The past week has really challenged my sense of “needs” vs. “wants”. It has already been nine days since I had decided to stop spending. The challenge? No purchases for thirty days. The verdict?
Well, I wish I could tell you all I have not made a single purchase. I would be lying. I have actually made 3 purchases. In nine days. While I didn’t follow through completely, so far I am overjoyed at my progress.
It didn’t help that my daughter had her birthday party this past weekend. So what were the three expenses?
1. I forgot I had promised the crowd sangria in the invitations. So as ridiculous as it sounds, one of my purchases was alcohol. $18.96
2. I also realized I had ordered balloons at the Dollar Tree for her birthday the week prior. Necessary? No. But I am glad I got them. $8.00
3. My daughter got sick so today I got some Popsicles and food for homemade chicken noodle soup. We had the chicken at home. $8.50
The first four days have been hard, but not impossible. One time as I drove by the bank I REALLY REALLY wanted a diet coke. I tried my best to ignore the McDonald’s to my right. I did, and was happy not to cave in.
I was really tempted yesterday to order Lillian some books for Easter. Good books I have been planning to order for some time now. Instead of ordering them, I decided to ask a friend to borrow them for the next month until I can buy my own. She was happy to let me borrow them.
My hair straightener broke on me. I cannot live without one (OK, total exaggeration). Once again, I borrowed one until I can save for one.
Overall I am super pleased with this personal challenge. It is getting easier and easier as the days go on. I think I figured out why.
I used use thrifting time as “me” time. I looked forward to thrifting and almost saw it as a fun way to pass some time. I have really had to re-evaluate my free time and fill it doing other things. Now, I attend work out classes. I have avoided all trips to the store except for the few, and for those I had a set list. I was in and out.
I love my free time. I use it to play with Lillian or spend time with my husband. I feel very free and happy. I even went through my closet and consigned some clothes and got an extra $20! I find myself less bogged down with clutter and my mind feels less stressed with unnecessary stress. Honestly, I feel totally content. I really think “stuff” can control our minds and emotions.
Why does “stuff” control so much of our lives? We live in a time and culture of abundance, and sometimes I think it is never enough. My desire is to take care of what I have and be mindful about purchases I make, not bring stuff into my home haphazardly and just collect clutter. It is such a battle I fight in my mind! The desire to beautify my home and life is not bad, but the way it sometimes consumes my mind and actions (and finances) can be bad.
I have learned the past nine days to wait. Yes, there are a few things I want. A hair straightener, for example. Instead of rushing out to buy one I asked my sister to borrow the one she hardly uses. I hate asking for help, but my sis was happy to help me in a pinch. If nothing else I have learned to put off a purchase, save for it, and ask for help.
I’m pushing on until thirty days is over.