Monday, May 03, 2010

Life is hard - let's go shopping!

Thus ends my week of "no shopping." I started out strong, but lost resolve over the weekend, with the trip to Target on Saturday and Ikea on Sunday. I bought one "extra" item at Ikea (for what purpose, I cannot say) in addition to the new window coverings we had scheduled to buy this month.

The lessons learned this week were very valuable. I definitely find comfort in shopping, and do it when I am bored, of feeling a little down. There was only one day that I didn't go to any shopping/eating establishments. Sometimes the desire to just know what is there motivates me to go to a store, even if I don't intend to buy anything (though, in most cases, I am sure I could find something). I seem to be able to justify buying thrift store items or items off etsy easier, but in the end they are still just things, and in most cases I can live without them. Except clothes. They may not be high end or particularly trendy, but I like to get a couple new things each month.

I did cut down on eating out this week - only one time that I paid for. That could save us some money. Oh, and I can drink the coffee at work, and don't need to stop at 7/11 or Starbucks every morning.

Something that can eat a lot of money from our budget is gifts. It seems I end up giving a lot of stuff away any given month. I don't think this is a bad thing necessarily, but it needs to be done on less money. I remember going to a financial planning class before we bought our home offered by the city of Long Beach. The man teaching the course ran through an ideal budget, and how much money should be going towards different things. A woman raised her hand and asked where gifts fit into the budget. She explained that she attended several birthday parties each weekend, and needed gifts for other family events throughout the month. The teacher laughed and said in a fiscally sound budget, there is no room for gifts. You just need to explain to people that you are trying to save money, and hope they understand.

I don't think I can go that far with things, as I do enjoy giving gifts, but am going to try now more than ever to make things or assemble gifts from things I have on hand (some are admittedly re-gifts, but some things I purchased with the intent of giving away). Eventually I would need to replenish my supplies, but so far I have been successful looking for ways to make the supplies I do have work (like this blanket). We are going on a trip this week, and I will *need* 6 gifts plus, potentially, favors for a party. It will be a pain to carry everything, but I am bringing homemade or home assembled gifts plus a pack of thank you cards. I was excited to take on the challenge!

Going forward, my goal will be to be more mindful of my shopping habits. I don't "deserve a treat" when I go shopping at Target, and it is ok to just stick with the things on my list. I will try to bring leftovers more often to eat at work. If I need to get out of the office, some days I will go to a park instead of heading on auto-pilot to the mall. I will make more gifts. I will be mindful of how things were made, and whether or not I am paying the "true cost" for an item (which equates to less shopping at the dollar store, I imagine).

Baby steps to cure this Shopaholic!

1 comment:

sweet little sister said...

Excellent advice. You are so thoughtful & focused on progress. I wish you the greatest success. How blessed are the lovely friends & family you are gifting. It is your time & talent invested that make your gifts so heartfelt. Doing this economically is a trait I too would like to learn. Thanks for sharing :)