Money Monday #2: I want it all & I want it now

Shopping Ban | No-Shopping Challenge | No Spend Challenge

On February 1, I began a 90-day shopping ban in the hopes of bringing more abundance into my life. I would restrict my spending to consumable items and reduce my spending on food and entertainment. The idea is to shift my mindset away from the things I don’t have and notice all the things that I do. Hence, the challenge’s official title (at least to me) - I Have More Than Enough Challenge.

Of course, learning to embody abundance is so much more than not shopping. But this is my first step, a habit breaker to wipe the slate clean.

I want it now

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I’m what Gretchen Rubin defines as an Under-buyer. Except for books and food, I don’t buy anything without having it in my virtual cart for months. I put a pillow on my Amazon wishlist in August of 2014. I didn’t get a new pillow until this summer. And I don’t like it. But I haven’t bought a replacement.

So it’s pretty shocking to me that each day of this challenge, I’ve thought of something I want to buy. None of it is necessary. Like a new necklace chain. I’ve been thinking of buying a new one for YEARS. I have multiple pendants that I rotate through and I thought it would be nice if I didn’t have to swap them out, using the one and only chain I own. Again, YEARS of thinking this. Now I feel like buying a new chain is urgent, like emergency status.

I’ve also had a desperate desire to buy perfume. I found one I liked a year ago and the sample ran out nine months ago. I’ve waited nine months, I can’t wait 90 more days?

What the hell is that about

That’s the million dollar question. I’m sure it’s partially my childhood.

There was a time when my parents would drive to downtown Council Bluffs late on Saturday nights to pick up the Sunday paper. Then Mom would go through all the ads and find the sales. Of course, she bought bulk so she could stock up when the prices were low.

As a kid, I thought this was cool. But once I grew up, I came to realized how important those sales were to keeping my family afloat. I now have this inner alarm that doesn’t let me buy things unless they are on sale.

But I also rebel when it comes to buying in bulk. Down deep, I want to think I don’t have to do this. That things “aren’t that bad”, so to speak. I also crave a space with less stuff shoved in every cabinet.

Of course, I end up not buying anything until I absolutely have to and then it definitely won’t be on sale.

And then there are the things and experiences that are little pleasures just for me. I feel guilty spending money on just me. I feel like there are more “important” places for my money.

It’s a big pile of emotional doo-doo that I need to do the hard work of shoveling myself out of.

Spending so far

I’ve already gone a bit over on my “household” spending. Of course, I ran out of mascara and eyebrow pencil two days into the challenge.

When it comes to makeup and the challenge, my rules are a bit flexible. I have three eyeshadow palettes, so until all are empty I won’t buy eye shadow. But I have one mascara and one eyebrow pencil. And they are the two things I wear almost every day. So those are allowed under rule #2 - If a non-consumable good requires replacement, it is replaced with a similar item. Although, I guess you could argue they are consumable.

During that particular run to Target (an agonizing experience) I also picked up a Valentine’s Day card for my niece and two LED light bulbs because my bedroom comfy chair lamp bulb burnt out. And honestly, for a week I moved the light bulb back and forth from the desk lamp to the comfy chair lamp. Sad, sad, sad.

As for my fun money, I have $65 set aside for the month of February.

  • I spent $30 on 3 advance tickets to Black Panther. Because I WILL see it on opening weekend. 
  • I've spent $25 eating out with friends. Although, in one case, I was left standing without a packed lunch when a lunch-date was rescheduled at the last minute. Learned a lesson there - always have a back-up lunch ready.

Not a lot left in my Fun Money account. My rule is up to $100 per month. But one-time expenses like car registrations can eat into that number. A higher than expected paycheck from my part-time gig could increase the number. We'll see how it all pans out.

As for food spending, my biggest weakness, I seem to have it reigned in. Since runs for random chai lattes or kombucha has to come from my Fun Money, I’ve kept myself under control. But man, I can’t believe how many days I’ve thought of stopping at Starbucks (like every day).

I’ve also stayed within my grocery budget, but I didn’t create a meal plan for last week. Which resulted in picking up food randomly at Trader Joe's. I knew I would be doing the weekly shopping there, but I’m not familiar enough with the offerings to be able to meal plan yet.

Going forward

This coming week I have one lunch out planned. I'm going to pack a lunch and just order a small cup of soup. I need to remember it's about the company and conversation, not the food.

I also have a meal plan in place for the week. And this plan was created with the express purpose of using as many of the foods we already have as possible. It's clean out the pantry week, y'all.

I'd love to know, have you ever done a shopping ban? What what the hardest thing for you? And what pieces of advice to you have?