Financial

Shopping Ban: 2nd Month Report

August is in the books, and I mostly feel like I accomplished something positive. I had a birthday present to buy, back to school shopping for my daughter (uniforms and supplies), and I took on a humbling section of my closet to clear out: pants & skirts.

Without further ado, here’s my report.

What I spent money on:

  • A birthday present from Amazon. I wanted to hit the mark for free shipping, so I bought a couple books on my wish list. If I’m honest, I should have only bought one of them, so expense of $29.18 incurred to me that could have been lower (not including the price of the present itself).
  • Eye makeup remover. I almost didn’t include this because I buy it at Target within my monthly grocery budget, but it’s skin care, so here it is. Almay (non oil pads–they’re the most amazing thing for me, every other eye makeup remover I’ve ever tried either makes my eyes burn or my eyelids puffy). $5.13 with tax and there’s 80 to a pack, so I should be set for about 3 months.
  • $26.31 on shoe repair and polish. As mentioned previously, I saved two pairs of shoes and kept myself from having an excuse to go buy new ones I don’t really need.

10 Piece Category:

I’m happy to report I didn’t buy a darn thing!

Items Sold:

I only sold one pair of earrings this month, which was a little disappointing. It’s still $30.40 I didn’t have before. Hopefully next month will be a little stronger.

Closet Clear Out:

Going through all my pants, skirts, and suits was kind of embarrassing. I still had stuff from my pre-mommy days and… yikes. I wanted to cry a little bit. It’s okay, I’m still active and mostly healthy (and size 4 is definitely not something to fret over), it was just a bit of a shock to see firsthand how much things have shifted. In the wise words of Stacy London and Clinton Kelly, “Dress the body you have, not the one you want.”

I eliminated 21 items this month:

  • 2 jackets
  • 2 suits (I counted each suit as one thing)
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 5 pants
  • 2 skirts
  • 8 pairs of socks & misc. underthings
  • 1 more dress I should have dumped last month but held onto because I love the color. I accepted it no longer works on my body when I almost wore it to work one day this month, so out it went.

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This leaves me with 531 items and 81 items to go to reach my goal. Next month I plan on taking on my tops/shirts section and I have a feeling I’ll make a lot more progress toward my goal in that section. There are SO many. I could even break it down into short sleeves and long sleeves if I wanted to go overboard (and I might because Texas weather doesn’t really allow for long sleeves in September). There’s just too much.

The two skirts I dumped also left me with 0 pencil skirts. With all the stuff I have, it’s weird to realize I finally have nothing of a certain style. It’s kind of a work staple so I’m considering my options carefully on which pencil skirt I’d like to add back to my wardrobe as part of my 10 pieces, but I’m not rushing it. I haven’t been wearing them, so do I really need one after all? I’m not so sure.

Credit Card Payoff:

This month I applied $500 to my 0% interest balance, leaving me with $7750 to pay off by July 2016. I still feel good about getting it done.

Starbucks:

I cut my actual out of pocket this month compared to last in half–just $25. Now I know I can do it and still have a weekly pick me up, so there’s no reason to accept a higher expense.

I went on the 7th ($5.47), the 10th ($5.47), the 14th (free), the 20th ($7.47–legit work breakfast meeting at a Starbucks, but it still costs money so in it goes), the 21st ($5.79), and the 28th ($5.47).

Savings:

I’m a little bummed about this one. Cash flow timing is keeping things a little low this month and both my health insurance rates and daycare rates for the kids change end of August/beginning of September leaving things a little murky budget-wise every year. But I will catch up next month–in fact, as soon as I get paid on September 4th. While it’s nice to get a discount for paying our auto insurance premium for the full year, it puts a squeeze on my budget in July and August (not to mention the highest utility bills of the year hit at the same time). Then again in November for a classic car policy that’s separate. Just another reason to get this shopping thing under control so I can do a better job planning these major expenses in the future to make sure they aren’t a strain. This is a constant that happens every year and there’s no reason I can’t be more prepared.

  • $100 to my Roth IRA (and thanks to that market crash toward the end of the month, I got my hands on a few more shares of some stocks currently in my portfolio. I’m not thrilled about the overall number right now because it’s lost a lot of paper value, but I’m not pulling any money out, so it’s not a realized loss. You can’t get emotional about investing!)
  • $313.16 to my 401K (Also a major dump in overall value–so much that our online system posted a bulletin about it and they took down the percentage change in value option.)
  • $150 to my regular savings
  • $30.40 to my regular savings from clothing sales (a realization I had in my spending confessions and implemented immediately)
  • keeping this month’s writing income ($200) and a little bit of my usual savings transfer ($100) out to get me through the first week of September until I get paid and will then right my cash flow ship.

YTD Summary:

  • Money Spent: $60.62 in August, $151.55 YTD
  • 10 Items: $0 in August, $229.49 YTD; 9 items remaining
  • Items Sold: $30.40 in August, $106.40 YTD
  • Closet Clear Out: 21 items in August, 58 YTD. A 9.9% total reduction
  • Credit Card: $500 in August, $1250 YTD
  • Starbucks: $25 in August; $75 YTD

Final Thoughts:

August made me feel like I’m getting somewhere. 10 more months feels less daunting than when I originally took on this idea. I’ve had some successes, adjusted some of my own behaviors, and taken steps to minimize some shopping temptation. I’m now excited about where this could take me in a year instead of just hoping to survive. Bring on September!

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