Tagshopping ban

Shopping Ban: The End

Student Loan Owing, as of this writing: $347.14

My shopping ban is over, even if my student loan is not completely paid off. I don’t plan on spending a lot this month, though I have a few exceptions. I want to treat myself to some Beyoncé merchandise at her concert on the 20th, purchase Lemonade, and today Brandon and I will be going to Goodwill. We both need jeans, and I need a spring/summer jacket. I’ll be giving myself a budget of $150, mainly because I know the concert items will be over-priced. This all depends on if I actually want anything they have available, but it’s nice to know I have the money if needed.

Looking back at my spending habits over the last three months, I definitely spent a lot on food and experiences. Very minimal “stuff” purchases, and only when I needed something replaced. The clothing swap held at the store last month was good to me. I ended up with an armload of new clothes, and have been adding those in to circulation over the past few weeks. This gave me the added benefit of getting new things, for no money. Of course, I didn’t hold the swap just for me. A lot of people found things, and the rest went to charity.

When I began the shopping ban, my loan was at $1,180.94. This means I’ve been able to pay off $833.80 over the past three months!

Working this contract means I’ve been able to put that money towards my debt, and will be paying off the last bit over the next month. Even though the job wrapped up last week, I will continue to put $15 towards the debt every week. My next $200 automatic payment will be taken out by June 3, by which time I will be left with less than $100 to finish the whole thing off. $87.14 to be exact! I will make that final payment before Friday, June 10 AND THEN I WILL BE DONE.

Big thanks to everyone who has been supportive through this process. My next contract, I hope to start putting money towards savings(and my Mastercard), but at least I will have gotten this stress off my plate.

If you’ve been thinking about starting your own shopping ban, it’s a lot easier than you would think. I found that having one specific goal really helped. It kept me focused, knowing I was crushing my debt. It can be hard to see the mountain of debt getting smaller, and writing these posts was helpful when I needed to look back and see how I started. Removing temptation is a big one. For the last two months, I’ve been working beside a mall. The temptation to go and just “walk around” was big, but I only went when I needed something specific(ie. The leggings, because my former black pair had fallen apart). Otherwise, I ate lunch at my desk, and caught up on some books and podcasts I hadn’t had time for previously. It was nice, relaxing, and best of all, free.

My Shopping Ban: 6 More Weeks

As of this writing, my loan is at $620.65.

Hard to believe this weight will be gone from my life in 6-7 weeks. I looked it up and I will have had this loan for 7 years and 7 months by the end. Silver lining? Shorter than I thought. I had always rounded up the time to 8 or 9 years. It really does feel like I’ve been paying it off so much longer. Now that I’m so close to the end, there’s a part of me that just wants to fall off the wagon. Who am I if I’m not paying student loans? Who am I when I don’t have debt one day? I’m weirdly uncomfortable with those thoughts.

My mixture of financial feelings are as follows:

1) The overwhelming sense of freedom. I’ll have $200 extra dollars a month! I can go places and do things with all the extra money!

2) The crushing realization that I still have to dig myself out of the hole I’ve put myself in. I have barely any savings after putting everything into the store, and haven’t been making a lot of money over the past year.

The happy medium? I’m going to keep getting contract work as often as I can. I’m going to continue paying my credit card off, but not as hard and fast as I am with the student loan. I am going to add to my savings and when I have reached a comfortable place, then I can hammer down my credit card debt.

In between all that, I want to have fun with my friends. Go out to dinner, see movies, go for small trips. Since I’ll be more relaxed about paying off my credit card(it’s not too bad, only about $1300 owing on it), I’ll create new goals to keep myself motivated. My next goal after June is too see if I can save $1000 by the end of September.

Do you have a summer financial goal? Leave a comment below, or find me on Twitter.

My Shopping Ban: Two Months In

Current amount owing, as of this writing: $634.84

I was looking back at my earlier posts for reference, and apparently, I’ve been attempting this ban for two months now. With the exception of Beyoncé tickets and the occasional lunch out with a friend, I’ve been sticking to my list. I haven’t bought new clothes, nail polish, or any comics. I have, however, seen a few friends for lunch or dinner, which is breaking a rule I made for myself.

I’ve been picking away at my reading pile when I have the time, but mainly have been keeping up with the weekly comics for the store. My excuse is my schedule. Having two jobs doesn’t leave a lot of time to clean the apartment or cook dinner for anyone (I do realize this stressor was another one of my rules).

Been sticking to my payment plan ($15 a week, on top of the $200 going out every month), and paying this off within two months seems very workable. I’ve even come up with a reward for myself. Because I can’t be that responsible. In June, after the loan has been paid off, I will give myself a budget of $200 of “fun money”. I don’t have to spend all of it, but I do have to have some fun with it. There are some places I’d like to go with friends, or perhaps I will buy myself new clothing, or take Brandon out for date night.

One thing I did change my mind on is a haircut. It’s been two months since I wrote I didn’t mind it too much, but I’ve gotten to the point where I need need need a haircut. I’m growing out my hair to my natural colour, so I’ll be saving money by not dyeing it – but I need to lose an inch or two and put some style back into it.

My Shopping Ban: Creating a Plan

Since I last wrote about my ban and student loans, I’ve since acquired a job, both dealt with and removed stress from different areas of my life, and am in a better place emotionally.

I spent some time one evening plotting out a payment plan to squash my student loan once and for all. Since I am being paid weekly, I will be taking out $15 of each paycheque and put it towards the debt. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is over and above the $200 I already have going out at the end of the month, so it adds up over time. My final $200 will be taken out of my account at the end of May, and I will pay the remainder (I’m estimating it to be around $100) that week. My personal deadline will be Friday, June 10, to send off my final payment.

It feels unreal to be this close. I grow impatient and want to pay it all LIKE RIGHT NOW, but I don’t have the money like right now. This way, I can pay it off and still grow the cushion back in my main bank account. I’m hoping with this job, I can put a bit into savings as well.


I’m getting time before the busy season to catch up on some reading in my lunch hours, which has been a nice treat. In the last week, I’ve read Letter 44 Vol 3, Astro City Vol 1, and am currently halfway through Civil War.

Letter 44 has been amazing, and I’m crushed we’re sold out of the single issues in store because I really really want to keep reading, but will *hmph* patiently wait for the next collection.

Astro City is kind of interesting. I may check out volume 2 to see if it’s enough to keep my reading.

And Civil War is making a bunch of stories I know make a bit more sense, so while it’s not great, it’s filling in a bit more of the timeline for me.

Otherwise, I’m reading Watchmen for book club, and it’s to be expected. I find it offensive, and boring, so congrats on doing that, writer dude.

Borrowed The Best Laid Plans (which won Canada Reads a few years back) from my dad, and I’m enjoying it enough.

Generation X is on the bottom of my bedside table book pile. Does that book make sense to anyone else? I’m thinking it didn’t age well.

My Shopping Ban: Making Sacrifices

Why does feeling good never last?

As much as I’d like to continue celebrating my student loan getting smaller and smaller, my income is also getting smaller and smaller. I’m going to have to make some tough choices very, very soon, and I’m extremely stressed out by that (and everything else). Yes, once the debt is gone, I will have more freedom with my money, but I’m not making a lot right now and most days, it doesn’t feel like it will be enough to get by.

I’ve signed up with four different temp agencies, but am also starting to think I should be seeking a permanent position as well. The store is where I want to be, but it can’t offer me stable income and health benefits like a lot of other places. On top of that, Alberta’s unemployment rate is higher, so I feel as if I’m stealing a job from someone who needs it more because I, technically, already have a job. I hate everything about this situation, and even though I’ve sent out a bunch of resumes, I feel powerless.

Brandon and I are trying to figure out what we can cut from our expenses. Since we don’t go out much anyway, it will have to be things that we usually consider “necessities”. I’m going to look into downgrading our cell phone plan, and cutting even further back with groceries. Selling some of our things will probably be next. I will keep looking for a job. He is too, but I feel his focus should be the store. It’s his dream, and as far as I’m concerned, his store. He is the reason it exists. I hope I can get a job and support our family, so he can focus on making the store as wonderful as I know it can be.

Danica LeBlanc // Twitter

My Shopping Ban – Under $1000!

So February was a great month for paying off debt. Not a great month for earning money, but I managed.

I’m officially signed up with two temp agencies, so hopefully I will pick up a contract every so often and be able to save some money after I’ve paid off my student loan. At the end of last month, my loan is down to $885.65 owing. With my current monthly payments of $200, I can have that paid off by July. With my shopping ban, and depending on whether I find any admin work, I’d like to pay that off as quickly as I can. Say, by the end of my shopping ban? Paying that off in only two months may be a lofty goal, but I always like to aim a bit higher than I truly think I can manage.

February knocked $300 off my loan, and I’m very happy about that. March will likely only be $200 – again, more money is dependent on if I am earning some side income from the store.

Don’t have much to report elsewhere regarding the ban. Haven’t been anywhere besides the grocery store and work, so no temptations. I’ve been invited out to some things that I won’t be going to, but usually the invite is a frugal event anyway. Mainly the cost of healthy snacks, and I don’t count food as a frill.

Save well, friends!

My Shopping Ban: Side Income

I’ve signed up with a couple temp agencies again.

This is not a decision I dreaded, and while it is for the main goal of making money, I’m happy to have some different experiences in the future(and use my substantial background in office administration again). I’m hoping to pick up something quickly, and can focus on putting aside some of my paycheques towards my debt.

In case anyone is worried I will be leaving the store – when working under a contract, I still plan to work at Variant Wednesday evenings and weekends, and any events that Brandon and I would usually be hosting.

This side income will help in the short-term(paying off debt, having money for rent and bills), and long-term(hopefully going away for a few days for our second anniversary). This will also help the store, as what would be my paycheque can be re-invested in merchandise or advertising.


In other news, decluttering is still going well. I’m keeping a few things in our storage room for the swap at the store in April, so that’s in a bit of a holding pattern. I know it’s going, so it doesn’t bug me so much. At least there is less in the living room.

Brandon and I are holding to our goal of only owning books that fit in our white shelving unit, even with the new books we traded for a few weeks ago. There will be a more books going this year as they’re borrowed, and we will continue to declutter books and movies as we experience them and make the decision whether to keep or not. Some things honestly only need to be experienced once, and that’s okay.

My Shopping Ban: Galentine’s Day

After my lapse into spending immediately after starting my ban, I’ve been pretty good.

Brandon and I have been making more attempts to view the movies we own, and we’ve turned a shelf into its own little “To Read” pile, so we know where to focus our efforts. We even took three boxes of books to trade at Wee Book Inn on Saturday. I’m still pushing him to go through his clothes, but that may take some time. As for my own closet, I have two cloth bags on the floor in there and am slowly filling them up. I’m planning to host another clothing swap at the store in April, so am using the time to really figure out what I don’t wear anymore.

Saturday was a fun day filled with friends and great conversation. I was working, but happy to see everyone come to the store. My friend Leah came by near the end of my shift and I invited her over for tea. She was game to go with Brandon and I to Wee Book Inn, and then back to our place where we watched old Sex and the City episodes(a Galentine’s Day fave!). Wee Book was a success – Brandon and I both acquired 3 new books, some store credit, and also a movie and television series. And now I have one less box of books in the apartment! Progress!

Books books books

I’ve been cleaning and tidying often, trying to get things out or at least pick things to go in the swap. Two months isn’t so far away, so after April, the apartment will feel more open and spacious.

As for my student loan? I’ve put $100 from the side income I made last week in and my normal withdrawal of $200 will go out at the end of the this month. That will put the amount owed under $1000!!!

My Shopping Ban: Surprise Expenses

When I wrote my shopping ban post last week, Beyoncè hadn’t released her new song yet. She hadn’t announced her world tour. Edmonton wasn’t one of only two Canadian tour dates, and I hadn’t worked myself up into a tizzy about going to what will be an amazing experience in May.




So I skip the haircut and dye I was hoping to book until after the ban is up. Cool. I’m trying to grow my hair longer anyway. And I now realize it looks cute in a bun, so I can put it back any time I think I look like a shaggy dog.  IMG_0870
My standard withdrawal of $200 went out of my bank account last week, so this doesn’t affect February, it may affect the tail end of paying off the loan. I’ve been earning a bit of side money this week(around $250), but will wait to figure out by the end of the month whether to throw it at the loan or use it for my main expenses.

Let’s Start A Shopping Ban!

Aware that it is nearly mid-February, I’m putting myself on a shopping ban. (Basically, don’t wait until the 1st of a month to start something – or worse, NEXT January 1st) My end date is currently May 1, but I will readdress that date near the end of April.

My reason for this ban? I’m so close to paying off my student loans. Only around $1200. That’s both a lot of money, because I’m not making a lot of income right now, and barely anything at all, because that number was so much higher for the past 8 years or so I’ve been paying it off. I’m avoiding calculating how much I’ve paid in interest because it is likely a depressing number.

So this is me, being accountable to everyone who reads this.

I pledge:

– not to buy any new clothes – not even ModCloth when they have sales – not even Goodwill for a little “treat”

– not to buy any new nail polish(my go to purchase when I’ve had a bad day). I will use the colours I currently own.

– not to buy my comics from work – this will unfortunately mean creating a stack at the store for myself, but while the single issues will be fine to wait on, I will make a list of collections I want to possibly purchase later in the year. I’ve been more or less doing this already, but now I’m a bit stricter with myself.

– to declutter and purge any items I’m not using – I’m planning to host another clothing swap at Variant Edition in probably April, so will keep some things I plan to donate until then

– to have friends over for tea, conversation, and Netflix if we so desire, and generally attempt free experiences

–  to not worry about what the apartment looks like when said friends do come over – not technically part of the ban, but it is something I need to work on

– to make myself a reading pile to pick through so I can return the books I’ve borrowed from my parents sooner, and donate books I feel only need one read to the free little libraries around the neighbourhood

On or around May 1, I will check into how much left I owe, and consider whether or not I will extend the shopping ban. Once my student loan is paid off, I’ll go full force into paying down my credit card, but right now, I want this to be my main focus. I want to be able to celebrate this milestone in 2016, and then move onto to my next hurdle.

I want to thank my friends for being kind and understanding when I turned down their invites to events because I couldn’t afford it. I appreciate you, and hope we can spend some money-free time together this spring.

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