Month FOUR in Summary

If you are new here, WELCOME! I am in month four of a spending fast where I am not buying myself anything for a year. April was definitely the hardest month for me. Mainly because I felt stressed and was in full-blown avoiding hard things mode (because we moved) so this made me want to shop, like in a crazy person way.

Five observations about April:

1. Target wants to take me down.

It's the furniture people, the furniture. Has anyone seen it lately? I feel like for years, there were not a lot of good affordable options for furniture. Either you had to buy something that you could afford that was junky, or you could shell out the big bucks at a specialty shop. But now there are these great middle of the road options and I want them all. As someone who likes to re-do furniture, I used to always see things and think, "I could make that." But now I see things that make me think with the cost of paint and labor, doing it myself wouldn't be worth it. Here are some items I've been coveting, deep deep in my heart! They are floating around my mind all the live long day.
These stools can help me make sense of a confusing bar set up we have, pictures to come! On sale for $49 a piece
Tufted accent chair, part of Target's Spring sale!
This beauty is just $119 right now!

What purpose does a console table really serve other than taking up space? I don't care! I want one!

This would be a great end table or night stand! 

2. What I wear to weddings is less of a big deal than I thought.
It is wedding season and apparently I will be wearing my bathrobe to everything because none of my dresses fit. I love a good wedding, and really, they are all good, I never met one I didn't like. Now that we have little people, I appreciate weddings all the more because the invites often don't include kids! So there it is, set on the calendar, twice in April, twice in May, built in date nights for my hubby and I. 

But, in my all encompassing vanity, I do not like to wear anything that I do not LOVE nor feel like I look GREAT in to a wedding. I just feels like a waste of a good outing! God apparently wants to chip away at this part of my heart because I do not like any of my dresses nor do they fit. 

Due to some recent reshaping (deflating may be a better word), I needed to do some bra shopping. I received the approval from my mini-council of friends that this did not, in fact, violate my spending fast because bras are a necessity. My fav place to go for this adventure is Nordstrom Rack in Naperville. They have the best variety and value. I can always find an $80 bra for under $30. After Lou was born, my mom bought me one that I have never worn and kept that tags on. Nordstrom Rack will take anything back no matter what the time frame as long as you have the receipt! 

I exchanged it and with the $31 credit I had, bought this Eliza J dress for $29.

I wore it last weekend to my sweet friend Abby's wedding and it was fine! That morning, I felt really frumpy and momish looking. If I hadn't been on a spending fast, I would have gone shopping for something else. So much time! So much money! Instead I was "stuck" with what I had. And you know what? When I got there, I didn't mind at all. For once, I cared way more about connecting with my friends and celebrating Abby's marriage than I did about how I looked and what parts of my body were being hidden versus displayed. I might have been a little under dressed, but it was a cold day so the sleeves worked! 
I know, I know, not the best picture but I had to share. These ladies are not only beautiful but smart, funny, kind, and all around awesome. Blessed to have such good relationships with my friends from high school! Brittany on my left is due with Baby Girl any day now, she was such a trooper!
Abby and Ross!
3. Borrowing things is so much fun, easy, and people genuinely don't mind.

I also normally would've bought a necklace to dress my little number up. Instead, I borrowed one from my mom's best friend Jane. And my favorite part about borrowing the necklace, was Jane came over to show me all the options she had and then she stayed for dinner. We laughed and visited and it was just THE BEST. 

I don't know why I don't ask people to borrow things more often. If it is someone you are friends with, they are usually more than willing. I know I often guilty feel guilty about how much excess I have, and I personally love to share things whenever I can. One reason I don't borrow often is the "hassle" of going to someone's house, picking up the item, and returning it. For some reason, shopping always seems "easier." 

I have been especially grateful to borrow books from people. What a waste it is (environmentally as well) to buy a book before asking around to see if your friends already have a copy. My issue is that I am a note taker when I read, I always keep a pencil next to me and jot things down in the margins. When I am using a friend's or a library's book, I fold up a sheet of computer paper and use that instead. 

So does anyone want to loan me some accent chairs? A console table? A live-in-nanny? 

4. If you save up money to buy furniture, but then you are reminded you are in the middle of a spending fast, then God will likely compel you to give it away.

I don't need to elaborate too much on this one, but over the past few months, instead of spending money that came my way, I began setting it aside. Most of it came from my crazy spring break week where I filled in as a day-care lady for my friends, some came from selling things on Craigslist, and the rest from my mother-in-law who generously sends us money for Valentine's Day and our anniversary to go out on dates. I decided I could justify buying a few things for a new house under the guise that I needed to spruce the place up as we were going to "stage" it before putting it on the market this summer. A few accent chairs, nightstands, curtains, and lamps were on my list. 

But I quickly got soooo freaky about this money, and began spending a LOT of time online trying to decide how to spend it. Bam! I felt just as consumed about buying things as I did back in January. I am in deep! So the money is off the table now and God has purposed it for better things. 

5. Shopping is not life-giving.
After living in a small town for a year where the closest mall was an hour away, it is nice to be one traffic light away from my favorite department store. However, I'd rather be in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by friends every day of the week than able to be inside a Gap in less than five minutes. True story. 

But friendships aside!-- The food options! So much better. My stomach drama makes it so that I cannot eat out, so picking something off the cuff is usually not an option. Following the Paleo diet for health reasons had limited my options in our little Iowa town to a bunless hamburger at McDonalds (blah!) or a Tuna unwich from Jimmy Johns (a step above blah!). Now that we're back in Des Moines, I am verrrry thankful to have access to a greater selection of food. On Tuesday the little ones were freaking, I was starving, and so off to Whole Foods we went. It was like walking into paradise, literally, a cool mist and a huge display of tropical flowers greeted us upon walking in. My children had samples for lunch, classy, while I walked around blissfully eating a Larabar I hadn't paid for yet.
They thought it was so fun to share the front seat of the cart at CostCo, and this kiss was unprompted. So was the screaming and hair pulling that began 10 minutes into our trip and lasted past check-out. Sheeeeesh!
Every morning we have had a different outing to a nearby store, CostCo to stock up on basics, World Market to buy shower curtains, Target for toothpaste, today we are off to Trader Joe's to get their hot dogs, we love them. But we will probably run out of money if we keep this daily shopping gig up, so next week Operation Friendship commences. I will be desperately trolling through the neighborhood with my cute children and my desperate please-be-my-friend face. A nearby church has a mom's group that meets on Wednesday morning so I'll of course just be inviting myself to that. I've been searching online too for any summer activities that involve childcare because we know I will not be spending time entertaining my kids in our backyard (garter snakes! I die!)
My goal for the week was to get all the necessary boxes unpacked and the furniture in its proper place, accomplished!
April brought so much change and all I wanted to do was "check out." I felt like I never had the mental energy to do anything worthwhile nor engaging when I had a break. 

May, I am so glad to meet you. Please bring lots of warm weather, new friendships, and peace of mind. I am really going to fight this month to spend less time on the computer and my i-phone. 

Thanks for reading! I will still be blogging once or twice a week throughout the summer. Love! 

3 comments:

  1. Great job Ally, loved the post! I am officially done with my fast, and that feels just as weird as it did when I started it in November....make sense? Sort of like, now what? But I look back and see how much God has grown me and I am so happy that I stuck with it...you will be too...just not yet ;)

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  2. It was nice reading your update, and I'm VERY impressed that you're keeping it up. I too have walked passed the cute furniture at Target and redecorated my house in my head. It must have been extremely difficult after moving into a new house. Also, the website "Meet Up" is a great way to meet other moms in the area. Good luck with the rest of your fast.

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  3. I'm SO with you on the borrowing thing! I love lending (loaning? Is one more correct than the other?) and I love borrowing. So feel free to take the shirt off my back. I'll love you for it.

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