17 February 2014

A January Spending Freeze

Tell me  I'm not alone:

After Christmas (which is my VERY favorite holiday), I'm just about over it.  

I'm not sure if it's the extra decorations or the extra cookies, but once January hits, I am in need of a pretty serious cleanse.  I crave clean surfaces, meals at home, and a little bit of quiet - in all senses.

This January, as a response to my post-holiday stuff-bulge, I decided to challenge myself with a spending freeze.  You've seen other online friends do the same thing... Nancy, Lara.

If you do a spending freeze (or a cleanse or personal challenge of any kind), I think you should do it for your own reasons, not someone else's.  So before I began, I jotted a mental list of what I wanted the freeze to be all about.  Here's what I came up with:
  • It's for January
  • It's for simplicity
  • It's to save money
  • It's to delay gratification
  • It's so I can use what I have
  • It's because I'm tired of random stuff
  • It's for discipline
  • It's because I don't actually need many of the things that I buy
  • It's for thankfulness
I successfully finished my freeze (with a couple pre-planned exceptions like a gown for the Junior League's 25th Anniversary Gala - I rented my red Badgley Mischka stunner from Rent the Runway and a spray tan for the same), and have hardly felt better.  It feels good so complete something that's kind of hard but good, doesn't it? As the month progressed, I paid special attention to the times it was hardest. Here's what I learned:
  • Target is a money spending dollar grabbing black hole.  I do almost all my grocery shopping (which was not part of the freeze for me) at our local Super Target, and that home decor area is like an evil little super-powered magnet. I found the best thing for me was to stay away from that part of the store. No problem. If I can't see it, I can't buy it. 
  • Holiday clearance is tempting. But I don't NEED (or have room to store) any more holiday decor. So I walked on by. AND IT HURT SO GOOD.
  • There is an element to shopping that is therapeutic. And that's not really so good.  By focusing on thankfulness and simplicity, I loosed that therapeutic power, and mid-way through February (a non-spending freeze month), I'm happy as a clam without the extra junk.
I'd love to hear from you if you've completed a freeze or fast like this.  Here's to more thankfulness and simplicity and less mental clutter!