Financial

Shopping Ban: 4th Month Report

 

October is over (almost), and it went out with a bang. My daughter’s birthday party did go over my budget (but she and her friends had a blast!), so I looked back at the expenses and figured out where I overbought (party favors and decorations) and where I can be a little more frugal next time (location). It’ll go into my planning for my son’s party planning in February. Our trip to Austin for the F1 race went well, despite being soaking wet, but that meant boarding expenses for my dog (and a dental cleaning she was overdue on anyway) totaling just over $600. Then the sprinkler system took a poop (more below). But the good news is I already have a couple Christmas presents purchased and I stayed within budget on two family birthday gifts.

November will hopefully be a slow month where I can buy a few more Christmas presents before the mad scramble and then actively avoid everything retail the day after Thanksgiving. Unless someone is giving away a McLaren MP4-12C I’m not getting up at 4 am for a “deal” no matter how good they try to make it sound. But I digress.

Here’s how it all went:

What I spent money on:

  • Fresh Sugar Honey Tinted Lip Treatment–$24.36 on 10/3; sure it’s an indulgence and there are less expensive options out there, but I cannot get enough of this stuff. I have it in 3 colors and they’re a perfect hint of color while making my lips soft and smooth. I’m a fan of lipstick, but not for every day use and this stuff is a great alternative. Last time I bought it was 3/23 of this year and I was digging it out of the bottom of the tube before I bought another one to make sure I didn’t waste any.
  • As an added bonus, I used some of my Sephora points (which I hoard to save for stuff I’ll really use) to get a pretty good size sample of a night cream I love, Origins Night-a-mins. I’ve been living off samples and have yet to buy the stuff outright, so this sample will get me through several months
    before I need to scrounge again.
  • Neutrogena Toner–$6.99 on 10/11; yet another grocery store item I’ve never tracked until now. I’m guessing it’ll last me 3-4 months before I need to buy again.

10 Piece Category:

Went another month without buying anything. Yay!

8 items remain.

Items Sold:

I managed to sell a necklace this month. It wasn’t anything major ($24) but it’s still a little extra money in my savings so I’m grateful.

Closet Clear Out:

I gave my closet a break this month and went after my jewelry instead. I eliminated items that were either broken or I rarely used. It’s kind of ridiculous to see how easy it is for that stuff to pile up when you stick it in a case out of sight.

I eliminated 17 items this month:

  • 3 bracelets
  • 2 rings (I can probably eliminate more here later–I now accept that I only wear two rings all the time: my wedding ring and my college ring)
  • 7 pairs of earrings
  • 5 necklaces

This leaves me with 485 items and only 35 items to go to reach my goal. Next month, it’ll be time to tackle the shoes. I’ve cut back significantly over the years, but I know there are still shoes in my closet that I never wear. The whole point is to eliminate what I don’t use so I’ll be more restrained when purchasing new items in the future.

Credit Card Payoff:

This was the month I was planning my big switch-a-roo to pull money out of my savings to pay this off 100%. Our sprinkler system had other ideas (the controller unit and a few valves decided to break and while I probably would have waited until spring to fix it since we’re going into the colder weather, the valves were stuck open, which meant water was spewing until we turned off the main line, and out city is quick to give residents fines for wasting water–as they should). I still paid off $6000 and I’ve adjusted my plan to pay off the last $1000 over the next 4 months at $250 a month. It’s still 0 interest after all.

Starbucks:

I kept the Starbucks card in line at one $25 reload again. I got carried away early in the month so I had to make myself cut back toward the end. I’ll be the first to admit it sucked, but it wasn’t life altering and I can look back on the month and remember to plan a little better going forward. I need practice to keep my will power in check before the release of my absolute favorite Creme Brule Latte after Thanksgiving. Have you ever tried one? It’s like a happy dance for your taste buds. With caffeine!

I went on the 2nd ($3.73), the 3rd ($1.95 plus a free latte), the 8th ($5.47), the 9th ($5.47), the 10th ($5.47), the 12th ($5.47), the 22nd ($5.47), and the 30th ($5.47).

Savings:

I wasn’t planning on saving much this month because of the credit card payoff. The good news is next month and every month after should add a significant chunk back to the emergency fund and I’m quite looking forward to watching it build. If everything goes to plan, I’ll hit my savings goal by the end of next year and I think that’s pretty awesome.

  • $100 to my Roth IRA
  • $0 for my regular savings plan
  • $200 to savings from my writing gig
  • $24 from PoshMark sale

YTD Summary:

  • Money Spent: $31.35 in October, $348.17 YTD
  • 10 Items: $0 in October, $304.18 YTD; 8 items remaining
  • Items Sold: $24 in October, $130.40 YTD
  • Closet Clear Out: 17 items in October, 105 YTD. A 17.52% total reduction
  • Credit Card: $6000 in October, $8000 YTD
  • Starbucks: $25 in September; $135.98 YTD

Final Thoughts:

I’m now 33% complete with this project and I feel like I’m learning a lot about my shopping/spending habits. I’m tracking a few things more closely than I did before and I’m genuinely starting to stress less about my cash flow. I still fill up wish lists at my favorites stores/brands, but I’m less inclined to buy–I’m okay with letting things sit to see if it will go on sale or out of stock, and if I miss out, there will always be something else later. I’m keeping my long term goals in mind while I look–to have that 6-9 months of living expenses in savings, to be able to handle unexpected expenses without going into debt, and being able to plan for date nights, vacations, and more knowing we can afford it. Those things are far more important to me than having more stuff and I’m really improving my perspective on things.

I think I’ll always be a shopper, but I also think I can become much more mindful of what I buy and stop using it as a “feel-better-about-myself” crutch.

Happy Halloween!

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