Spending That I Can Afford


January was not an easy month.

I felt unhinged. I felt content. I was a bitch. I was a good friend. I was rude. I was sweet. I expected a lot. I expected very little. I was happy. I was blue. I was sick. I was all over the place.

All shopping bills are paid off

I can breathe freely and pause to compare credit card deals while contemplating if I need to consolidate my shopping bills. Most importantly I can start saving. If you are in my boat and have department store’s credit cards that you want to consolidate, make sure that you are consolidating to a card with a much lower interest rate. Or better yet! Pay those cards off, cut them up and stop wasting your money on stuff you don’t need.

I have to admit that shopping in December was fun. It was therapeutic. It was festive. It was self-fulfilling. But I am glad it is over and the bills are paid off.

No-buy Challenge Update

In early January I set a brutal and painful goal for myself to not shop for anything that is not consumable. Battling my spending habit is a constant war, filled with pressures, temptations and promises both imagined and real.

You are probably wondering how I did in January. I did pretty well.

I avoided the malls like a plague, a place of destruction and, still a place of a great allure and seduction.

I avoided the cosmetics aisles in grocery stores in fear that I will grab a bottle of a nail polish that I don’t need.

I avoided tried to avoid glossy fashion magazines. I broke down once and got myself the Elle February issue.

I avoided talking about shopping so that I didn’t feel compelled to hit the stores.

Did I feel tempted? Of course I did!

Very vivid images of what I could be shopping for ran through my mind at least couple times a week.

At least once a week I felt increasingly tempted to drive after work to my favorite mall with the false pretence of picking up some take-out from there.

A few times I even reached for my cell to dial Beaker’s number and ask him if he wants his favorite club sandwich. I am not trying to stroke my ego when I say that every time I pulled my cell phone out, I thought INSANITY, and I never did go to the mall. Or my favorite local boutique. Or even the grocery cosmetics isle. I am just trying to say that I resisted.

However, all these tiny and inconsequential attempts were building up in me, and the next thing you know I bought an Elle magazine, my shopping substitute.

Things I spent money on in January

FINCON12 – I really don’t need to explain this, do I?

A sushi dinner and a few drinks with my good friend. It felt good. It felt right. It was a lot of talking, and laughing, and just being silly.

A few workdays lunches with my friends. We talked, we gossiped, we bitched, we laughed and, once we almost cried. Priceless.

It is quite easy to summarize my January spending.

I spent on EXPERIENCE and MEMORIES. I think it is the most satisfying spending experience I can afford now.




37 thoughts on “Spending That I Can Afford”

  1. Sounds likes the purchases you did make were worthwhile! Spending on experiences makes sense to me. I’d much rather have a lunch out with friends than some product I don’t need.

  2. I’m about due for another sushi dinner. 🙂
    Sounds like you did all right in Jan. I haven’t been to the malls for a long time and life still goes on. You should quit cold turkey. hahahaha. It’s easier in Portland though, we have a lot of independent stores.

  3. It seems like you did a great job controlling spending. Myself, I don’t buy a lot of things anyway, I really need to focus on the consumables portion of my spending, otherwise I’m apt to just go spend on a lunch or dinner out instead of making something. I can’t get in the habit of thinking it’s “just a consumable” otherwise I’ll consume too much! Good luck this month.

    1. Haha… consuming too much is not goo either! I try to pace myself and make choices “I go out to lunch with a friend, instead going out to the mall after work.”

  4. Looks like you did very well for January. Is buying the magazine a substitute for an otherwise high-cost shopping trip or do you really like Elle magazine?

    1. Suba, you got me there! 🙂 I bought Elle because it looked interesting and I desperately needed to buy something. It was that spending itch or fever that I get from time to time. So I chose to spend a few bucks instead of a few hundreds. In the end, Elle appeared to be quite shallow and boring.

  5. Aloysa, good for you for choosing to spend only on experiences and memories.

    Shall I dare say you lived a minimalist January? 🙂

    Congrats on the willpower!

    I think once you get used to not going to malls, it’ll be easy. The key (for me anyway) is to be content with yourself and what you currently have.

  6. Elise @ Black Freelancer

    Good job! Spending money is one of those things that just makes you feel happy until you realize that the money is gone, or it wasn’t your money to begin with, or you spent your rent money, or… well, you get my point. Then you feel sick. You feel like you failed. You fought the good fight this month and really spent your money on good stuff that matters.

    Here’s to a good February!

    1. When I feel that way, I just pack up my purchases and return them. 🙂 I hate doing it. I think this is one of the reasons I do want to control my spending.

  7. Sounds to me as if you had a very successful January. If you need to buy that Elle magazine rather than going shopping then by all means do so. I’m certain it is much less expensive than the actual shopping trip would turn out to be. Keep up the good work and continue to build excellent memories and experiences rather than building piles of stuff.

    1. Yes, I should admit that any of the shopping trips that I could possibly take would be so much more expensive, and so much less satisfying than a fashion magazine. However, Elle was pretty boring after all. 🙂

  8. It sounds like you did awesome to me! (And I’d see practically no difference at all if I vowed to eliminate spending on things that weren’t consumable — those are pretty much the only things I buy…)

  9. Great job – I am starting to spend a bit more on experiences and memories… I was very strict about any unnecessary spending, but now that I have a bit more breathing room – it’s easy to justify expenses if they are going to be meaningful.

  10. I think the workday lunch with friends was well worth it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on those lunches but the time spent with friends is priceless.

    Do you find it hard being frugal and going out with friends?

    1. I am not a frugal person. So for me it is not hard to go out and spend. The hard part is to make smart choices and not let impulses to control these choices.

  11. Awesome job at redirecting your shopping urges on memories and experiences! Love your dramatic writing style, so exciting and fun! I often do it myself. However, if a problem gets whipped up into a frenzy like that, it sometimes can work against you. The problem, in a way, becomes that much bigger, badder, insurmountable, and all consuming. Never change your style, but if you can tweak your mind, I’m thinking your shopping addiction problem will be more manageable. Good luck next month, I’m rooting for ya!

  12. You seem to be doing really well. And, yes, refocusing form ‘things’ to ‘exoperiences’ is always great. What I have been trying to do is to get away from a ‘person to have’ back to the ‘person to be’ that I used to be.

  13. Nicely written. I think experiences are so much more meaningful than “stuff”. However, it’s hard to break a habit, isn’t it? I find that completely avoiding the stores is the most helpful solution for me!

  14. I think your last sentence says it all – “spend on EXPERIENCE and MEMORIES”. Are you on any kind of “allowance” system? Cutting your spending cold turkey is good, but I prefer to still have small, controlled splurges.

  15. What’s the saying about all work and no play making you dull? You need to live a little, too. I know when I’m too strict with my budget, I end up splurging like nobody’s business down the road. There has to be balance in any long-term savings plan.

  16. Pingback: The Dollar Disciple - The Importance of Financial Friends

  17. My spending has been increasing for past several months. I have been going out more often and definitely spending more on household items. I need to figure out a way to cut my spending…

  18. Pingback: Personal Financial Management Articles from Personal Finance Blogs | Personal Investment Management and Financial Planning

  19. Pingback: Yakezie Carnival, Zombie Apocalypse Edition | 101 Centavos

  20. Pingback: Carnival of Retirement – 6th Edition | My Retirement Blog

  21. Pingback: Carnival Of Financial Camaraderie #20 - My University Money

  22. Pingback: Totally Money Blog Carnival # 54 – Valentine’s Day Edition | Family Money Values

  23. Pingback: Carnival Of Financial Camaraderie #20 - My University Money

  24. Pingback: Reading Salon and February Blog Update

  25. Pingback: Canadian Finance Carnival #75

Comments are closed.