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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.