It’s almost been a week since I decided to embark upon my shopping diet and I have to admit, it’s been a bit challenging to rewire my brain into new habits. However, I haven’t bought any clothes or cosmetics for myself. As I said at the start of this challenge, I can’t impose a complete shopping ban as I have a young family and the increasingly cold weather here in Canada means that children’s’ boots and mitts are on the horizon. What I am cutting out is the unnecessary spending. The little things that add up. A sweater on sale, a new lipstick when I pop into the pharmacy to pick up a prescription. These things are what I’m cutting to see if I can improve my finances and free myself from the endless wheel of consumerism that I can’t ever keep up with.
What I’ve achieved
Let’s start with the positive, here is what I’ve achieved so far.
- Unsubscribed from various mailing lists (I lost count at 30).
This has been really effective for me so far. I am aware somewhere in my mind that Old Navy is having a 40% off sale, but I am not being constantly reminded of it with 2000 emails a day telling me to act now or be an unfashionable loser who missed out on the deal of the century. Newsflash, there is ALWAYS a sale to be had.
- Started decluttering
This is the way I am facing my excess shopping. The books I’ve read have taught me that a very important step in stopping spending is to see exactly what you have
spentwasted your money on and to have a physical representation of the results of a shopping addiction. I can tell you that seeing things in a black bag, and then imagining money in that bag instead of goods its quite sobering. I started small with items that would be really easy to part with. I decided the plastic cup drawer would be a good place to start as I can’t shut the bloody thing without straws and lids jamming the runners. Armed with a black bag, I went about tossing anything that was a bit manky (that’s gross for my non-British readers). I kid you not, I had 37 cups in that drawer. Who needs 37 cups? Not this family of 5, especially as only 2/5 use the cups in the drawer. I narrowed it down to 15 cups, but I still think that there’s work to do. Why do I feel the need to have so much? Am I worried about some sort of cup shortage? A nuclear holocaust where we have to use plastic cups for some reason? I don’t know but I need to unpack this compulsion.
- Trimmed down on apps
With the help of a friend, I managed to get one app for my TV instead of the several I was using. I don’t have network TV and only stream using my firestick. A few years back my husband and I “cut the cable” to save money, but it seems that we have only ended up spending more as those naughty providers spread their shows across several apps. We spent a one time fee for the year, but ended up saving $50 a month on unnecessary apps so this should be a good saving. It is worth crunching the numbers to see if you actually are better off using streaming services rather than cable/satellite and really analyzing which apps you are and are not using.
What I struggled with
It is Canadian Thanksgiving so there have been a lot of sales. I’ve been sheltered from a lot due to not receiving emails anymore, but I have seen some advertised on my Facebook and Instagram which has been triggering. I am learning to scroll past those ads, but I have been tempted to run to the website and add to cart a few times. I am also struggling with small things that are habitual. I took my daughter to the pharmacy with me and we picked up some toothpaste. One for her older sister as she had run out and and then, unnecessarily, one for her because it was only $.99. I didn’t need to buy her ANOTHER toothpaste with several at home, but I mindlessly got it because I was buying one for her sister. I know it’s not a lot, but frittering my money away in my specialty so I know not to be tripped up by this again. I think that saying no to the kids and not buying little things will be the hardest part of the challenge when I initially thought that buying clothes would be.
What I’ve spent
There have been a few things I’ve needed to buy so far;
- Some 12-18 month old clothes for my growing boy and footed PJs for my daughters as their old ones have holes in that can’t be repaired (total spend of the clothes for kids – $142)
- Body cream for some dry skin I have ($10)
- Those two tubes of toothpaste ($3.99 + $.99)
- An audio book ($14.99)
I think that I could still do some work here. I wanted the audiobook to listen to on my walks and it is about an important topic that I need to know about right now, but maybe I could have waited until my Audible credits renew at the end of the month. I really did not need two tubes of toothpaste. I did well on the clothes and actually left a loooot of stuff behind that I thought was cute, but wasn’t practical.
So there you have my little update. I hope that it has inspired you to get started on a journey to jumping off the consumer train by taking little baby steps. Why not try decluttering a drawer? You’ll be surprised at where you can trim back when you’re confronted with 124 lightbulbs, 200 batteries, 35 plates, or a mountain of plastic cups!