$pending Fast: 6 Lessons Learned After 6 Months

spending fast

$pending Fast: 6 Lessons Learned After 6 Months

spending fast

It’s been six months since I started my spending fast journey. Honestly, it’s become pretty routine now. Not that I ever struggled to not shop, but I’ve realized how little I actually need. I’ve also realized my food budget (& not packing my lunch) is a far more pressing problem. Oh well, I’m a work in progress.

Regardless, I’ve learned a lot in my six months of fasting. Here are six lessons for six months:

  1. Impulsive shopping is the worst kind of shopping. I haven’t broken my spending fast, and I’m pretty proud of that (though I did ask my boyfriend to buy me a pretty mouse pad). Still, sometimes, I just want to buy something. I’ll be sitting on my couch, minding my own business, and just desire going to the mall and buying things. When this happens, I’ve started perusing online stores, adding everything I could possibly want to the cart, and then closing the browser. It tends to work, but I’ve decided that even after the fast, I’m not allowing impulse purchases. There’s no need to buy anything on impulse & that kind of reckless behavior is part of what got me into debt in the first place. Plus, whenever I check the cart later, I decide I don’t even like the thing I was going to buy…or if I do, I add it to my future gifts list.
  2. You don’t need new stuff. Having not bought anything unnecessary in six months, I’m finding more and more things I just never use. I ended up filling four bags’ worth of items to donate about a week ago, and I sold an entire credit card payment’s worth of stuff on Craigslist. And I still have stuff I don’t use. If I learned anything from this, it’s that we don’t need new stuff…we don’t even need half the stuff we already have. I’ve become significantly more conscious of food waste, recycling of products, and picking up “freebies” at events since starting the fast. If I own it, I’m using it, and if I don’t want to keep it forever, I’m not taking it home in the first place.
  3. No one is paying attention. I’ve worn almost the same eight outfits to work for six months now. They are my favorite, they are comfy, and they get the job done. If anyone’s noticed, I haven’t heard about it. I think it’s more likely that no one cares. Why? Because I don’t care what they are wearing either…nor am I paying attention to whether they wore the same thing last Thursday, we’re there to do a job. If you’re buying things because you think other people will care or judge you for because you don’t have them, then skip the purchase. Buy what makes you happy and feel good, and don’t buy it if it’s not in your budget and not for you.
  4. There’s something to this minimalism thing. Going off lesson three, the eight outfits really make getting ready for work a breeze. I’ve essentially created a capsule wardrobe by constantly sifting through what I own without adding to it. Because of this, I now have a much better grasp on everything available to me. Thus, deciding what to wear has become super easy. It helps that I was always more of a classic, basic pieces girl before the shopping ban so I have a lot of options with the same few pieces. That being said, I now know the true value of cardigans. The entire dressing process now takes approximately five minutes each morning – amazing.
  5. Quality, quality, quality. I haven’t bought any new clothes in six months, and I haven’t had anything need to be replaced yet. Why? Because I take very good care of my things, and I buy quality items that will last a long time. Nearly all of the things I donated were cheap, trendy, impulse buys. Some of them I even had to throw out because of their poor condition. If I’ve learned anything, always buy good quality. You should be able to rely on your items to get you through tough times (think cars). Not having to worry about replacing my clothes has made the shopping ban way easier.
  6. Gift giving is way easier. In the past, I’ve struggled to come up with ideas for what I would like for my birthday or Christmas. This year? I have a list. A very specific list of things. And these are things I have wanted for several months. It’s kind of nice to know exactly what will make you happy, object-wise.
This cookbook is at the top of my list. Come to me!

It’s been a quick six months, but I’m excited to keep making progress towards my goals and finishing out the fast. I might even make this a permanent part of my spending philosophy. Now if only I could hold myself to the same concept with food spending. I’m also pretty excited that it’s my birthday month, which means I get to treat myself to $150 of whatever I want.

Happy saving!

-ECD

7 Comments

  1. Congratulations on your progress! It seems that you’re doing a great job! And yes to all of these! I’ve always struggled with impulsive shopping, especially when I’m feeling down or sad. I know the struggle, online stores and all, I feel you!

  2. I really like this post, especially number 3. We can apply it to so many aspects of our lives that we worry about. Meanwhile no one is paying attention.

    I’ve gotten better with food spending but there’s still much room for improvement. The best method I know is to shop with cash only. If you enter the store with $50 that’s all you can spend.

    1. Author

      Yes! I’m going to do the cash only thing with my food budget this month. I think I probably need to visualize how much money I’m spending on meals out in order to cut back to where I need to be.

  3. Great insights, ECD, and thanks for sharing your experience with the spending fast. I am also guilty of medicating my current ailments (stress, boredom) with unnecessary spending from time to time. I will have to try your idea of adding items to my cart and then closing the browser. Oddly, it seems like it must be psychologically satisfying.

    1. Author

      It really is! It gives you the same sense of having gotten to buy a lot of things, but without the guilt of having spent lots of money. The key is to never save your card information online so you can’t just do the one-click purchase though!

  4. Good for you! 6 months seems like forever not to go even on the smallest shopping trip. Congrats! You should be proud.

    1. Author

      Not even kidding, I now look forward to grocery shopping because I get to buy things (to eat).

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