Okay so I might have been a little ambitious when I said that I would write daily. Let’s settle on a couple of times a week. So I’ve thrown myself in headfirst to this shopping diet thing. As per usual, I’m all in, I’m just hoping this one lasts. The first thing I’ve decided to do is what any history graduate would do, research.
Almost fell at the first hurdle
So I decided that I was steadfast in my mission. I was going to stop spending money on clothes and meaningless crap and NOTHING would get in my way. I was a woman with an iron will. A woman on a mission. Now, to get organized I thought, “Hmmm, I should really buy myself a journal and some books to help with my research and organizing my budget”. WARNING BELLS. Can you believe my first thought was to start my spending diet I needed to buy something? Wow. If that didn’t clearly show how ingrained shopping is in my little brain then I don’t know what does. You’ll be glad to know that I didn’t buy a new notebook (even though I really wanted one to totally look the part) and instead went into the basement and found a notebook that had only one page written on (ironically, it was a budget). Yup, that would do. Now for the books, I couldn’t buy a new book because that went against my main principle. I then remembered my audible subscription I forgot to cancel (whoops), and promptly began searching for anything that could help with my shopping diet. I had 2 credits remaining so I knew I had to make a good decision.
Looking to others for help
It might seem so simple, just stop bloody spending. But honestly, I don’t even know I’m doing it. It’s a habit, like mindlessly lighting a cigarette or shoving another fistful of grated cheese into one’s mouth as you stare into the fridge deciding on a healthy meal to eat (I Know it’s not just me). I felt kind of overwhelmed so I wanted to see what others have done in my situation. It is hardly surprising that there are MANY books about shopping addictions, minimalism and whatnot. The pressure to keep up with the Jones’ is crippling in our world of perfectly curated Instagram posts. I was happy to discover a couple of books about not spending anything other than the bare essentials and I narrowed my choice down to two; ‘The No Spend Year’ by Michelle McGogh and ‘The Year of Less’ by Cait Flanders. You can check them out here (Note this link is my Amazon affliate program and I make a small commission. In this spirit of the spending diet, I’m posting this for people who might have audible credits so they’re not spending more).
So I greedily listened to each book over the past few days while I walked the dog and drove to get the kids from various things. As the words washed over me I felt a weird comfort in the fact that I’m not alone. Now these two books are pretty extreme. The authors were VERY literal about not spending and they did it for a year. You might think me whimpy for not committing myself to a year, but I don’t want to set myself up to fail. In the immortal words of Madonna, I am a material girl and I live in a material world. I like looking put together so slapping banana in my face instead of moisturizer (yup that as a story from ‘The No Spend Year’) is not going to spark joy. I won’t be able to do it. I also have 3 kids so realistically I simply cannot spending nothing. However, I can agree to not spend anything on myself that is not TOTALLY necessary (here’s looking at you new jeans and yet another pair of tan boots). Whilst I am not as extreme as these two brave ladies, their stories none the less inspired me and gave me a place to start and a little roadmap to living with less. Both talked about the importance of pairing back, purging and letting go of guilt. They spoke to confronting your finances instead of hiding from them and learning those shopping triggers. Both also made it glaringly obvious that to be successful, I have to genuinely change the way I perceive myself. It’s going to be hard but I’m going to do it. So, here’s the loose plan I have while I begin my diet.
You Gotta Start Somewhere
- Be honest. I’m going to have to face the music. I’m going to look through my bank statements and see where I am spending my money needlessly (I already know that a store that rhymes with mould gravy).
- The purge. My husband is going to go bananas but I have to start going through my things and loosening my attachement to the material. That means that my “someday” clothes have to go as do those disgusting practical walking shoes I bought when I was in my outdoorsy stage. I can’t start my shopping diet until I see what I’ve got, have it pass through my hands and see where my hard earned money has gone. I have a feeling seeing the black bags that represent thousands of dollars of waste might be sobering.
- Seek help. I’m going to tell my husband about my plan. He needs to be on board and to hold me accountable. Something tells me he wont fight me on it.
- Make a list of everything I NEED this month (apart from bills etc) and prioritize. I know that there will be expenses this month (thank you Canadian winters and kids growing feet).
- Give myself a talking to. I am enough, I have enough. That is my mantra. I’m not a hippy, meditating type of gal but I do genuinely believe that I need to change my mindset and unpack the reasons why I feel the need to spend excessively.
So there you have it, the start of my journey. It has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start but I think that things can only go up from here! Let me know in the comments if you’ve got any good recommendations for books, blogs or podcasts to help with my shopping diet.