Grab my notes from “The Year of Less” and see what Cait Flanders has to teach us about the blessing of living with less.
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A FEW THOUGHTS ON IMPULSE BUYING…
Ok, I admit it. I have a problem. I’m an impulse buyer.
Cute little throw pillow? Gotta have it.
Another comfy sweater jacket? Already in the cart.
Came here for groceries? Can’t wait for the candy aisle.
My closets are overflowing, we’re running low on storage space, yet I complain that all I do all day is clean my house. I spend so much time organizing my things, picking up toys, and folding clothes while thinking, we have too much stuff.
Yet, I buy more.
I especially get into this funk this time of year, right after our Christmas present haul and right before taxes are due.
I’m looking forward to spring cleaning, but seriously, how did we accumulate so much stuff?
THE YEAR OF LESS
Cait Flanders had some similar thoughts, but her experiment with her own year-long shopping ban was prompted by her own personal debt. I picked up “The Year of Less” thinking it would be a Marie Kondo type book of decluttering, but it was so much more than that — it was a memoir of how her previous victory over alcoholism only emerged in new destructive shopping habits. Throughout the book she learns how to deal with stress in ways that are healthier for her mind and body.
I learned a lot about myself through reading her story; she challenged me to think about the choices I make and set goals for what I want to do with my time and money.
When she realized how often she binge watched TV and mindlessly scrolled through social media, she began being creating better habits. She replaced her TV time with TED Talks, podcasts and audiobooks – something that she thought she didn’t have time for. If there was a documentary or movie she wanted to watch, she planned for it, instead of flipping through trying to find something to watch.
By the end of her year-long experiment, she learned to live on 51% of her income, saved 31% and spent 18% on travel that she thought she couldn’t afford.
I love the lessons she learned along her journey of buying less and being more intentional about her habits and lifestyle. An inspirational read with a lot of practical tips! Here are my favorite parts from the book:
MY NOTES FROM “THE YEAR OF LESS” BY CAIT FLANDERS
Why Do a Ban?
- Committing to slowing down
- Finding out what you really want, rather than acting on impulse
- Being a more mindful consumer
Things to Take a Break From
- Unhealthy food
- Clothes shopping
- Buying decorative items
- Purchasing things you already own
- Social media
Things to Replace Them With
- Exploring your city
- Cooking instead of eating out
Questions to Help Decide What to Keep
- Have you used this recently?
- Do you plan to use this soon?
- Are you really going to use it?
Tips for Shopping
- Only buy things when you need them, not because they’re on sale
- Carefully consider your purchases, don’t be impulsive
- Only buy books if you know you’ll read them right away
Cait’s 10 Tips for Creating Your Own Shopping Ban:
- Declutter your home: get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose in your life
- Take inventory: write down things you use the most in each room, don’t buy the top five items during the ban
- Write 3 lists:
- Essentials (can buy whenever you run out)
- Non-essentials (not allowed to buy during the ban)
- Approved shopping list (specifics you’re allowed to buy)
- Unsubscribe from all store newsletters/social media
- Set up shopping ban savings account: deposit certain amount each month from things you cut out
- Tell everyone you know: the more people you tell, the more likely you’ll stick to it
- Replace costly habits with free/cheap alternatives
- Pay attention to your triggers and change your reactions: replace bad habits with good habits
- Learn to live without: become more resourceful (borrow, fix, rent)
- Appreciate what you have: talk positively about the ban, stay mindful
Tips for Backsliding
- Be aware that small slips can turn into a downward spiral
- Don’t let one mistake ruin all your hard work — forgive yourself and move on
- Learn from your mistakes
- You can always return or cancel orders!
- Tell someone to help with accountability
Ways to Minimize Advertisements in Your Life
- Get rid of cable and use a streaming service
- Stop following retail on social media
- Unsubscribe from shopping emails
ORDER THE BOOK
To order your own copy of “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders, click here:
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For more posts on books I love, check out:
- The Best Books I Read in 2020
- Books I Read in 2019
- What I Learned About Being Present from “Meditation and Mindfulness”
- 15 Inspirational Stories of Women Who Lived With Intention
- What I Learned About Goal Setting from “Girl, Stop Apologizing”
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