I am an emotional shopper. I know it, I try to control it. That’s why I was intrigued when Miss Fish posted on her blog about her annual post-holiday shopping embargo. When I posted on Twitter that I was thinking about joining in, I received some cheering-on, and so here I go.

I am very good about cleaning out and de-cluttering the house and getting rid of things we don’t use anymore, but I’m not so good at not bringing things into the house, especially since we had the baby. We want to impose the one in, one out rule, I want start the rule of four Christmas presents (something to wear, something to read, something she wants and something she needs). But first I need to re-jig my spending habits, and remind myself to take a step back sometimes.

So, the embargo:

Between January 2 and February 28, we will only purchase essential items for ourselves and for our family: groceries/consumables, gas, basic hygiene (shampoo, soap, but not cosmetics), medicine and essential clothing.

As Andrea is doing, we will continue to spend money on events which bring us joy, like tickets to movies, museums and shows – and hockey games. As she says, this is a ‘stop buying crap we don’t need’ embargo.

And so for the next two months I will consider the following questions before I get to the register:

  • Do I really need this? Or is it a want?
  • Do I already own something that could serve the same purpose?
  • Can I borrow one, find one used, or make one instead of buying new?
  • Was it made locally?
  • Was it made with environmentally preferable materials?
  • Was it made with fair labor practices?
  • Will it serve more than one purpose?
  • Is it made well enough to last a useful length of time?
  • Will it be easy and cost-effective to maintain?
  • Will using it require excessive energy?
  • Does it come in excessive packaging?
  • Can I recycle or compost it when I’m done with it?
  • If I’m still not sure, can I wait a month before deciding to buy it?
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