cynthia. Keep shopping your closet 😉

  • Crissy

    These are great tips and my husband agrees with you! LOL! I think that’s a hint I need to stop shopping! xo


  • Amy Ann

    Great tips! I’ve been trying to shop my closet this month too, so I appreciate it! Good luck!

    Amy Ann
    The Real Arnolds

    • Thanks Amy Ann. We can do it together! 🙂

  • Great tips! I have been trying to reduce the amount of shopping I do and so far so good.


    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up.

    • That’s awesome, Alice!

  • The suggestion of staying out of the mall is a good one. I made the mistake of going to the mall to buy a pair of tights (which I needed), but with all the great clearance sales, I picked up a whole lot more than that!

    • Uh oh! Just try to keep away from the mall and you will be fine.

  • I actually went 8 months without buying anything in 2012. It really changed how I shop and has taught me to get by with far less clothing. Actually, that year I made more money selling clothes than I did buying them! Now I try to just limit myself to buying a few things at the beginning of a season and when new things come in, old things that are ratty or that just don’t fit right go out. Your tips are great and exactly what I did when I went on my shopping ban!

    • That is amazing Rebecca. Great job!!! 🙂

  • Super helpful tips Alison – more power to all of us joining the ban!!


    • Thanks Rebecca. We can do this! 🙂

  • Mugsy 42

    I’ve been challenging myself to pull together and wear 100 new outfits before buying any new casual clothes. My closet is well stocked with lots of flexibility. It’s been kinda fun trying out new things in my closet.

    Each day I’m pairing different bottoms with different tops. Should get me through winter into spring. Working hard not to repeat full outfits.

    Unfortunately I’ve started to work out and have bought a few work out pieces. But it’s been very motivational to get me to my gym.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    • You’re doing great! Keep it up! 🙂

  • These are great tips, Alison- thank you!

    • Thank you Amanda. Are you joining the shopping ban too?

  • Such great tips! Happy I found your blog:)


    • I’m happy you found GYPO, Joanne!

  • Mary

    Our budget is so tight right now I might as well be on a ban. Mending and sewing help me through it. I’m repurposing a few older t-shirts. Hemming a pair of pants will give me a whole new pair to wear.

    Another thing that is helping is trading clothes with friends. We’re all getting something new to us and decluttering our closets at the same time.

    This was a timely post for me and practicing contentment is something I always need to hear!!

    • That’s a great idea for sewing and re-purposing a few older shirts and pants, Mary!

  • Great advice, especially ” Don’t worry, Loft will continue having a flash sale every few days, with or without you!” So true!!

  • Heidi from Canada

    That’s what I needed to hear today. I realized that for me it’s not so much wanting new (more) clothes, than the thrill of hunting for them, finding that perfect pieces, scoring that bargain. I love to get parcels in the mail. Going out to shop is not that tempting for me.
    Like you mentioned Alison, it’s time to organize the closet. I have yet to find one of those style apps for my Android phone or set something up on my home computer. For now I saved all the different style options in a folder.

  • Silke

    Thank you for this post. It makes me really happy. While reading, I found out that I´m ready with #1,3,4,57,8,9,10. This is so much fun!
    It took me one whole day (with some quality time in between with my cats, snuggling and playing) to clean out my closet. I checked on Pinterest for every item I wasn´t sure to keep or not.
    For #10 I took out all my old US vacation videos and started to watch them again , organize and digitalize them.

    Greetings from Germany

    • Silke, i’m so glad you were able to organize and clean your closet. Enjoy it!

  • Excellent advice! Unsubscribing from sale alerts and staying away from the mall are key 🙂

    • Are you joining the shopping ban too? 😉

  • I need to bookmark this list so I’m constantly reminded to put down the credit card!! Thank you!

    • Thank you Lisa. Don’t give in!

  • Lori

    This post is great! I am so glad you are doing this. My husband and I decided after the Holidays to stop the shopping for a month, so we have already been doing this. It has been tough, but good. I am enjoying looking through what I have and figuring out new outfits. Pinterest is great for helping style things. Your post has encouraged me to keep it up. Thanks!

    • You’re almost there Lori! Just a few more days. 😉

  • My surrounding communities have Facebook yard sale pages where you can post items to sell and then meet up locally. It is a great way to clean out your home/closet and make a little money. I’ve made close to $1,000 in over a year! Of course, you also have to be careful not to BUY from the site if your goal is to clean out and make some cash! It is nice if you can find one that is all women and run by a great Admin…. and of course always be safe!

    • That’s a great idea to earn more cash from cleaning out the closet!

  • Lori

    Thanks again Alison for doing this. I posted earlier but wanted to write a follow up. The month of January is almost over and it has been tempting to buy but as my husband and I had decided earlier not to spend beyond needs this month, this post has helped me stick to it. And another benefit is that it has given me time to think about what I need vs. what I want. Now as Feb. approaches and I can spend, I am ready to spend wiser.

    • Cheers to spending wiser this February and the rest of the year.

  • Simone

    Great tips here! I’ll be following these during my own shopping ban and I’ll definitely be using my Stylebook app during this time as well!