Shop till you stop

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grocery cart

Hot on the heels of my minor mirror obsession and related spending spree of late 2022, I decided to pledge toward “no excess spending January.” What this means is that I will still purchase fuel and food. I will, however, refrain from clicking “add to cart” on every online purchase. I am also steering clear of the thrift store, and, according to Mr. Wonderful, giant mirrors and other shiny objects.

I was feeling pretty accomplished with my will power and remarkable self-control — then I realized it was only Jan. 5. Sigh.

Spurts

I spend it in spurts. I will be cheap and frugal for a while. I peruse sale ads for groceries and buy produce from the corner farm stand (in season only — let the Rockefellers eat fresh pineapple in November). I don’t purchase anything in excess. I use what we have: reduce, reuse, repurpose. It’s a simple, homespun lifestyle for me.

Then, I get the urge to purchase closet organizers, high end face cream guaranteed to make me look 10 years younger, or vintage ironstone and similar thrift store scores. The problem with me being an adult is there is no one to tell me no.

Christmas is a particularly spendy time for me. I just love to decorate our home, lay out excessive holiday baked goods and buffets and give gifts.

Budget

Thus, as a new year dawns, I feel compelled to prove that I do, in fact, understand how budgets work. As of now, the bank sends me a reminder text that “You have gone over your grocery budget.” I chortle and exclaim, “that’s where you’re wrong. I don’t have one!”

I use this time of year to assess our bills and subscriptions to be sure we are getting the most for our money. I also want to be certain we aren’t paying for services we don’t use.

For example,  we have lightning-fast internet speeds designed for “gaming.” Mr. Wonderful and I are not video gamers in the slightest. Thus, it’s likely we can save a few bucks by backing off on paying for the speed-of-light internet package.

The problem is that trying to get some space from the cable company is like a middle school breakup. All I get from them is “Give us another chance. You’ll be sorry” and “you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”

Progress

So far this month, I have resisted car seat covers, nail polish (twice!), a white button-down just like the other two I already own (I said I do not have a problem).

I entered an actual grocery store and did not go too crazy. I stuck to essentials and skipped the ice cream freezer entirely. I consider it a personal victory that I left the snacks and sweets aisle unscathed.

I did break down and purchase some eggs that also cost about as much as my first car, but those I filed under “necessity.” Meanwhile, I’m almost out of laundry detergent and I am ready to mark that as “unnecessary” and just swear off washing for the month.

In order to curb impulsive online shopping, I find it helpful to delete my shopping apps on my mobile phone or, at the very least, hide them. I buried an Amazon app so deep it may never be found again. Out of sight is out of mind after all.

Things I have not purchased this week include but are not limited to a cordless vacuum cleaner, scented wax and a very complicated drying apparatus.

On that note, we don’t believe in wholly invented Hallmark holidays, and yet Mr. Wonderful proposed to me on Sweetest Day. He’s no dummy. He did that so he could be sure he wouldn’t have to tackle a “honey do” list on his anniversary.

Actual things I have said to my husband as we approach such holidays like Valentine’s Day: “Romance is not dead but roses soon will be. What I would really love is for you to help me with some DIY projects.”

Is there anything more romantic than a partner with a tool belt ready to tackle your task list? I think not. “In lieu of gifts, please bring a drill.”

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