This January I made a goal to do a massive declutter around the house and to not buy anything above what we needed for groceries and personal care.
How did I do? Well....
The decluttering hasn't gone as expected. I have added some things to our yard sale pile, but I was really hoping to get The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before starting the process. Unfortunately, I've been on the wait list at the library since December. (sigh)
As far as not buying anything, I did do better. I did buy a few Stella & Dot items, but I'm a stylist and we only have a certain period to get our samples 50% off, so I'm totally counting this toward a business expense. I also bought a binder and notebook for blog-related tasks and we started buying the pipe items needed to get my curtains hung back up. I took them down when we painted back in October, and we've just had them lying around until we could come up with a stronger solution for curtain rods than what we had. Other than that, I've done REALLY well! But it has been REALLY hard too.
Here are five ways that I've been able to control my shopping urges this month.
1. Unsubscribe and Delete Immediately
As emails have come into my inbox, I've started unsubscribing to stores that I rarely shop at. This has double rewards since it keeps my inbox from filling up so fast, but it also keeps me from being tempted by deals.
For the stores that I still subscribe to, I have been immediately deleting their emails during this month. I don't need to know that J.Crew is having an amazing sale or that Yankee Candle is have a BOGO event. I'm not spending money, so it doesn't matter. Don't even open the email. Just delete it.
2. Hello Recycle Bin!
Catalogs go in the recycle bin before even making it to the coffee table. DO NOT OPEN. I repeat, DO NOT OPEN! I tear the back address page off and shred it (I'm paranoid about identity theft and anything with my name on it gets shredded) then it goes straight into recycle without so much as me opening the first page.
3. Take a Break from Social Media
It is hard to stay on track when you are staring at all of the wonderful things that friends and other bloggers are buying or that they just have in their home in the background of those cute baby photos. I see toys all the time that I think are cute and think, "J and L NEED that!" I've taken this month off from Instagram because it is my trigger for comparison living. I love looking at all of the beautiful homes of decor bloggers, but it is easy for me to feel less-than when seeing beautifully staged (and they are staged) homes, tropical vacations or adorable play spaces. And what do we do when we feel less-than? Well, if you're like me, you shop. You shop to fill the void left by that icky feeling. But what we need to do is to ask Jesus to fill that void. My favorite quote from the Simplicity Anchored in the Gospel class was this,
"One more Target run is not going to satisfy your soul, only Jesus can do that."
4. Menu Plan
It is easy to blow your grocery budget if you don't have a plan. I'm a HUGE advocate for menu planning as a way to save and reduce waste. I try to only buy what is on my grocery list while I'm out shopping. I know that I'm not going to be putting Oreos on my list, so I just walk on by when I see them in the store.
5. Avoid shopping trigger aisles/sections of the store
I've avoided Target altogether this month. I know that I can't trust myself to go in for "just groceries." We all know I'm going to spend $20 at the Dollar Spot and I'm going to have to go by the decor section or the kids clothes before I even remember that I went in for just a gallon of milk. In other stores, like Walmart where I do a lot of our grocery shopping (Target is actually 45 minutes away so its been easier to avoid), I have to avoid the clearance aisles and book aisles. Going back to menu planning, if I go to the store with a plan, then I am less likely to just wander around.
When we were on our journey out of debt a few years ago, I lived by this advice. I LOVE shopping. There is something cathartic about buying stuff. But my mantra became
"I don't know what I don't have if I don't see it."
Avoiding those sales emails,leafing through catalogs, and "just browsing" saved us so much money! We got out of debt in just under two years and it has been the biggest relief. Now that I'm staying home, I'm trying to re-employ these bits of wisdom.
What about you? How do you avoid shopping and spending money you don't have? Any tricks you'd like to share?
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