10 Reasons Why I'm Doing a Spending Fast {Day 2}

Just to catch you up to speed in case you're new here, on a whim I decided to do a year long fast from spending money on myself starting January 1st. No new clothes, beauty products (unless it's a necessity and the LEAST expensive thing in the store: Hello, Suave! Hello, E.L.F.), no services like manicures, pedicures, or hair cuts, and no shoes, absolutely no shoes. But I've had to evaluate this many times and included like journals, books, decorations, furniture as well! I am blogging primarily for accountability because I scam myself and cannot be trusted. Also no latte's or caramel milkshakes or drive-thru anything unless I have a gift-card (I'll list my address below, please send soon) or am with a friend.

Here are 10 Reasons why I started this fast.
(Every Thursday I will be doing a '10 Things Thursday' post because I am trying to be a legit blogger for a month)

1. How much money we spent last year. In December my husband was going through our finances and I was curled up in a ball on the other side of the room with my hands over my ears (because this is how I deal). Looking through all the numbers, he realized that we had spent $X in 2013 and that number to us was asinine. We had not bought a boat, a house, expensive clothes from Barney's, hired a live-in-maid, yet our earnings had gone to a little of this, a little of that all year long. Yes, we still had savings and were not in debt (MAJOR wins!) but we felt deeply, deeply sad at how flippantly we spent our money. My husband is amazing, he works SO hard to provide for us. His attitude is wonderful, he never complains and is always happy (he is in a bad mood like twice a year, and it is usually my fault) so seeing him carry the weight of our financial irresponsibility crushed me.

I started this fast because I wanted to honor and encourage my husband.

2. I cannot, ever, stick to a budget. I do not do 'sacrifice' well. Every month my hubby would question my purchases and I would explain why every one of them was a legit need for the good of our household and all mankind. I thought I was budgeting in my head but my head is stupid and my numbers were way off--- every flippin' time. Mike would sit me down and I would say, "I spent HOW much?" Genuinely shocked at HOW ADDING WORKS, I felt I was frugal compared the rest of America (i.e. the Kardashians) because I shopped sales, loved Target clothes, and still wore some things I bought 10 years ago-- isn't that the definition of fiscal responsibility? Feeling ahead of the curve, I kept spending but those little things add up- surprise!-- this is basic math.

I started this fast to teach myself I can be financially responsible (by SPENDING NOTHING)

3. I started this fast because I can't 'have it all.'  I like to eat out with my girlfriends. I love to vacation. We are still in a phase where we are attendants in weddings. Our house needs fixing up. Due to health issues with my kids and I, we eat healthy (which translates as expensive-- sadly we all know real food costs more than the processed stuff and since my body doesn't tolerate that, our grocery bill is high). The Starbucks drive through makes me feel better on a crappy day. To tell my friends and family I love them, I like to pick out gifts that reflect that. My kids look way cuter in TOMS then Walmart shoes. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching! Yet another shocking revelation, the way I live life is EXPENSIVE! So part of this fast has been learning to prioritize where our money goes and saying 'no' to other things.

4. This girl.

Our culture trains our sweet little people to want nice things, and want them often. An entitled mentality says, "I deserve this, everyone else has it I should get it too." And in steps me, part of the culture, part of the problem, my daughter's picture of what it looks like to be a woman in America. I do not doubt that she will struggle with materialism at some point in her life, we all do-- but I refuse to make things harder on her through my example. I love her too much to not fight this. I realized that I can't start this battle when she is 10 and wants designer jeans that instead I need to start it now, dealing with my own heart. Sigh.

5. My value is not defined by what people think of me. I took some time and really examined WHY I felt like I needed name-brand shoes, purses, jeans. Sometimes yes, it was because it was actually a better product but more often it was because the image I present to others. Because I am such a hot mess, deep down I want others to think that I have it together. Having an expensive purse gives me an edge, I can walk into a group of otherwise intimidating women and feel okay because at least I am bringing something to the table. I have my designer handbag, and that validates me because it means I am financially well-off, have great taste, and possess an item our culture covets. So sick! But it is true and how I have lived for many years.

6. We want to be more generous. 8,000 kids die every day from hunger and we are really fixated right now on whether we are going to put in granite or quartz countertops when we update our kitchen. I am sorry, I do not want to sound judge-y to other people but this is my life and my fast and my struggles (we went with the granite, "for resale value"). If you are struggling with things like this too, solidarity- do not feel condemned, not here and not by me because this is about my spending fast. But we give too much to ourselves at my house and think too little of the very desperate needs we are accountable to meet as human beings (and followers of Jesus).

7. I love Jesus. LOVE Him. I take the things He said seriously. I do not want to discredit Him nor His love for me by how I live and how I spend my money (because He talks about money A LOT in the Gospels). Every day I feel more influenced by my culture and the apps on my iphone than I do the actual Bible. When I read Scripture, I feel convicted because the way I live and the verses I read are opposite. This does not sit well with my spirit nor my soul. So hello, time for a change. *Not every Christian needs to do a spending fast to honor God, this is just where I felt Him directing me at this point in my life.

8. I want to learn new ways of coping with life. When I am having a crappy day, I love to buy something. Instant fix. This is expensive, but maybe not as expensive as therapy-- depending on whether I am at the Gap or Nordstrom. Also this way of living is kind of unhealthy. It is totally okay to go shopping every once and a while as a pick me up but every weekend? Every day? This is not true happiness. Now that I am on this fast, I can eat Ben and Jerry's every time I am having a rough day. This is true happiness because I can stay in my yoga pants and not leave the house.

9. There is a lot of great free stuff out there I am just lazy. I can check out a book from the library but it is way easier to use Amazon one-click and have it delivered to my door. If I need a dress for a wedding, I could borrow from a friend who has dozens but I don't want to impose on her or drive all the way to her house. I could repurpose cheap nightstands from Craigslist instead of ordering new ones from Overstock.com but then there are all the Craiglist e-mails back and forth on where and when to meet and that is annoying. I have a white long sleeve shirt but it is in the laundry and I need it today so I'll run to OldNavy and grab a new one for $8 so I don't have to wash my clothes (this seems fake but I have actually done it). Doing this spending fast has taught me to be way more resourceful, and has made me act like an actual grown-up.

10. I love a good challenge. Because raising two kids under two while my husband is off building bridges is not challenging enough.

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