Money | Better Alternatives to Spending Bans

January. It's the calm after the financial storm of Christmas and the Boxing Day sales, and the month where many of us, often inspired by new year's resolutions, put ourselves on spending bans. I personally have never liked the idea of a spending ban. It's - simply put - not fun, and it creates a feeling of punishment, which isn't a particularly positive vibe to be surrounding yourself with. So what are some good alternatives?

'Shop your stash'
I'm sure many of us, myself included, are guilty of forgetting half the stuff we already have in our wardrobe or make-up collection. Thus, setting aside a few hours one day to have a good look through everything can almost make you feel like you've just acquired a load of lovely new stuff without spending a penny! If you feel inspired by any hidden gems in your wardrobe, it's not a bad idea to make a few notes, just so you remember the new potential outfits you've discovered.
If when doing this you find anything you don't really like, or that don't fit anymore, you always have the option to sell such things online, earning you back a little cash in the process.

Get creative
This continues on from shopping your stash, if you're not keen on something you find ask yourself if there's anything you can do with it. If you're a bit crafty, maybe you can modify a piece of clothing to give it a new lease of life. More simply, is it a complete write-off or is there another piece of clothing you could pair it with to create a fashion dream team? As for make-up, remember you can mix a couple of similarly formulated liquid lipsticks together to make a new colour!

Have a wish list
And when I say this, I don't mean write down everything you might want, I mean write down all the things you really, really want. Aiming for a really concise wish list means you're properly thinking about whether you actually want those items or not. Then whenever you decide you deserve to treat yourself (and it's important that you decide this every now and again, even if it's for no particular reason at all!) you can cross something off your wish list, rather than making a questionable impulse purchase.

Spreadsheets are your saviour
It's important to know how much money is actually available for you to spend. I hugely advise regularly keeping track of your bank balance and any outgoings you have. I also have a system in place on my spreadsheet where at the end of each month, I set aside 15% of what's leftover from my monthly food budget and leave that money the hell alone. I'm not sure exactly what I'm saving all these 15%s for, but I'm sure that one day I'll thank my past self!

The 30-day method
This is generally used on more highly priced items, but it's up to you if and where you want to set that threshold. The 30-day method is simply waiting 30 days from deciding you want an item before actually buying it. This makes you think very clearly about the item. If you feel happy to wait for 30 days despite the risk it might sell out forever, you question whether you need it. If you feel happy to survive 30 days without the item, you question whether you need it. If you forget about it completely within those 30 days, then you really didn't need it after all.

I hope you enjoyed my post and found it helpful. What are your tips for spending money carefully? Let me know in the comments!

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