Well, here I am officially more than halfway through my no spend year. July was another month in which I really struggled. Looking back, I think I made excuses and to be completely transparent, I feel like this is the month that I have failed. But, failure equals learning. I am beginning to realize that failing is okay. Not “okay” as in don’t try, but as in failing at something leads you closer to success as it is an opportunity to learn how to do things differently moving forward.
Let’s start by talking about a couple of the “rules” which I made that led to the choices from this month, that looking back I might have done differently. The first rule was that I could buy things for special occasions, unless I already had something that worked. This month, my husband and I took our son – who just graduated from high school – on a special trip to Hawaii to celebrate his accomplishments and to spend time with him before he went off to college. Usually when we have a trip like this, I like to purchase things specifically for the trip. I like to have new outfits that work well for whatever location we are going. The first thing I purchased for this trip was a new backpack. I don’t own a backpack. I usually use an over-sized purse for my carry on item, but we would be doing several hikes which I would need a backpack. With this item, I could have used one of my husbands old backpacks, but that wouldn’t have looked cute/feminine 🙂 so I justified that it was necessary to have my own.
I also chose to buy a few new dresses, as I did not have any lighter colored/summer specific dresses. Looking back, the dresses were not necessary as we ended up getting take out most nights as we were really tired after the long day doing active things. The two times we went out was to very casual restaurants. I also bought a new pair of shorts, as I only had one pair that fit me comfortably. I had gotten rid of several pairs of shorts that didn’t fit me during a closet clean out. I also purchased a linen shirt that I thought would work well in Hawaii – looks and for the climate. Lastly, I purchased a pair of sandals. This was one item that I didn’t really need, but I was going for a specific look and the sandals I owned did not look right with these outfits/dresses. I say I feel like I failed this month because I know I could have done without these items. I had a specific look in mind for this trip, and I justified it by telling myself that these pictures would last a lifetime. Even as I type this, it seems a bit ridiculous, but it’s where my brain was at when purchasing these items.
Another “rule” I gave myself is that I could use gift cards to purchase things. I do have a gift card to an online clothing boutique, which I still have not used. I have sold several pieces on Poshmark, and had “credits” – which I talked myself into believing was like a gift card. I did use my credit to purchase a shirt and a pair of shoes. The shoes in particular have been something I have had my eye on for a long time now, longer than before this no spend year. The shirt I got to replace a similar long sleeve shirt – which I liked but rarely wore since I don’t wear long sleeves often. If I’m cold in the winter I tend to layer instead. I am happy with these purchases, and I feel they fit well in my wardrobe, however in hindsight I’m not sure I should have used the credits like a gift card. Poshmark has been good and bad for me. It has been great to sell my items and get some money back, and knowing the items will be loved by someone else. It has been amazing to get such good deals on items, and it’s always good to buy clothes second hand. HOWEVER, when I go on the app to manage my items I have to force myself to NOT LOOK at what’s available. Moving forward, I would like to use this app, but only to look for something specific. It’s really hard to pass up these good deals! I haven’t fully decided yet if I should continue to look at the money I make as a gift card or not.
I continue to not really struggle with wanting/being tempted by home decor purchases. If anything, I feel like I have plenty and I don’t want more. I am learning to appreciate items I see in the store, and not have this need to take it home with me. We’ll see how I feel this fall as it’s my favorite season and I love all things pumpkin!!
This month has been eye-opening. I have learned what a slippery slope it is in justifying purchases. I feel like I am STILL – 7 months in – not at a place where I feel restrained in my purchases. I want to get to a place where I am completely intentional with my purchases, and after this month I just don’t feel “there” yet. I am hopeful that in the next five months I will continue to learn and grow.
One other thing I find myself noticing over these last 7 months, is consumerism mentality. When I was in it, I don’t think I noticed how time-consuming and distracting it was to my life. Being an “outsider” I notice people’s behavior when I am out shopping. I’m not sure I’m able to put words to what I’ve seen, but the best way I can describe it is like we’re ruled by things – our time, money, thoughts, energy. I don’t want to live this way anymore. I love beautiful things. I like putting outfits together and making my home beautiful, but I don’t want that to dictate my life. My hope is that after this year, my brain will be re-trained!