Jun 2, 2009

Spending Freeze = Brr Cold

It started with an article in Reader's Digest.  (One of the perks of military life=free Reader's Digest)  It describes one family's "No-Buy Experiment":  A quest to live one whole month without spending any money.  It was a great article and I mentioned to Doug maybe we should try it sometime.  (Him="YIPEE!")   Later, I read that my friends did something similar.  I was definitely intrigued, but still not quite motivated.

And then we went to Hawaii.  ($$$)

And I went to Costco AND Target.  (And thoroughly enjoyed both trips:  $$$$$.)

And now I'm motivated.

So we're trying it.

One whole month without spending money.  

Except not really.

We're not doing it quite the same.  We didn't plan ahead so we're still going to have to get groceries and diapers.  But the goal is, nothing extra!!!

  • No on-line shopping at Amazon.
  • No unnecessary BX purchases.
  • No eating out.
  • No on-line shopping at Target.
  • No 100 Yen store. (No 100 Yen Store???!!??)
  • And finally,
  • No on-line shopping.  Period.  (!!!!)

Flashback to Monday; the first day of the month.  Doug had the day off.  We went to the BX to cancel Max's school lunch account.  (He was buying hot lunch just to get the dessert.  Even on days he had a sack lunch.)

On the way in, we walked past Cinnabon.  All of the sudden, I have an overwhelmingly desperate desire for some warm gooey goodness.  Never before had a carton full of saturated fat and high fructose corn syrup seemed so tempting.  The smell almost overwhelmed me.  But alas...I had to walk right on by.  (Fortunately Doug was there to keep me strong.)  

We walked into the main store.  (It's sort of like a Mervyn's...not quite as nice as, say, Kohl's, and nowhere even in the same galaxy as Target.  And yet they sell Coach bags.  So bizarre.) 

Doug headed to Customer Service to take care of the school lunch account.  I took Gabey back to look at the toys.  Soon it was time to go.  And I was empty handed.  It felt very strange.  Very uncomfortable.  I didn't like it at all.  It's not even a place I love to shop, but to leave without buying something felt all wrong!  Doug grabbed my arm and pulled.  It was painful on so many levels.

And then we got in the car.  We had time to kill before Sam got out of school.  It would have been the perfect time to drive off-base for some Ramen and Gyoza with only ONE kid in tow.  But alas.  We were destined for PB&J's at home.  The rest of the day passed in a blur of self-deprivation and self-pity.  

Pathetic, I know, but I never claimed to be a saint!  (Genius, yes! Hard-core Athlete with lightning reflexes?  Of course.  Saint?  No.)

It is now day 4 and I'm staying strong.  I've found it helps to stay in the house but away from the computer.  The trampoline has been a safe-haven, for example.  (Ahh, the trampoline.  One of the best investments we ever made!!!)

I'm a little afraid of going to the grocery store--I don't want to go overboard--but eventually I'm going to have to test my resolve and see if it's possible for me to just buy the necessities.  (i.e. no stock piles of food storage Nutella.)
I'll let you know how it goes.

In the mean time though, I think I'm going to go make Cinnamon Rolls.
Like I said...
I'm no saint.

To cheer me up, tell me some of your tips and tricks for saving money.  I need all the help I can get!!!


Unknown said...

So first of all hard-core athlete?? Uh-huh, since when???!! Seriously...EM! :)
And second, I am of absolutely NO help to you on the spending thing...I have the very same issues, very same addictions and it actually made me a little sad to know YOU walked out of the store empty handed. However I did just finish a week long shopping spree (NOT me) with my sis-in-law from NewZealand, so i a still in de-tox...but I will pray for your strength! xo

Marni said...

Coupons, coupons, coupons...in fact, I think that I can send any expired coupons to the military and you guys can use it for 6 months past the expiration date. Hmmm....I might just do that!

sunsetandcamden said...

Good luck! I seriously loved doing this. I learned so much about myself and why I buy the things I buy (which is usually a really dumb, unnecessary reason to spend money). Unfortunately, our little experiment didn't have the lasting effect that I had hoped and we've fallen right back into our old spending ways. So, this month we're not eating out at all. We'll see how it goes.
Good luck! Stay strong!
Mary Kemp

Jessi said...

we've been on a spending freeze out of necessity for the last 6 months. my survival tactic is to go to the grocery store (and ONLY the grocery store) once a week with a very specific list. i do not look at blogs that showcase products or purchases, and i spend a lot of time forcing myself to be grateful for all of the little things we enjoy. (birds singing, garden growing, good homemade food, and laughter to name a few.)

Pokejane said...

I wonder how that food storage Nutella would taste in cinnamon rolls? I mean, instead of the cinnamon. So, Nutella rolls! I think I am a genius. Is like the time I invented fudginity. (Divinity on top of fudge.) (My Mom told me I couldn't call it that.)

I am trying to distract you from shopping. Is it working?

Beeswax said...

Sorry, pokejane was me

Thora said...

Good luck! Just pretend that Doug is still a student. Or maybe that will just make you depressed, I don't know. My husband is still a student, so I'm already living the Spending Freeze life.

Anonymous said...

wish I had some tips to share. I really need to take this challenge and share it with my hubby so that we might do it.

buy for now said...

not buying nothing extra ?
no monster 57in hdtv or ?
no new japanese car or ?
no pda or pns or gps or ?
no shirts from malaysia or ?
no lead-paint baby cribs from china ?
what, are you trying to destroy the US economy all by your selves ?

good luck. you'll need it. you have been trained to BUY BUY BUY.

bye for now

mCcarthy lives in 2009 said...

my comment may appear AFTER BLOG OWNER APPROVAL ?
selective audience approval.
i'm one of your bigger fans.