Financial

Shopping Ban: 6th Month Review

Last day of December–New Year’s Eve, the ultimate party night for most. It also happens to be my 6th wedding anniversary. Go us!

Christmas was great–the kids were surprised and had a ton of fun playing with everything. I go through their stuff after each Christmas and thin down the piles, some toys they just outgrow and others they never played with much. Either way, we don’t have a play room and I can’t handle our living room floor being covered in toys–I’m glad we’re able to give them plenty but I also want them to stay grounded and not get hung up on getting stuff.

This year I stayed within budget for all holiday expenses, including donating to 3 different Toys for Tots drives, donating some clothes to a shelter, and I started talking to my daughter about kids/famillies who are less fortunate. Next year she’ll be old enough to help adopt a kid from an Angel Tree and we’ll incorporate that into our holiday traditions from now on as a reminder of what life is really about.

Here’s how everything unfolded:

What I spent money on:

A few Target items this month as well as some other general maintenance but also some upcoming fun!

  • Almay Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover (last purchased in August) – got the bigger canister this time, so $8.65 on 12/7
  • L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara – $7.57 on 12/7
  • Watch battery $58.46 on 12/9
  • Concert tickets. We’re going to see Duran Duran in April and then The Cure in May and I could not be more excited – $482.49 total spent on those.
  • Babysitting – had a company awards dinner to attend and HAD to see Star Wars in the theatre. $164.75 spent total.

10 Piece Category:

November I got off track, but I got my head mostly right this month. I’ll admit I did click order a couple of times at Nordstrom, but I sent it back. I did, however, use some Christmas money to buy some yoga/running gear because as it turns out, I only had two pairs of long pants and it gets cold running at night in capris. It’s a bit of a side step, I know, but I’m not counting it because it’s money I received as a gift and not something I budgeted. Old Navy has some great gear and it’s so reasonably priced. I have zero excuses to buy any workout gear in the next 6 months or even a few years.

0 toward my 10 pieces, and 3 items remain to stay within my goal.

Items Sold:

Either I need to start slashing prices or December was too focused on “new with tags” for the holiday gift season. Probably both–I sold squat. Next month, I need to put some new listings up, and rethink some of my pricing. After all, right now these things are taking up room in my office closet and $5 is better than $0.

Closet Clear Out:

I took a break from the serious cleaning out. I just got rid of scarves I haven’t used in at least a year and it was pretty simple to pick out what stayed and what went. Yes, I’m stalling on having to make hard choices on some of my handbags. I’ll get around to it, I promise:

  • 6 scarves

That puts me at 6 things total removed and my new grand total is 463. That means I’ve removed 122 things net total, or a 20.75% reduction. I need to get rid of 13 more things to hit my goal.

Credit Card Payoff:

$300 paid, $600 to go. I’m getting REALLY close to only having a mortgage as debt again. I love that idea.

Starbucks:

One $30 reload on my card and that’s it. That was probably made possible by my husband making all of the holiday Starbucks runs. For that, I thank him.

The Caramel Brûlée Latte is already disappearing at most Starbucks locations, so that should save me from temptation in January.

Savings:

December means a year end bonus at work. I budgeted well enough to be able to stash most of it away instead of pay off holiday bills this year, and I’m calling that a win.

  • $100 to my Roth IRA
  • $3750 for my regular savings plan
  • $250 from my writing gig
  • $0 from PoshMark sales

YTD Summary:

  • Money Spent: $74.68 in December, $502.09 YTD
  • 10 Items: $0 in December, $1035.73 YTD; 3 items remaining
  • Items Sold: $0 in December, $193.05 YTD
  • Closet Clear Out: 6 items in December, 122 YTD. A 20.75% total reduction
  • Credit Card: $300 in December, $8400 YTD
  • Starbucks: $30 in December; $216.28 YTD

Final Thoughts:

The first half of this year, I spent a stupid amount of money. Just shy of $9000, stupid. On stuff. It was time to get it through my head that the reason I was stressed about money all the time was because of me. I make enough to afford a comfortable lifestyle and yet at the end of every month I was freaking out about how I was going to cover my next month’s expenses. I had to stop.

The second half of the year was very different–it took a lot of effort at first to hold back but I got mostly got into a new and better mindset. Even though I still spent money on stuff, the total amounted to only $1537.82, including some things I never tracked before. Over $7000 less than the first half of the year.

Yes there were things I watched too closely in a wish list that I never purchased and they eventually disappeared, but I can’t remember exactly what any of those things were. When I look back, I can accept they were compensating for something else in my life. I’m not wearing the same thing every week (in fact I can probably cycle every 2-3 weeks without wearing the same outfit again).

I’m looking forward to 2016, my focus will be spending money on events that bring me and my family joy, and of course take care of us. I’ve already started a list of things to repair or update on the house and ranked them in order of importance. We have a few things coming up for the kids and I have budgets. I’m planning ahead.

Being able to plan instead of react is so much better. It makes me a happier person so I can be a less stressed out professional at work, a more engaged mom, and a better wife with one less argument to have all the time.

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