April is here so the first quarter of my year long shopping ban is in the books! To be honest, I didn’t know when I started how it would be or if I would be able to make it a week. Like any goal, its easier to break it down into pieces and take it one day at a time. One week was easy, then a month went by and I was still on track and now a whole quarter of a year has passed and I feel pretty confident I can go the distance. My finances are looking pretty good which is also motivating me to work even harder next quarter.
When my son reaches for something my daughter immediately wants it. Whatever it was could have been sitting there for DAYS waiting for someone to play with it. This thing was completely unappealing to her until he picks it up. Now that I’m not shopping I realize that it isn’t just kids that do this. I’m equally guilty and so I decided to do a little research to see why.
Turns out “mimetic desire” is a real thing and it isn’t just jealousy. When people see someone “value” something it triggers something in their brain to value it more than they did before they saw another person with it. I am 100% guilty of this. In the past I would see someone wearing something I liked my old response would to buy it online a few minutes later. This quarter, I have learned how to give someone a compliment on their amazing sense of style and walk away.
To see how I did I went to my budgeting system that tracks my spending. If you aren’t using any tools to track your accounts it is a good way to stay in control of your spending. Otherwise a few dollars here and there don’t seem that important. Taking a birds eye view of your accounts will help you see where you are spending the most money. Some categories might be obvious like mortgage/rent or child care. Others may surprise you like parking tickets or fees on your credit cards that you might not notice adding up. My budgeting checklist is helpful too if you want to start setting a budget and reducing spending in areas that don’t make you all that happy in the first place.
The system I use allows me to select a specific date range and account to review when I need to. I pulled the first quarter from my checking account and looked at the “shopping” category to see how it is going. I remember these purchases well. Socks are my dogs favorite chew toys and I had none to wear with boots this winter. I got a pack of three at Marshalls that I plan to make last. No more being careless about putting my clothes away. I can’t afford to replace everything that gets chewed up anymore. That’s a waste of money and also completely avoidable.
The next was a makeup “mini” haul at the MAC during a layover at the Charlotte Airport. Old habits are hard to break and buying makeup on business trips is my jam. After getting rid of so much of my stash last month, I hope this is the last time I buy makeup that I don’t need because it fits in my carry on nicely.
It’s fun, you’ll see!
My favorite thing that happened this quarter was at work but it had nothing to do with my job. I brought in the items that I didn’t want so my co-workers could give them good new homes. It felt great to get rid of things and make some other people I care about happy in the process. It was really great when two of them decided to bring in some of their old clothes in to do the same. I ended up scoring two new blouses and a pair of work out pants. Good karma is something the world could use a little more of!
One quarter down, three to go
Spring is going to be a little more challenging because I live in New England and it is finally going to get warm again. Looking good is secondary to staying warm when the weather calls for “bomb cyclones”. However, big goals hardly ever come easy and I’m ready to put in another three months of hard work. I have a few small goals that I’d like to accomplish along the way and that should be enough to keep my financial goals in sight.
Have you started tracking your spending or considered a shopping “hiatus” yourself? Leave a comment below if you use a great tool that could help others (good karma)!
Also, if you would be interested in a mini-challenge group let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page!