Lifestyle,  Person Finance

Shopping Ban Update No. 3

I haven’t been that intentional with my shopping habits lately.

Here’s all that I’ve bought in the past few months (December 2020-February 2021):

How to Become a Straight-A Student: The Unconventional Strategies Real College Students Use to Score High While Studying Less  – I’m going to college in the fall! Vanderbilt Class of 2025! GO DORES! So I’m doing some very important reading. (purchased with a gift card)

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning – This was a recommendation from Ali Abdaal. (purchased with a gift card)

How to Win at College: Surprising Secrets for Success from the Country’s Top Students – Do you see a theme here? (purchased with a gift card)

Label maker tape refills – my folders? Labeled impeccably. 

Cedar Blocks – I got two adorable cashmere sweaters for Christmas, so I purchased these cedar blocks to naturally protect from my LEAST favorite insects, moths – don’t even get me started on moths… they’re the WORST. 

Folex Carpet Stain Remover – I swear my dog pees on the rug just to punish for not taking her on more long walks. 

Crochet Stitch Markers – this was very much needed. I’ve been wanting these since at least summer/early fall. I’m so glad I got these – it removes so much of the stress of trying to count stitches. 

Wooden Puzzle Fidgets – my absolute favorite fidgets: they don’t break, are quiet, and aren’t messy. 

Snow Joe – if you live in a place where it snows, you need this. I’ve never cleaned off my car so quickly! AH-MAZE-ZING!

KF94 Masks – Since I’m going to school twice a week, I picked up these N95 comparable masks for increased protection. I really like them. The KN95 didn’t fit my face, but the Korean version, KF94, fit my face really well. 

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver – This was my eighteenth birthday gift to myself. Seo from @tbhstudying uses Mary Oliver quotations in her bullet journal spreads, and I loved them so much that I bought this anthology. 

Hair Bonnet – this would have been a great idea if it didn’t RUIN MY SHEETS. Please, please, please don’t buy this piece of trash!

Honestly, looking back on this list, I don’t feel bad. Everything I’ve purchased I’ve used, and it has added value to my life. I think I’m moving onto a new phase of my “shopping ban” in which I’m not really even doing a shopping ban, rather just being more intentional about my spending. I’m proud to report I haven’t bought any new clothes, books, or stationery. I think I’m not thinking so much about my purchases and looking back, my purchases were useful and overall good. I think I just wish I did less online shopping? Also, I have too much stuff, so I’m trying to declutter. Maybe that’s why I feel like I haven’t been super intentional with my purchases when in reality, I have. I’m not sure, clearly.

I have recently been eating out once a week at Chipotle since it’s close to my school and I love burritos. I think it’s fine to treat myself to small things like Chipotle because a burrito is like $8, and I enjoy it. I’ve also been treating myself to Starbucks more often which is harder to justify because they don’t allow you to bring your own cup due to Covid. I always rinse and recycle my cups, but I know it’s wasteful. I just need to figure out how to make a quadrupole shot of espresso caramel macchiato at home! 

A Short Story about Celebrating the Small Things

All of this – the shopping ban, trying to become a mindful consumer – is all about resetting habits. And I’m so so happy and proud to say that my habits are changing. This story illustrates that:

I recently began reading Jane Eyre on my kindle. Since it’s past copyright, it’s totally free to read online. I’m really enjoying it so far! I thought to myself “wouldn’t it be nice to have a physical copy of the book?” so I hopped on Amazon and started searching for the cheapest paperback I could find. Then I realized, I should try to buy used from Thriftbooks. It would be cheaper and better to buy used. Then like 2 minutes later, I had EIGHT books in my cart, totaling $30. This is why I LOVE Thriftbooks! Then I had an epiphany – I wasn’t going to re-read Jane Eyre when I finished it because I have yet to reread a single book ever. Thus, I really didn’t need to buy the book – I just wanted to read a physical copy. Which led me to my favorite place – the library. All roads lead to the library, DUH. So I rented Jane Eyre from the library. 

Yes, that story was long winded. Yes, the moral of the story is unclear, but luckily I’ll tell you right now. I went through a thought process – I started with the most costly and least environmentally friendly option – Amazon. Then I challenged that thought and ended up with a more cost effective (if I didn’t end up buying $30 worth of books) and more environmentally friendly option – Thriftbooks. Lastly, I realized I just wanted the experience of reading a physical book, so I reoriented accordingly. The local library was the perfect solution – free and environmentally friendly. The only real impact is the gas it takes me to drive the 3 miles to the library and back which is like ⅛ of a gallon of gas. 

This isn’t a big thing like installing solar panels on my house, but it’s a thing. And that’s what matters. I’m proud of myself for making a good decision. When forming habits, the last step is the reward. Your reward could be anything – right now, I’m rewarding myself by congratulating myself. 

I don’t want to seem too self-congratulatory; I just want to share my process in trying to live more sustainably which often means resetting my habits.

What I’m Thinking about Going Forward

Soon, I’ll be buying a lot of things as I move into college. I’ll have to think very critically about how I can be intentional about my purchases – buying used when it makes sense. I’m also planning on being more aggressive about my possessions when I go to college, trying to pare down my belongings. 

I do think I should reduce my Starbucks iced coffee consumption. I do love getting my iced coffee out – I just can’t get the same caffeine content at home. I think I’m going to start going to Caffe Nero instead since they take reusable cups. 

Progress is Progress. I’d love to hear in the comments what you’ve made (in any part of your life)!

Be well. 



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