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! http://angelabarton.com/blog/

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!

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