Wednesday, April 30, 2008

spending strike

Big News here folks.
I'm giving up Target. I'm giving up TCP. I'm even giving up garage sales, craigslist and ebay. I'm giving up mindless, time-killing, clearance rack browsing, shopping of any sort. If I don't need it, I don't buy it. And I mean NEED it, as in a physical necessity, not "oh my gawd, I NEED those shoes!!".
For one month.
I'm pledging to not spend any money aside from basic needs and bills for the month of May.
Is it sad that this is so scary to me?...

We've probably all heard of the Buy Nothing Day uprising in opposition to "Black Friday" in November. Well, lots of people in the last few years have taken that a step further and challenged themselves to a full 30 days of not spending --and apparently some have even taken that challenge to a whole nother level-- all for a variety of reasons; As a protest against the consumerism that is completely overtaking our country, as a way to take a good hard look at their own habits and break the cycle of spending, or simply as an experiment because they're curious to see if they can actually curb excessive spending for a set amount of time.
For me, it's a combination of all three of these. #1, I don't like that kids are growing up to be spoiled brats. Okay, that's kind of harsh, but really... my kids want for nothing. And I feel they are far less indulged than many other kids in families we know.
Which is directly related to #2; it's because of my spending habits and the ease in which we can just run to the store for something we "need". We "need" none of it. I'm an admitted impulsive shopper. I love shopping. I also love just wandering the stores for ideas of things to make or put together, but of course it always ends up in purchases. I love great deals and I'll seek them out, just to be able to get things at such great prices... but really, did I need it in the first place? We all know how amazingly fast all those little things add up. I feel like in this day and age so many of us blow through money without giving it a second thought. We don't feel like we're being extravagant or spending excessively because everybody is doing it. I want to get out of that mindset.
And thirdly, I'm really curious. I'm curious to see if I can really do it. I'm curious to be reminded (on almost a daily basis, I'm sure) of what I am normally inclined to spend money on and what the difference would be if I didn't.

And I'm also reeeeeally nervous, haha! Isn't that sad? I don't know if I can go 30 days (or 31 in this case, -smart thinking Heather, pick a long month to start this HAHA!) without buying things I want.
But I'm going for it.
And I've been putting off thinking about it or writing about it until now, because I didn't want to be planning for it. I didn't want to be mentally making lists of what I need want to be sure and buy before the month starts... I didn't want to be binge buying to "stock up" or to go on this spending frenzy to get my shopping fix out of the way. I haven't bought a thing ahead of time in preparation for this. In fact, the only thing I've spent so far this week was taking the kids out to have lunch with Ryan yesterday at Chick-fil-A.
And I don't want it to be a "save it for next month" mindset either. I don't want to be counting down the days until June when I can BUY AGAIN!!
I hope really let it sink in that it's a point of whether or not what I am buying is a necessity or something frivolous... not just I can't buy this for x more number of days. Not that I will never make frivolous purchases ever again, but I want to be sure I have a little perspective on the fact that there's a time and place for those purchases and whenever I get the whim is not the rule to live by. It's not what I want my kids to live by.

So that's my challenge for myself. No spending for the month of May.
Anyone care to join me? Anyone else intrigued and up for the challenge? I know it's kind of last minute, but that was kind of the point. If you are, leave me a comment and let me know and we can be a support group for each other, HAHA!
And don't worry, I'll be reporting on this adventure regularly... you can all keep me accountable!

*While I've had this all mulling around in the back of my mind for a long while now, something I've always thought I'd like to do "someday", I have to give credit to Crunchy Chicken and to Cass (even though she wimped out and isn't doing it after all, ;) totally kidding Cass!) for bringing it back to my attention this past month and inspiring me to just bite the bullet and do it once and for all.


Jessica said...

Ryan and I have been doing this for a while now. We are saving, saving, saving in preperation of his getting out of the Navy. Every paycheck (every two weeks) we take out $200 in cash. We spend $50 of that on groceries. We spend no more than $25 a week on food...which is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. The rest is for whatever...diapers, field trips, Ryan has to eat lunch out sometimes, misc things that we actually need, can't get around spending money on, whatever. Gas between the two of our vehicles is about $75 - $100 every week and a half and we try to make sure we take that out of our spending cash if we can. Aside from those things, we spend NOTHING. If we have a litte cash left before the next payday, we'll treat ourselves to a cheap meal out, or a fun run to Target.

The first couple of weeks was hard. Then we looked at our finanaces and realized that we could potentially be putting A LOT of money into savings if we kept it up. And, we have. We treat ourselves every now and then when we have even more left than we thought we would, but for the most part we stick with it, and now I cannot believe how much money we used to spend on NOTHING! Even when we get to a point where we don't HAVE to save, we will never again spend the way we used to!

Cass said...

I need to come up with a compromise.. Maybe Jessica has the right approach.

I'll have to look at my budget.

K.M.L said...

Ummm....I'm in. We are still doing Dave Ramsey budget but it never fails that I go over each month and buy things we don't need and then I disappoint myself and Mike. I'm in all the way!

Katie Mohr said...

Uh..I'm all about supporting you except for the new FE album. Do you need to prepay today so you can just pick it up at the release party? hee hee!

jessica said...

i have been doing this - sort of - since i quit my job. i say sort of because i did get a big purchase... hubby bought me my new 5D. otherwise i've really been trying to be conscientious about my spending. i can be "in"! i think! let me sleep on it...

Anonymous said...

i love this idea, heather! good luck with it, i can't wait to hear how it goes! i definitely want to do this sometime... i'm not in it for this month because i already have planned to buy some things. :) hope you update us often!

Nicole said...

OH I wish I had the gumption to not spend.... although we will be trying to cut corners and watch what we're spending on more often... but with a new baby arriving and I'll probably be wanting a few "transitional" outfits to get me by... I just can't commit. Way too much going on right now LOL! Yeah, I'm lazy. And I like to spend money. ;) However... I have been trying to watch what "frivolous" things I buy at Target or wherever... I try to go in for "just want I need" and I've done pretty good so far.

Amy said...

I did this last month and hope to continue. Good luck!

Erin said...


I've been setting monthly goals this year instead of one big new year's resolution and it has been wonderfully successful. I haven't, however, chosen one for May, and this is a big problem of mine. So yes, I would love to join you. I make only one exception because it's a work in progress - the landscaping in the yard. I started it in April and will have to pay for it in May. Otherwise, I'm in. No financial frivolity! I'll post on it, too.

Mary said...

I'm curious to see how this works for you and I wish you luck :)
I would love to be able to do this. I think we could, if we really put our minds to it but we are so LAZY!

LeeAnn said...

I would really love to do this! But i think this would be a bad month as we are putting our house on the market this month and we have a list of things that need to be done around the house.

How is it going so far for you?

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