Monday, October 17, 2016

Exercising Discipline: Buying Bans

Hey there everyone~

Today's topic is something I've been meaning to write about for a while: buying bans. What are they? Well, it's basically an exercise in discipline to prevent yourself from buying things for a determined reason or period of time. I chose the term 'buying ban' not because it is necessarily imposed by an outside force that forbids one from purchasing things, but because I like alliteration. Buying bans actually are often a personal choice made to curb spending at times when money is low or must be dedicated to other expenses.
Naturally, buying bans can be difficult for some people. Make-up, accessories, dresses...there are so many temptations! It's no wonder why some lolitas have trouble keeping their expenses in check. Still, budgeting is a skill everyone needs and part of it is having the discipline to make the right choices (i.e. paying your bills, taking care of your health, etc.) based on available income. Different people have different degrees of resistance to temptation-- that's why where some are able to stick to their promises of not buying anymore by sheer will, others make use of tools or techniques to remove themselves from risky scenarios where they might fall to the allure of a new print.

Personally, I have a bit of a wobbly will. Normally, I am very frugal, but lolita seems to be my weak spot. I am specially susceptible to my main piece wishlist items, as accessories and basics don't attract me as much. Since I hunt for specific prints that don't come up often, I tend to feel a sense of urgency when I see them. As a result, I'm very weak when the opportunity to get a rare dress arises because, well, it's rare to see it. But I, like anyone else, have to control my buying impulses. In order to do so, I've come up with the following three tricks:

1. Reduce Marketplace Browsing

In my early days as a lolita, I tended to check Lacemarket several times a day in search of pieces I was on the hunt for. I checked egl-comm sales, and a couple of Facebook communities throughout the day as well. As I got more and more wishlist items and funds ran lower, I reduced the search times to about twice a day. Then I discovered mbok, Yahoo!Japan auctions, and mercari. As a sea of more opportunities opened for me, my web browsing increased a lot--as did my purchases. With income lulls, I've learned to reduced the amount of times I browse these sites, if I browse them at all. It's been helpful, since I can't fixate on auctions I don't know exist!

2. Get out of Facebook groups or make an lolita account separate from your normal profile

Because I spend a substantial amount of time on Facebook usually, it was really easy for me to see the sales that popped up on my feed. I corrected this issue with facebook settings so the notifications didn't show for me, but ultimately, I decided to exit the facebook groups altogether to avoid the temptation of checking them when on FB. When I had spending money again, I made a different facebook specifically for lolita and joined them again. I check it once in a while and the exposure to new listings is more controlled that way.

3. Use a site blocking app

When I resolved to not buy absolutely anything at all, I felt that the only way to diminish temptation was to somehow prevent myself from visiting sites at all. If I couldn't have access to them, I couldn't be as tempted. That's how I got BlockSite, a chrome extension for my computer that blocks chosen websites generally or on a timed basis. I rounded up the places I browsed most, and even some less often visited websites from my Where to Buy Lolita list, and blocked them all. For added bonus points, I also set the extension so that, every time I tried to visit the sites, it'd redirect me to my bank's website. It was a very clear reminder that I shouldn't be browsing for stuff to buy when I didn't have the money to.
In order for these strategies to work you still need to have some degree of discipline, of course. A site blocker is no good if you turn it off, for example. But these tools made it easier for me to avoid ill-timed or impulse purchases. There was a noticeable difference in my use of time, web browsing habits, and purchasing habits when I used all these in conjunction. It takes discipline to maintain a promise to yourself, and this is no different!

Do you struggle with buying bans? If so, what steps do you take to make sure you stay true to your promise? Let's exchange tips in the comments below~

Keiko out!

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