On Backsliding - Shopping Ban, Month 3 Update

Month Three did not go well.

You guys.

Month Three REALLY didn’t go well.

There are some enormous wins (most importantly, launching this gorgeous site ~cue confetti ~). The Shopping Ban was going extremely well. Then some stuff hit the fan, hard.

I had a big, big health scare. I’m fine, thank God, but it destroyed me emotionally for about two weeks. I ran away to Chicago to hang with one of my best friends. I was also pulled into a whirlwind recruiting cycle. i misfiled some paperwork. I dropped the ball on communication with my thesis advisor and department head and am now contemplating pushing my graduation back (again). I got really sick (again). The toddler stopped sleeping (again).

When you’re spinning so many plates, you’re gonna drop a few.

(Spoiler alert: there are more plates. You will be ok.)

Standing among the metaphorical shards, I realized that I did not have a plan to manage my purchasing. Or rather, I had a plan that didn’t meet my actual needs.

My trip to Chicago was funded by a dear friend’s miles, but I still spent a bunch on food and souvenirs. My plan was to buy one magnet. I bought two, plus a Frank Lloyd Wright window replica trivet (because I’ve needed a trivet forever and loved this one), plus a journal (I don’t have any excuse) and and and and and and and and.

When I launched the site, my amazing coach told me to be sure to do something nice for myself. I decided to purchase a winter coat and black boots, and two accessories in Sacred Record pink. Not so bad, right?

Except - I need boundaries. I need them. I had the coat on my for-purchase list, but not the boots. I knew I needed new black leather boots since my old Fryes bit the dust, but they weren’t on the list. I planned to purchase one pink item (a scarf) and left with two (an additional belt). These four things weren’t end-of-the-world-panic items, but they added up to $68 total. That $68 went on my credit card.

Then, I went out for drinks. And dinner. And took Ubers. And and and and and. Finally, I bought an art print that I fell in love with to place in my new office, because treat myself, right? I’m working hard.

I couldn’t feel good about buying stuff already on my shopping list (one magnet, one coat, one scarf) or the things that I’ve allowed for in my budget (dinner out with friends, coffee out with friends) because I felt bad for all of the impulse purchases (extra magnets! New used boots! A random belt! ) of the last three weeks.

Setting limits and saving is what allows me to fully enjoy my planned purchases.

When I deviate from the plan, I feel….

  • Like I have no self control

  • Like I’m losing money quickly

  • Like I’m being lazy (Uber!)

  • Like I’m not allowed to meet my actual needs (food while traveling) because I “wasted money already”

  • Worst of all, like I need to buy stuff all the time in order to keep life interesting.

That last feeling is the true aim of the shopping ban.

Life is already interesting without the quick dopamine high of the irrational purchase.

I am much, much happier keeping myself on a short leash and being able to revel in the things I take time to plan for.

For Month 4, it’s back to basics. Substitute purchases with pictures, with journaling, with planning for Month 5.

Month 4 is going to bring a lot of change. It’s also bringing a trip to Florida to see my mother and grandmother (squee!), which is the perfect chance to practice mindful indulgence. I’ll update you on how I make that work, and I’ll share the resources I used on this blog.

Till next month, happy saving, and happy buying, too!

Are you trying to rewrite your consumer story? If so, how? Share in the comments!

Suzie SolovievComment