I’m not talking politics ( please god, no more! One more day to go!), I’m talking me swinging from one emotional state to another. The one state is wild optimism, the other is discouragement.
I’ve been trying to do the math. This is my report for week 30…that’s 7.5 months. What in all that time have I achieved/discovered/changed about the way I spend money?
Before I answer that question (or attempt to) let me just say that the feeling of defeat or, rather, discouragement is coming from the fact that I encountered a few other blogs and posts on facebook by other people doing a similar challenge as myself. One did no shopping for anything new at all for 200 days. The other did an entire year of no shopping. The second gal really went all in, I mean, all in, no coffee, no car, not even accepting gifts from family.
Now, I know I shouldn’t compare. For one, these folks were doing it without kids; that makes a huge difference. I can’t see myself giving up driving or turning away gifts of clothes for the girls etc. It’s not a challenge to see if we can survive, it’s a challenge to see what it is that motivates me to want to buy unnecessary things. So, in that, some of the motivation is different.
This is just typical of me, though. I see someone doing what I am doing and perceive them to be doing it “better” and I want to call it quits. I deflate. I lose inspiration. The fact of the matter is that no one is entirely original, there is always someone doing what you are doing; some better, some worse. What I need to learn is that it doesn’t matter, because the way I do things is uniquely my own approach.
So, no I have not cut out spending entirely as the one gal. Perhaps my approach is not laid out as clearly as the other writer’s. I also saw, in my searching for those particular articles to link in, that there are a heck of a lot more articles out there regarding “no shopping” or “slow shopping”.
What I should really take away from this is that, clearly, in our society today, shopping in excess is a problem. Many of us are trying to figure why and how to fix it. That’s okay. It will take an army of people and ideas. Maybe, for the next generation we will start to reconsider how we structure our country’s wealth (right now a captialist system dependent on endless and increasing spending- where do we put all this shit?!?) and start to innovate and redesign the direction in which we are heading, towards something more sustainable, environmental and supportive of humankind (ie, not relying on slave labour to sustain low prices).
So here I am, having swung from discouragement back to optimism.
I forge on.
All that said. I am SO tempted. I have been obsessing all week about getting a new uke. I love and have been playing the entry level Kala shark uke I picked up, about 8 months ago just before the start of this challenge. I love playing it. It is a joy and I cannot seem to get enough. And now, I want better.
Do I need better? No. I just want.
How do I reconcile those feelings? I could use some mental tricks to make valid my need for a new uke. I DO use it. A better sounding, all wooden uke would encourage more practice. BUUUUT…does my current uke work? Yes. Does it sound good? Decent, yes. And, most importantly, will anything about the quality of my life change with a new uke? Probably not.
I’m also coming to a point where I wonder if I need to lean in a bit more; get more serious and strict about how I spend. I’ve bought the occasional fancy coffee while out and I have been buying lunches out more often than I’d like, simply because I have burned out with the food prep. For the longest time I made sure to always leave the house with the girls, extra clothes, toys, diapers and a complete lunch spread, repleat with snacks and enough to share with friends whom we most certainly bump into or meet up with on a daily basis. But I am spent…and so I spend. Guh.
Oh, and did I mention that my hubs just bought a new “used car”? yeah. He needed for work and it was very inexpensive, so that was definitely “legal” spending, but something to consider when I think about how much money we might hemorrhage on any given day and what I can do to staunch that.
I won’t go into the details of all the spending, the temptations averted or not. I will say that it goes on, but that I have definitely slowed my spending. I can say that the 7.5 months have changed us in that spending is not at the fore- we go out and play instead of walking the aisles of stores, save for grocery Mondays. Most spending is on food, basic necessities not food related are second, frivolous a small third. I think it will have a lasting impact on the kids- I managed to stop what had begun to be a “can I buy this?” kind of awareness in my eldest. Now she couldn’t care less about shopping, “could we please go to the park, mommy?” If nothing else, that is a big success and a motivator to keep going.
I am considering stopping the use of the interwebs and smart phone in regards to browsing. That is the biggest tempter. When I use the web to research ukulele’s it inevitably leads to looking at prices and then online stores. Also those facebook buy/sell/trade pages. I can see that they add temptation that I don’t need. The down side to giving up the latter, is that I have managed to both sell items and buy some needed items at deep discounts (ie, remodeling our kitchen and my kids bedroom, which are on going projects and could benefit from some thriftiness). But is it worth the time and temptation? I don’t know. We’ll have to consider that more fully.
I have to go. The night sets in and the kids demand attention. I don’t know that I answered the question I set out at the beginning. I certainly have swung from one end of the pendulum to the other. I hope this post is somewhat coherent.