Money poster by Howard Sokol via allposters.comWell everyone, this is it: the spending hiatus is now officially over. I have gone three months without buying (almost) anything unessential. I've slipped up (more than once) and cheated just a little- but overall, I've avoided the mindless shopping and unintentional buys that I am famous for. And you know what? It feels pretty darn good.
I don't have any confessions to make this week. I have been doing background research for what will hopefully be an exciting thesis project, so I haven't had time to even think about shopping. Well, that's a lie. I've totally thought about it- but there hasn't been any time to set foot in a store outside of buying the essential groceries. And on top of that, I knew I didn't want to go out with a confession, because then I'd feel like I didn't make much progress. I wanted to go out on a high note.
As far as what happens now, I'm still not totally clear on that. I thought that after three months of shopping I'd be hitting up the mall like it was my long lost best friend the first chance I got. But honestly? I haven't felt like it. I just don't feel like I need anything right now, and while there are lots of things I could spend my money on, I'd rather save it up for when I really want something. I think the spending hiatus has had the long-term effect of helping me realize that.
There is an official game plan of course. I've set up a maximum amount of money every month for "unessential" items (think eating out, makeup, clothes, etc.). Whenever I buy something unessential, I put a "U" next to the purchase amount in my checkbook- which I have to write my purchases in anyway because I rarely use cash. When the "U" amounts add up to my maximum amount, I'm done for the month. I liked this idea because it gives me the flexibility to buy what I want guilt-free, while still controlling how much I spend overall. I like having the flexibility to spend or save as I wish, because I know I always find my way around rigid "rule" systems, even if I'm the one who set up the rules. Of course, I'll fill you all in on how my new system goes ;)
Oh, and if you're thinking of trying to control spending yourself, here's a list of shopping alternatives I made back in February.
And you can read all of the spending hiatus posts here.
Last chance readers: gimme all your sage spending advice! How do you control it?