Unsolicited Advice to Those of You Considering a Spending Fast in 2015!

{3 Days left in my little project!}

I just don't even care because I write this to you from the-land-of-never-ending-sickness. Who thinks about shopping when they have two toddlers who walk around the world absorbing every germ and flu-bug that comes their way (maybe I should make them stop licking the shopping cart?)

It is more than just the sick kids, there are definitely a few things I want to buy and you will hear all about that later, but I genuinely don't mind that the Spending Fast is almost over. This year has gone by SO FAST.

Several people have mentioned to me that they're considering doing a fast for this upcoming year and let me just give you a small piece of advice- GO FOR IT! When I decided to do this during Christmas 2013, I casually mentioned it to my family as we were opening presents. They literally LAUGHED in my face, which solidified my decision that this experiment was a good idea. 

I did not go out and buy a bunch of things as a final 2013 shopping spree, I did not make some crazy spreadsheet on what I would need to buy in advance to last me through the year, I just did it.

So do it! I could not be happier with this past year. I can honestly say this has been one of the best years of my life. Maybe that has to do with the spending fast, maybe not. Who can say, but I do know I have been more tuned in with my friendships, my marriage, my children, and my relationship with God and perhaps that has to do with drowning out all the NOISE that advertising, online shopping, and consuming stuff brings into one's life. 

I would probably go ahead and say that I would do this for another year but forget it, Mama needs some new shoes!

Here is my advice if you are considering doing a fast for 2015:

1. Don't include hair products in your fast, I have a straw mop on top of my head. If you want to find me at 10am on January 1st, I will be at Ulta buying a liter of Pureology Hydrate Conditioner. 

2. If there is ANY CHANCE you will join a gym in 2015, do yourself a favor and buy some workout clothes in the next few days so you do not have to rotate between a pair of pants with brown paint on the knees (looked liked I sat on some poop) and a pair of running shorts that had yellow paint streaked across the butt.

3. Save those gift cards! I lived off of a few gift cards I got for Christmas 2013 throughout the past year and they made purchasing a few special things very fun. It was always a good challenge to stay UNDER the gift card amount (who woulda thought?!) so I have several laying around that have a dollar or less left on them!

4. Your birthday, anniversary, Mother's Day, and Valentine's Day will all take the pressure off of your fast! In the past, I didn't care what I got for a gift on holidays because I bought myself whatever I wanted the other 364 days of the year. You can bet 2014 was different-- my husband got an itemized list with links e-mailed to him a week before every special occasion (which he generally ignored).

5. Be careful for areas you will compensate in- My kids got some pretty awesome toys/shoes/clothes as a result of Mommy not being able to spend any money on herself. Anyone who had a wedding/shower/birthday this year benefited as well as I enjoyed shopping for gifts. A friend who did this fast in 2012 gained 12 lbs because she ended up eating more than usual. 

We all have an empty pit in our lives that we want to fill with stuff/alcohol/relationships/work so beware if you take away shopping, you will find another distraction to take its place. I really struggled with this the first 3 months of my fast but there were different things I did to find some healing and solace, it was awesome (and hopefully life-changing).

6. Check your pockets- I ruined several of my favorite clothing items washing my clothes with crayons in my pockets THREE DIFFERENT TIMES. I couldn't replace those clothing items so this whole experience was truly devastating in all the ways. 

7. Make sure if you fast from coffee-runs or eating out, you give yourself a nice loophole- My loophole in this area was that I could get Starbucks IF I WAS SHARING IT WITH SOMEONE ELSE. Do you have any idea how many people benefited from this clause? "Oh hello Mr. Plumber here to fix my sink, you look like you could use an extra hot, two-pump Peppermint Mocha, I'll be back in a jiffy!" Half the play-dates I took the kids to this year, I brought that mama a coffee just because I'm that great of a friend. Loophole! Everyone get yourself one!  

8. Create some form of accountability- I could write a book called, Things I Almost Bought: A Saga. If I hadn't been doing this blog, I KNOW I would have broken it because I am such a cheater. 

Okay for the sake of transparency I cheated 3 times this year:

a. On a Saturday this summer we were going to a wedding and I had nothing to wear. I got in my car, drove to TJMaxx, bought a black dress, and was home 15 minutes later. I wore the dress that night and called my friend Katie the next Saturday morning to shamefully fess up. Bless the woman- she BOUGHT the dress from me to wear to her photoshoots, so it only kind of counts as cheating! A friend like this is KEY to the fast!  

b. Mike bought me a headboard for our bed. I texted him and said, "Okay it's $X amount" and he said, "Buy it." But when I went to check-out online, it was 30% off-- so I bought some cute throw blankets and these hot bookends to keep the price at the approved $X. YIKES! SORRY GUYS!

c. We sold an ugly armchair for $60 on Craigslist, I took the money straight to Target and bought this star mirror I had my eye on for months. I call it The Sinner's Star. It sits on my mantle (right next to Baby Jesus in his little manger, great) and for weeks I put it out before guests came over, then hid it under the couch every night when Mike came home (because he is The Rule Nazi, we are a match made in Heaven).

I forgot to put it away one day, but he still hasn't noticed nor has he asked about the $60. So apparently my husband should have some trust issues with me and my spending, even post-fast, good thing he doesn't read my blog!

If your accountability doesn't include a blog, have a few friends you e-mail every month and let them know how your fast is going. You don't need to spill your guts to the world, just weirdos like me do that! 

So if you are even considering doing a fast, just go for it! What if a year could change the course of the rest of your life? I am a weak-willed woman, so it is likely that all my big talk won't sound so convincing the second week of January when I FINALLY have a pair of booties and some new duds! 

More on how my fast has been beneficial to come in the next few days-- if my kids ever stop being sick! 

9 comments:

  1. Love this so much! What a great friend to buy that dress from you! Here's hpping everyone feels better soon!

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  2. I love hearing your update on the spending fast! It's incredible the idols that are revealed in our lives in unexpected ways. It's interesting to hear what your struggles were and to think about what mine might be. Since I don't drink coffee, Starbucks wouldn't be an issue, but I would really struggle with giving up ice cream or chocolate:)

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