Perhaps it is just the time of year (Black Friday!, Christmas Shopping!!), but I have felt overwhelmed with the pressure to spend, all the while worried about having more financial freedom and security.I think many of us can learn a lot about ourselves when we examine our relationship to our finances, how we spend and save, and how we think about our money.
First of all, I want to say that I am incredibly blessed financially. My husband and I both work full-time, not super high paying jobs, but we do have all of our needs met and then some. We are slowly paying off on our house and car (those are the only big ticket items we have) —and we can meet our basic expenses month to month. We are so grateful and blessed. So why go on a spending fast?
- To reduce the amount of educational debt we have accrued getting our awesome graduate degrees.
- To become more aware of how I spend, and why. (Boredom? Keeping up with the Joneses? A false sense of security? Image?)
- To challenge myself to discover more ways to have fun with friends and family that do not involve spending money (i.e. simple pleasures!)
- To purposefully and actively take a stand against materialism, consumerism and waste.
- Finding freedom from the need to feel secure—based on the items that I own or buy.
So here is how the fast will look. The fast will start on December 1st and go through May 31st—and may continue longer. I didn’t want to set a goal that wasn’t feasible, and I feel that this will be.
What I will spend on:
- Car payments
- Loan payments
- Medical appointments
- Routine car maintenance
What I won’t spend $ on:
- Gifts (sorry ya’ll, it is a handmade and homemade Christmas—except hubby who was lucky that I purchased his gift a week ago!)
- Coffee/ Tea out (this will be one of the hardest. I frequent Cocoa Cinnamon, Bean Traders and Mad Hatter’s in Durham. This will require major willpower!)
- New Clothes. So long modcloth.com
- Etsy. I love to support handmade arts and crafts, these next 6 months I will be making my own!
- New makeup and toiletries ( I have noticed that I have a strange obsession with buying moisturizer, lip glosses, shampoos, etc.—even when I already have them. I currently own 6 facial moisturizers. No one needs 6 facial moisturizers!!)
- Manicure/ pedicure (I don’t do this often, but it won’t hurt me to take a 6 month break and use one of the many nail polishes I already own. See above).
- Fancy haircut—as I need to grow my hair out anyway, if anyone reading this in the Durham area know how to cute hair and would like to barter haircuts for yoga or baby-sitting let me know.
- Movies (we do have Netflix and the library—not to mention my latest favorite is “The Paradise”—and I can watch that on PBS online for free.)
- New music (another addiction…)
- Amazon purchases (Because I need to OWN that book has been stated way too many times.)
- Restaurants (AHHHHH!!!!! Like coffee shops above, this will be very difficult. Luckily I LOVE to cook, and know how to do so cheaply).
- Groupons (They just tempt me to buy things I don’t need).
- Whole Foods—Again, I am always tempted to buy more than what I need. Kroger and Trader Joe’s literally have everything I need.
- Fancy Expensive Fitness Classes. I have free memberships at 2 gyms in town, and free yoga as well. There is no reason I need to buy more. Much as I love the classes at the local Cycle/ Yoga Studio, this requires me to take a break—I hope to go back to them someday.
So there you have it, this is modeled somewhat after the inspiration I discovered at this blog: http://andthenwesaved.com/about-the-spending-fast/
I encourage you to check out what she has written. I plan to blog further on how the fast goes, what I discover and how I find ways to save (which I think will be mostly about NOT spending). I am declaring this publicly not only as a way of holding myself accountable, but also to garner support from friends and family. Thank you for supporting this effort, and comment below if you have any tips, ideas or suggestions!
I am eager to see what I learn not only about myself, but my relationship with money along the way.