Have you ever read the book series about this completely posh chic in the UK who might just have a teensy little issue with spending? Yeah, you know the one, they are funny, and easy to read, and pure enjoyment. They also leave you feeling pretty darn good about your own habits; telling yourself “I’m not a shopaholic because…”.
Well, kids, this isn’t that story, and I’m not that posh. The truth is that more than once in my early twenties, my parents bailed-me-out of debt. It wasn’t some life-changing amount, but it was significant and life-changing for me. At the time I learned pretty much nothing, except maybe how to better hide my poor spending choices, but as I’ve grown older I’ve seen how those poor spending choices have stayed floating just out of my reach; always in my peripheral vision. Ugh, what a pain in my butt! It’s especially bad because it’s not at all how my parents raised me. They were fantastic with money, and my parent’s great habits were taught to me; I just didn’t catch-on the way I should have.
Last year I took the plunge at acknowledging my problem with ED (“Eating Disorder”), and also with depression. Neither of those conversations with my husband, kids, or especially myself were easy to be present and come to terms with, yet I somehow managed to wade through the waters of uncertainty, work through all the B.S. excuses I had created as “it isn’t me”, and get the help I needed. This whole last year has been all about ME, and my getting better.
I have officially been ‘recovered’ now for a handful of months, and even better I’ve passed that year mark of taking that first step. Now, I know that a year is practically unheard of in recovery for ED, but I’m not like most people. When I have committed to something, I put my head down, follow whatever rules are given and just do it. In this case it worked out very much in the positive, but I also don’t want anyone else who is still in that journey to judge my progress and my timeline against their own. Not one of us has the exact same problems, the exact same things to overcome, and the exact same way to overcome ED, so just don’t go there.
Unfortunately, when you take away something as big as ED, you’re left with other things you start to notice about yourself. For me, that was identifying areas I could use some personal growth. What I identified was as follows:
- I am a terrible people-person. I’m great at faking being an extroverted people-loving, party attender, but the reality is I’m a curmudgeon. Not the cute old man kind either, more like the striped sock under a house type. I’ll talk about this more in a future post, but trust me I’m not ignoring it.
- I am a shopaholic. There I said it. It doesn’t feel good to admit this because I’ve been insisting for my entire life that I was, in fact, NOT a shopaholic, and yet here we are. I spend too much on things that bring me only momentary joy. The question is WHY?
So, yes there are many more areas of self-improvement that could be tackled, but I’m a realist, so I choose to pick the two most impactful at any given time to work on. At this point, it’s my inability to be light and sweet, like a light to a moth, and my clear use of retail as therapy. They also seem to fit hand-in-hand, I just haven’t quite figured out why or how. I’m a work in progress, what can I say?
This brings me to the purpose of this post, and many more going forward. Prepare to spend the next year reading about my screw-ups, my humorous f-ups because, folks, I’m entering a spending ban! (In my head I hear a large booming echo of a voice saying that, but it’s much less exciting in type)
What, you ask, is a spending ban? Well, it’s the way I’m going to tackle my need to use shopping and spending as a means of feeling good. I figure, if I can tackle ED, then surely I can do this? Will it be pretty, doubtful. Will I succeed? You bet your pretty little rear (or big ugly rear, pick the appropriate one here).
First some background on how I came to this decision, then I’ll cover my rules. I went on this incredible overnight Ladies Lake Retreat with my Rodan + Fields galpals this last weekend, and per the norm lately, everyone was talking about my girl Rachel Hollis. I mean, who isn’t these days, right? Well, shocker of all shockers, I have not read her book, nor do I really know much about her. My assumption, based on what I could find, was that the book was religiously skewed, and so I immediate didn’t want to read it (again sorry but I have issues, surely you’ve figured that out by now), but then we all watched a 20 minute speaking event she did for R+F and I was really surprised by how much I like her. When I got home I decided to re-look at her book and see if maybe I was too quick to discount its value.
Well Amazon, you’ve done it again. I was offered 40% off a future purchase with my purchase of “Girl Wash Your Face” (by Rachel Hollis if you weren’t already aware), and so I went looking at what other books were available to use that credit on. In doing so, I ran across a book called “A Year of Less”, by Cait Flanders. It’s basically about a 20-something girl who finds that she’s made some major changes in her life, and yet isn’t finding the fulfillment she expected, so she decides to cut out spending. She creates rules (sound familiar?) and sticks to them for 1 year.
Needless to say, it has inspired me. Aren’t those the best types of unexpected plans, the inspired ones? So, without further adieu, I give you my year-long plan for a spending ban! Yes, I really just said I’m going to stop spending for a year, and yes, I’m a little baffled I’ve convinced myself to do this as well.
To reduce my spending, appreciate my life more, and focus on figuring out why I continue to seek a form of solace through a little plastic rectangle who’s name is credit, I have created a list of rules to base my spending around. (I’ll share below) I also decided to add one step of entertainment for you fine folks, and because accountability is the best first step of a plan, I will write about it along with my continued efforts at living life recovered from ED, and of course my pursuit to be less of a curmudgeon. Hopefully you all gain some amusement out of the next 12 months, because I have a feeling I’m going to have some interesting times ahead.
First, the rules…
The RULES (du, duh, dum)
- Groceries (only what’s on the list, no impulse buys)
- Animal care products (litter, food, treats, etc.)
- Business expenses needed to continue and grow my R+F business
- 1 meal out a week with my family/husband (must be under $40)
- Christmas gifts for agreed upon people
- Birthday gifts for agreed upon people
- Clothing that gets holes or too big to wear may be replaced, but no new clothing can be added without other clothing being donated or thrown out first, and Brad must approve
- Shoes may not be purchased unless it is to replace a pair (which is unlikely to be needed…I have a lot and they aren’t the cheapies either)
- 1 Bunco gift ($5-$10) and buy in of $5 is allowed per month – this is mommy’s sanity saver each month
- 1 book for book club is allowed per month if I first cannot acquire it through a free manner (such as the library)
- May eat out if someone else offers to take me out (my mom does this sometimes)
- May get my recovery tattoo that I designed (I’ve been waiting to get this for ages, so I’m really proud to get such a special reminder!) It’s tiny and will be about $60
- Animal ‘extras’ (new toys, beds, etc)
- Makeup or toiletries, unless I am replacing an item that has run out (this should amount to my Radiant Defense, my $5 mascara, and tampons mostly)
- No more breakfasts or lunches out (this makes up more than I probably want to admit, so I’m pretty pumped to see what kind of savings this creates as it is my biggest spending area)
- No more Starbucks…hold on I need a tissue for this one, seriously, please feel free to email me codes for Starbucks so I survive
- Any other meals out with friends not related to growing my business (business one’s are allowed so I don’t hinder it’s growth, but within reason)
- Extra’s for R+F that aren’t truly items I’m out of or needed.
- No more Amazon, Wish, or other random spending (this happens more than I’d like to admit)
- No more extra books because they sound interesting. I can read a book a day, but somehow I end up digitally collecting unread books anyway, and that has to stop.
- No more special snooty beer or wine. Brad requested this one because apparently I have expensive tastes and need to just be happy with Trader Joe’s 2 buck chuck wine and whatever beer he requests.
- No hair appointments, pedicures, or manicures out. I never do this, but seemed worthwhile to keep it honest just in case.
- No hair products, nail polish, or other items from Cosmoprof that aren’t totally gone at home. I may have a small problem when I enter that store.
So that’s it. THIS is going to be my challenge the next 12 months. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous and terrified I’m going to screw this up, but I want to understand why I’m spending money to fill the void of being okay and emotional. It’s important to understand myself fully, not just that I beat ED. Beating ED allowed me to recognize these other improvement areas, so now I can start tackling how to become the best me I can!
I hope you’ll join me on this hilarious roller-coaster that will be my life, and maybe you’ll also learn something about yourself you never knew. Like today, when I thought how nice it would be to get a new glass nail file because the handle part of mine was broken, only to click to open Amazon and end up having an entire conversation with myself that even though my account donates to a good cause doesn’t warrant me being allowed to spend because today is Day 1.
It’s day 1 people! It’s going to be a looonggg year. So here we go!
Money spent – $0
Money saved – $10, plus tax (said no to the nail file)
Emotions – mixed, not a great sign I had to talk myself out of spending on day 1. Also not sure why I felt I needed something I didn’t. I need to examine this further before I figure it out, but hey I stuck to it today, so that’s something!