Monday, January 10, 2011

Lead me not into Temptation; I can find it all by myself!

Old habits die hard (ain't it the truth!) and new ones take 30 days to make. So, let's call this "not shopping for a year" promise a work in progress...

Day 6: Hurray! My company and I are being interviewed this morning on TV! Many check lists are going off at once... Office cleaned & straight? Thanks Marla & Patty! Props for showing off Padibbles in perfection? All collected and loaded in the car the night before? I wanted to make cupcakes to show off our darling "Hey Cupcake!" series - and my sweet hubbie didn't get the message in time. So, quick, stop off at a good bakery (or Whole Foods) to get pretty ones for the shoot! And, because I'm so nervous, I stopped at another local gourmet market to get another cupcake option.

Should have avoided this place like the plague!

I walk in the door, and the first sign I see says "75% off!" and it's all this really cute and great Christmas stuff - paper napkins, some decorations, etc. And, at "pennies on the dollar" it's so tempting. Really, what could it hurt? Right? So, I grab a couple without even thinking about it (this is my problem!!!) and head to the cashier.

And, this action never crosses my mind the rest of the day. After all, I've done this most of my life. Knee-jerk, impulse purchases are meant to be just that easy. I didn't even remember buying them, or the $6 extra dollars I had spent. Or, at least I didn't until I got home that night, and pulled the package out of my car to bring inside the house (and show my husband). Gulp...

But, it's only $6 bucks, right? Wrong!

My husband is not furious. Worse. He is disappointed. He looks at me with a turned down mouth and disappointment in his eyes. My heart sinks. Not only was this a stupid purchase, it was dumb. It was wasteful. Aren't I part owner of a paper napkin company? It was foolish! If I spent an extra $6 a day, that's $42 a week, or $180 a month, and $2,190.00 a year!!

The next time I think "It's only $6. What could it hurt?"... the answer is MORE THAN YOU KNOW! It all adds up! And, it adds up fast! Really fast!

So, I've screwed up and gave it 100% effort. Since then, I'm back on the wagon. I'm trying to head to Atlanta (for me, Shopping Capital of the USA) to a gift show. My checkbook is safely at home, and I've taken enough money to buy meals and parking, and that's it.

And, just to show you I'm not spending, I was called for buying Girl Scout Cookies, and politely declined. Now, if that's not a good thing, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Year Without Spending ...

Yesterday, I was on Facebook, looking at Sunset Magazine.

Sunset asked the question: " What are your New Years resolutions for 2011?" And, I responded with "To not spend any discretionary money on clothes, make up, shoes, home decor, tabletop, or gifts! To live with and use what I have!" Within minutes, 4 people "liked" or agreed with my answer.

Seems like a lofty, pie-in-the-sky, would-if-I-could promise that could be near-impossible to keep. Really?? 365 whole days of not shopping? WHY? And, considering that my family calls me "Granny Good-wish" and "Shops-with-a-Fist", what's going on?

I've worked in the gift industry since I was 16, and have been surrounded by beautiful new things all those year - & surrounded at a pretty nice discount! From home decor, to tabletop, my family & friends have enjoyed the ability to declare "this is what I want" (loudly or with subtlety) and I have delighted in knowing what to give them! It has felt like a little added bonus, like being able to grant them a wish, or make a dream come true.

I love giving gifts! As a dear friend who has known me all my life once explained, giving gifts is my "love language". I'm thrilled to be able to give someone the item of their desire, to add to their collection, to beautify their home. In my home, I feel surrounded by the beautiful and thoughtful gifts my friends & family have generously given to me and my husband over the years. The chair, the vase, the artwork, the china, even the silver tomato server instantly floods my memory with sweet thoughts of the person who gave it to me. And, I have believed that the reverse was true; that my friends felt the same about the gifts I gave them... until recently, when I found out not everyone thinks this way.

However, this decision is primarily an economic one! About 2 years ago, I was laid off. And, during that financially difficult time, my husband asked that I "limit" shopping and gift giving. This was pretty easy, because I could still "shop"... like a little addiction ... and not go "cold turkey". But now, after starting a new company, I have zero income, and thus, zero reasons to shop, period! It is time to "wake up and smell the coffee" - and be responsible.

What does "not shopping" mean?
I will not spend any money in the year 2011 on discretionary purchases; clothing, underwear, make-up, shoes, home accessories, home decor, tabletop, or gifts of any kind. Period! If my mascara gets old or smells bad, I will go without. I will wear out my underwear and socks! I mean "religious", holey, and plain used-up!
I will repair before ever considering replacing! Sewing & mending will be my new standard!
I will learn to give myself a mani-pedi! I will throw parties at home using the pretty things I already have! And, for special gifts for folks, I will give something that I already have, and gift it to them! Nothing can be more special than giving a young teen a piece of jewelry that was yours, or a pretty scarf to a friend that you no longer wear.

You are asking "Well, you didn't say anything about eating out!" You're right... and I'm not eating out lunch this year! At all! I will bring my lunch to work every day (even a beverage!). The only thing I will do is eat out when traveling (out of necessity). That's the line!

I remember some years ago that a woman from NYC was profiled on a network news program because she decided to not spend any money for a solid year on discretionary purchases. This was a revolutionary action! At that time, the economy was pretty darn solid, and it seemed ridiculous for anyone to stop shopping! She even used the same mascara for a year (OK - this is where I draw the line.... that's not safe... just go without!) And, I found another blogger, Angela Barton, who did not spend in 2009! Good for you Angela!

This is a serious pledge! It's not about carbon footprint, or being a vegetarian, or living a greener way? It's about dollars and
sensibility! Wonder how much money we'll save, and how far we'll be able to keep out of debt!

I'll keep this blog and let you know how it's going. So far, it's January 4th, and $0 has been spent so far. 361 days to go!