Let’s Do This

magician illustration

How are things going? Are you doing a Spending Diet or Spending Fast this year, month, week, day? If so, how’s it going?

I’m feeling like a maniac with insatiable shopping desires lately. I look at magazines and see something I want, I watch TV and see something I need. It’s like I’m constantly being bombarded with consumerism and want and with doing more and getting more to achieve more and more and more. It’s easy for me to think that “if only I had this item or that thing everything would fall into place”. Gotta look the part, right? Gotta dress for the job I want and not the job I have, right? Gotta keep up with the Joneses, right?

In a way I feel like this is our way of life. It’s completely encouraged to consume and buy and be a hearty and wholesome contributer to society. Buy, buy, buy. It IS for the economy afterall.

Make more > to have more > to consume more > to prove that you have money and success!

Jackpot. Mission Complete.

With the Spending Fast I learned that having everything I wanted wasn’t really all it was cracked up to be. With the Spending Fast I learned that it was nice to be free from the gripes of consumerism and materialism. It was nice to not be thinking about things so much.

This year with the Spending Diet I’m trying to find balance between my wants and reality. Reality is that I can’t and shouldn’t buy (or even think about buying) every item that catches my eye. How do I do this? That’s really what I’m trying to figure out these days. I’ll have mainly good days and then I feel like I regress or something. It can be discouraging but I guess I figure I can basically begin anew the next minute and if all else fails, there’s always the “Returns” counter.

I tell ya what, there’s nothing quite like the quality of Buyer’s Remorse that comes after a year long Spending Fast.

It’s own breed of WHOA.

I don’t want to be struggling with wants and desires and spending and not spending. I want to be a natural saver. Someone who just doesn’t want to spend money. I wonder if I could get hypnotized to get that removed. Any hypnotists out there?

P.S. Ready to get out of debt ASAP? Check out the Spending Fast Bootcamp! SpendingFastBootcamp.com


8 thoughts on “Let’s Do This

  1. leanne

    This is my favorite quote about the Joneses, and I don't know who wrote, so I apologize for not giving credit where credit is due, but…

    Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses, knock them down to your level, it's cheaper!

  2. Hana

    This sounded very much like posts I've written in the past (http://www.sticksnstonesblog.com/2010/11/friday-bloody-friday.html). glad to know I'm not the only one who feels this way! One thing I've been doing lately is going online when I'm coveting clothes and putting absolutely everything I want in the cart and seeing how much it adds up to. Sometimes that is enough to deter me, sometimes it's not. Then, I slowly start the process of elimination and start deleting items I don't need. Once I have what I believe I can't live without in my cart, I close the lid to my laptop and revisit it the next day and see if I'm still feeling inclined to make that purchase. 9 times out of 10, I'm not. It helps keep my spending in check and gives me time to rethink what I absolutely need – which is new brakes for my stupid car :(

  3. laura

    If I'm honest I found it a lot easier to stop spending totally [when I was in debt] than I find it now, when I'm trying to find balance.

    The system that works best for me is to use percentages, so as long as we're saving x amount of money then the surplus is for buying needs and the occasional want. It's a gradual process, one I'm yet to get right!

  4. Chelle

    This is so my life! And I'm so happy I found your website, Anna.

    I seem to want everything that I see these days because I'm trying so hard not to spend money. Right now an iPad and a dress from Vermont Country Store are topping my list of "I have to have that now!" things. I believe too that we are programmed to be spenders and not savers. You can't watch television without commercials bombarding you with rampant consumer PUSHING of products that they make you think you absolutely must have. And those catalog mailing lists make it even harder.

    It is so hard to find balance when you haven't stopped spending entirely. I am trying to just not put anything on my credit cards and pay cash for everything. That is so helpful in deciding whether I need an item or not because then I am actually seeing the money go out (and by cash, I mean have it come directly from my checking account, from which I have to pay the bills). I just started a spending diet after I found your blog and was astonished when I figured out how much I was spending to download books to my kindle and paying out to my Old Navy credit card every month for clothes I don't even wear. I haven't spent money on either one of those for at least six weeks, so I am really happy at that small amount of progress. I am trying to see credit cards as evil now instead of a way to get things I want that I really don't need.

    Thanks again and keep writing! You are very inspiring!

  5. Katie

    @ Chelle: I totally feel the same way about my credit card! Before, I would use it without a second thought. Now, I never want to use it ever again! I am working to pay off every penny on it and then I am locking it in a drawer and never thinking about it again unless it's an absolute emergency. So in a way it has made shopping easier for me because if I am considering an item, I actually have to think about whether or not I actually want to see $30 come out of my bank account for it.

    Another thing that helped a lot was Anna's recent post about how most people only wear like 1/3 of the clothes in their closets. I always felt like I bought a lot of clothes and had lots of choices but I would really only circulate through my favorite outfits. I had so much stuff that I would buy on a whim and then only wear it a couple of times before it ended up collecting dust in my closet. So I recently did a major closet clean-out and kept only the things that were my absolute favorites and I knew I would continue to love and wear.

    I haven't bought clothes since I started my little Spending Diet (the beginning of this year), and I know once the weather gets warmer I'm going to want to buy some spring stuff. So I am just going to try to think really hard if the things I like are things I will like for the long-term, or things I only like for the short-term.

    P.S. Anna, I totally know you mean about the buyer's remorse! Now I feel bad if I buy the name-brand cheese at the grocery store. ;)

  6. Chelle

    Katie, I'm totally with you on locking the credit card away. We are working on having an emergency fund so we never have to use ours. I've been really good ever since I found Anna's website, but just found out yesterday that my oldest son needs $28,000 in dental work. He has an enamel defect and his teeth are eroding. He's going to need crowns on every tooth. How on earth do you plan for something like that? That goes beyond emergency planning and I can only hope I can beat up the insurance company into paying for it all. I wouldn't pay that for the new car I will need in a couple of years!

    I also have the problem that I am a size bigger (much smaller problem than the teeth mentioned above) than I was last year, so I may not have a choice but to buy some new clothes this spring, but I agree that you really do only wear maybe 1/3 of what is in your closet. I keep thinking well, I might wear this or that. I finally cleaned out my closet of all the clothes I can't zip or fasten anymore and made a dent, but there are still a LOT of things in there I never wear. I'm not sure on what to do if you have to buy clothes. Anna, any suggestions? I went shopping with a friend at the clearance racks at Sears and got a couple of fantastic bargains (leggings I'm wearing for only $3!), but I think I'm going to have to get all new shorts and some tops. I would love to hear any ideas on how to manage this when it becomes something you absolutely need to do.

    No matter what though, I have vowed to put those credit cards away. I love the idea mentioned of filling the shopping cart at the online store and then coming back the next day to see how much you can ditch. Most of the time, I discover I never really wanted those things anyways. Must be something about the weather changing that makes people want to buy, right?

  7. Katie

    Yikes, I am so sorry about the dental situation! That is definitely way outside any normal emergency plan… I don't know doctors can charge things like that. I had to go to the eye doctor recently (without insurance) and one tiny, tiny bottle of eyedrops cost $100! I am sure you can talk your insurance company into paying it though- that's what they are for! Good luck with everything!

  8. Maryl

    @Chelle – try a good secondhand store for shorts and tops for summer. Your other option is to do something to drop a dress size. I'm working on option B as we speak.

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