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Not Buying It | Words with Sox

Many of you have heard about my spending reform activities.  If you haven’t, the short version is ‘no spending of any expected income for 1 month‘ (see the complete rules). Not spending for 40 days starting in August 2008,  No-Spend November in 2009, and Don’t-Spend December for 2010.

It was something that I thought I would do over and over but… well.. I stopped.  I succeeded in my tasks, followed all the rules, and pulled it off in 3 somewhat unique ways.  So why stop?  It’s tough to quite explain unless you’ve done something like this yourself.  When I was interviewed for a Time Magazine blog I was asked what was hardest part.  I referenced an entry from December 14th of that year that hit on it pretty well.

It was an interesting experience wandering around the store. There were so many things I wanted. Lucky Charms, juice, candy, extra pie pans (just in case I need them). But every time I looked at something I thought about the $46.36 in my pocket. I had to make it last. This has been a huge mental fight for me. I refinanced my house and thus got to skip a payment, received a bonus from the state, got a promotion at work that will go into effect in two paychecks, and I can’t spend any of it!!! December is a real challenge, but I know that after this month, I’m going to be proud that I pulled it off, and anything that I buy for myself will be much more rewarding. I just keep reminding myself that I am really lucky. I don’t HAVE to do this. But there are plenty of people that do.

Simply put, it is an emotionally draining experience.  By the end of it, I started feeling hopeless and consumed by the limitations I set upon myself.  I decided that unless I was already in a strong place in my life, I wasn’t going to do it.  This is intended to be a challenge, not punishment.

There’s a few great things that I took from this experience.

  1. The first is that I can do this.  Even though I set the rules, they were tough.  More than I thought I could handle at times.  But I can do it.
  2. You can’t just get by with what you need, sometimes you actually need to get things that you want.  It’s not selfish, it’s just life.
  3. People are really important.  If spending a little money here or there gets you some time to be with them, let yourself do it.

Whatever happens, I keep those things in my head.  I am proud of my accomplishments and I feel no need to prove myself once more.  I get to set the rules you see.  So this was just a new one.

 

One Response to Not Buying It

  1. Ann says:

    I agree! During a 39 month unemployment (yikes!) I learned to really discern between “wants” and “needs” – skills that I keep with me in my financial toolbag that I can pull out and put to use when it makes sense. It helps me reign in when I do decide to spend money that I do so with full intention to use and enjoy what ever it is I’ve purchased or paid for. The spending of money is an investment in my living a satisfying and joyful life. 🙂

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