New rules – consumables only

Blahhhh. I can already see how hard this is going to…NOPE. I got this.

And I have to be stronger this time. I allowed myself wayyy to much leeway and “flexibility” last time. I ordered essential oils by the dozens, convincing myself they were for the family or the kids’ health. I did a bunch of thrift shopping, getting things I didn’t love or need really, but just needed to shop ish. I was a master at talking around the rules I had made for myself. I never even really started the consumables only three months that I was going to do, as I got pregnant and miscarried again and it just seemed too hard.

But I’ve got this right? I have new motivation (DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN! I want the girls and Sebastian to have all that they need and get to do all the things they want, and my random shopping/spending is getting in the way of that) and new control over my thoughts (YOU GOT THIS – I still haven’t come up with anything better).

And here are the rules this time around.

  1. Consumables only. Food, drink, toiletries (IN MODERATION, as my Beautycounter habit is almost rivaling my jewelry addiction).
  2. If I absolutely need something I have to clear it with you folks? With Mark? With the whole world?! Thrift shopping was a whole other world of difficult and complicated, and I just don’t want to get into it again. With thrift shopping there is only ONE of that thing, and the pressure to bring home items that are not perfect, but just ok, because they are the only one, is more temptation than when there are racks of the same items. I’m still losing weight from the baby and I am hoping I will need new pants in a smaller size soon enough. I’m not sure what to do when this happens. Suggestions are welcome.
  3. Things for the kids. NEED ONLY. Buy one of those things whatever it is, and no more. I tend to buy them two of whatever I think they need so they have a backup. This leads to an overflow of clothes, especially for the girls. “OH it’s so cute! She’ll look adorable in this! Oh you want that sparkly pink WHATEVER?! Sure!” And for the baby it’s even worse, cause he’s so dang adorable toooooo…Focus.
  4. Nothing for the house, obviously. Poor house, I’ve barely bought anything for it since we moved in, since I started the first round right after we moved in, then just always focus my spending on myself (sorry house).

It’s all the exceptions that I’m worried about. The “I need this”. I’m reallllly good at talking myself into needing something when I actually don’t. And if I tell Mark that the kids “need” something, then he goes, “Oh ok, well if they need it, that’s fine”. And then we both freak out about how little money we have about a month later. So fun!

I think a good base rule is going to have to be…NO ONLINE SHOPPING. This one hits me right in the gut because I love love love love love love love online shopping. Love it. I am one of those people that have my credit card info saved for my jewelry site, Old Navy, Amazon, Zulily (though I’ve managed to avoid that one lately), American Eagle, H&M…and so then you don’t have to go looking for your credit card to shop! (Though really, I have the number memorized, I use it THAT OFTEN, ugh, sad!) This makes shopping so dang easy, and so disconnected to anything relating to real money. Just hit “Place order” or “complete order” or whatever it is and BAM, it shows up on my doorstep (which is my favourite part, I looove mail!) and a month ish later it’s all in my credit card statement in a big lump sum. Boom, no pain, and alll the gain (of new stuff!)

I may even go a step further and try and not use my credit card at all. I’m going to explore this issue in a separate blog post/book review on Dollars and Sense: How we Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter by Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler, but it has a loooot of smart things to say about how credit cards create a huge gap in our minds from the pain of paying for things, ultimately making us feel like since we paid for it so long ago, we didn’t really pay for it at all, BUT WE DID! THE MONEY IS GONE! But you didn’t notice!

I’m wondering if I have to keep myself accountable by logging all my purchases here, or on my instagram (which is now linked properly on my home page) maybe? And then had to calculate the “opportunity cost” of each purchase (ie how many other things I could have done with that money)? Yes.

So recap:

a)consumables only
b) no online shopping
c) any spending has to be logged and accounted for and opportunity cost calculated

Start date: Monday July 15th. End Date: October 15th. Then I will re-evaluate.

Exceptions I can foresee:

-Girls will need indoor shoes for school (and I’ve tried the second hand shoe route and they NEVER fit right, and we have about six pairs in the basement that no one has used because we all struggle with second hand shoes)
– Mira will need a new backpack for grade two.
– Pants, if I magically lose more baby weight
– clothes for Sebastian, though we have a lot of hand me downs that are great and may preclude any shopping

I think that’s it….Sorry, long post, but I had to write it all out as I thought about it it seemed:D Thanks for sticking with me! Anyone want to join me in my consumables only trimester??

Belated 5 month check in

Well, I’m like a week late (maybe two?) for a 5 month check in and really I should probably just wait now until November 12 for the BIG HALFWAY POINT!

So I’ll tell you about the few things that I *kind of* cheated on, and how Austerity October is going.

Things I sort of cheated on:
1) Kindergarten clothes/supplies: MY FOUR YEAR OLD IS PICKY AF. We tried second hand stores, truly. But we could NOT agree on indoor shoes or find a backpack at the consignment stores. Her winter coat and snowpants and fake uggs with puppy ears on them are second hand, but she picked out these amazing silver David Bowie ankle boots with stars on them for her indoor shoes (hey, they still have non-marking soles) and a unicorn backpack. Sometimes, you just can’t find everything second hand.

2) Presents for others: Some, like my lovely sister-in-law, don’t mind good quality used goods for their kids. Others, I felt COMPLETELY awkward even THINKING about buying second-hand for, as there’s something about gifting really good gifters with second-hand gifts. Not that second-hand is bad, just feels…cheap…sometimes. Unless you score an AMAZING FIND and then it feels like the best gift you’ve ever given!

3) Sewing machine: My dear friend Chelsea gave me her sewing machine for free about six months ago (was it that long?!) and I used it and loved it…until it stopped working at my sewing class over the weekend, and seams that should have taken 15 minutes took me an hour and 40 minutes while we tried to fix the problem. So I bought a new one while I was at the store and feel great about it. It doesn’t stop in the middle, I don’t have to re-thread the bobbin every 10 minutes because it has frozen, and even threading the bobbin is soooo much easier because it’s, well now I’m getting into weird sewing geekery so I’ll just stop.

4) This ONE Time Magazine that was dedicated to Happiness and I just could not figure out how to get it at the library.

Ok, so there you have it. Confession in full.

Austerity October.
The goal was mostly about food, if you will remember, I was appalled at how much we spent on “out” food (as opposed to closeted food? Bad joke, sorry.) So I set a budget of $400 a week for food, and have been tracking it in a notebook. Yes, I’m sure a spreadsheet would be much more “efficient” but my brain just doesn’t work that way. I need it written down where I can see it and add and subtract right there. Dunno why. And we’ve done really well at it! The first week we struggled a little bit, and were only $23 under budget (we did a grocery run AND a Costco run). But week two was $103 extra, and week three was $75 extra. I think we’ve been a lot better at cutting down any little extras like tea or a drink out, but we still had one date night this month, Mira and I went out for a movie together (she needs Mama-Mira dates these days since she’s at kindergarten and Lilia gets more mama time than she does.) So, we still managed to enjoy ourselves even while trying to be frugal! So I’m pretty happy with how Austerity October has turned out so far.

AND, in like THREE DAYS, my Starbucks ban is over! If you don’t remember, I gave up Starbucks for something like 100 days because I bought yet ANOTHER stroller. God, I love strollers. Second-hand of course, but to off-set the cost I haven’t bought myself a Starbucks since like August I think. I mayyyy need it this week! We are still using the same meal delivery service as I haven’t checked into the others that my friends on Facebook have pointed me towards. In this sense I’ve had a bit of inertia, and just like to  keep things the way they are! But I do need to change it at some point as the girls aren’t getting the exposure to other foods that I want them to!

Hope y’all are doing well  out there, any questions about this buy nothing new journey so far? Anyone trying it out for themselves? Love hearing from you all!
Happy Tuesday!