Is this a milennial thing? The idea that one should have a life list on which to work over a set period of time? A 30 before 30? or a 101 in 1001? I have neither of those going right now, but both intrigue me.
Having (somewhat successfully) finished the 60 Days of Letter Writing Challenge, I decided to tackle something new. Something completely unrelated, unless you think back to my word of the year. Celebrate.
The 60 Days of Letter Writing Challenge got me to celebrate the people in my life who I love. It got me to thank those people who never get a thank you. Those people are usually the most deserving anyway.
This idea is more about celebrating what I already have. Celebrating what I don’t need? Is that a thing? I’ve seen similar ideas on several blogs recently (here’s one, and here’s another), and I’m jumping in, feet first.
I gave up shopping for 3 months. Today is the last day of my self-imposed credit card freeze.
*Okay, actually, I caved last weekend because I had a completely unexpected hour and a half to kill in a town that wasn’t my own, and I found myself at the mall and called this thing done. You can stop reading now if you think I’m a big phoney.*
Yeah, I needed to. Not because I needed to spend less money but because I could spend less money. Because someone with my amount of clothes should not be in want.
Why 3 months? Don’t people like to challenge themselves to do things for just one month at a time? Sure they do. Or two, like in the case of my letter writing challenge. But I don’t shop enough for a one month break to make sense. At least I don’t think I do. One month would mean putting off a couple of things, and rushing into buying them in a couple of weeks when the challenge is over. This needed to happen for three months. Long enough to make a difference. Long enough for me to have some moments where I think I’ll die without a new _________, and long enough for me to realize I’m fine without it after all. This, the most gorgeous navy bag of all time ever, remained a will-power tester for the duration of my little experiment.
Some (completely arbitrary) rules:
- Nothing got placed in an online shopping cart for later – one of my old rules of shopping was that when I saw something I liked, but wasn’t sure if I needed, I would put it in my cart and see whether I remembered it was there in a day or two. Things I remembered = things I needed, and they got purchased. This seems a little ridiculous. In light of my 3-month rule it also seems a little dangerous. There are a lot of items that could sit around, waiting for me, no doubt calling my name once three months went by. The last thing I want is a post-shopping-ban-spree that undoes what the past 3 months built up for me.
- Starbucks purchases did not count – Yeah, maybe it’s a cop-out. All I know is that last year, I gave up Starbucks for Lent. It wasn’t the holiest of choices, especially considering I was doing it solely to break my addiction. It was, however, the first time in a long time I kept my Lenten vow. And it was the most miserable failure in that it taught me nothing in the long run. I wanted Starbucks more than I thought possible by that last day. I didn’t stop missing it. I missed it more. It’s safe to say that as long as I have to be at work by 7:30 each morning, you’ll find me in line for a green cup first.
- iTunes and Kindle purchases totally counted – Which is maybe just my way to make up for the above. But no renting movies, and no downloading new songs. For the past three months, you could find me waiting for things to come out on Netflix, and praying that the radio started blasting the newest jams on the regular. In fact, I’m still waiting for the DC Library to wise up and finally add Tsh’s new book to their collection because I’m dying to read it.
- I could (and should) totally still buy things for other people - This could be a post in and of itself, but I’ve realized I have almost never regretted spending money on others. I have almost never even thought twice about it. I revel in giving gifts that mean something to those who receive them, especially those that don’t come on birthdays or other big occasions. I love surprising people in this way. Also I had a Bat Mitzvah, a bridal shower, and a baby shower to go to in this little three-month window, so there you go.
And that’s it. During month one, the credit card bill was lower, but not dramatically so. Month two was remarkable in that I did not know my husband and I were capable of spending so little. And month three is currently full of hotel reservations for our big summer trip. I shudder to think how much higher it would be had I been on my usual spending tear.