Spending Fast Recap: Why I didn't spend money on myself for a year

Does anyone else struggle with greed this time of year? I sure do. For me it comes in sneakily. A few people start asking what my kids and I would want for Christmas. At first, nothing comes to mind. That's silly- I'm a grown up! I have everything I need! Then I find myself a few hours later with 8 tabs open on my computer googling things like "modern women's sweatpants" and "athletic style ponchos" and know that I'm starting to spiral.

Add in my anticipation to have relatives come visit us this holiday season. Honey, please can we re-do the kitchen in the next four weeks? Where is everyone going to sleep? We should buy an extra bed for each room-- outfitted with holiday sheets and decorative pillows, of course! Our Christmas tree looks sad, I found a new on in the Target Christmas Catalog, maybe we'll try a new ornament theme this year!

It definitely applies to my kiddos too as I think about what I'd like to get them for Christmas. My parents really gave us some memorable Christmas mornings as kids, and I get caught up wanting the holidays to be special. I completely forget the meaning of Christmas and all the wonderful free things we can do to create memories-- and instead fixate on monogrammed chairs from Pottery Barn and American Doll accessories.

A few years ago, I got tired of myself. I really did. I started to notice my life revolved around STUFF. I constantly thought about the things I wanted to buy. I spent time shopping for them online, researching items, then running the errands to buy things. Add in the time spent maintaining what I bought (laundering it, organizing it, updating it, replacing it) and really it felt like my life revolved around accumulating, storing, and hoarding possessions. I looked at magazines, Pinterest, and Instagram all of which fueled my desires to update my home, update my wardrobe, update my "image."

That can all sound extreme-- but if you take away this whole system from your life like I did in 2014, you too might notice how much of your heart is tied up in things.

This little habit of mine also began to affect my marriage (here is a whole post I wrote on that) and that's when I knew things had to change. We went from a two income family to one and my spending hadn't changed much. Our monthly conversations about our finances and budget were getting more and more intense and I was running out of excuses as to why I couldn't stick to the parameters we set up. It dawned on me that nothing was worth adding stress to my hubby or taking away time from my kids. God began to expose me to how rich we truly were in comparison to the rest of the world and I no longer felt like the millions of people marginalized and suffering was something I could keep on ignoring while I begged my husband to make room in our budget for that sectional from West Elm.

Knowing myself and how undisciplined I can be, I knew the solution lay in making major changes.

I have been this way my WHOLE life and things weren't going to go away by a little redirection here and there. I needed a heart reorientation and inspiration came through a friend who did a year-long spending fast from clothing, decor, self-care (hair cuts/color, manicures, massages, etc), beauty products (buying something once EVERYTHING ELSE ran out and choosing only the cheapest option). I added into my fast refraining from drive-thru's because I'm addicted to a "quick-fix" if I'm having a bad day via the Starbucks or some Chick-fil-a french fries. I wanted to learn to stop using special snack to self-medicate when I had a crummy day or needing a pick-me-up. This totally isn't bad on occasion but thanks to two kids under two, I was wanting a little boost EVERY DAY!

So I did it! I am writing a little post each day this week to share more with you on how it went and how it reshaped my habits. I am hoping to challenge myself as I start to struggle AGAIN with spending. Recently my husband asked me what I thought we might need to get with his year-end-bonus and my list was LONG and SUPER CRAZY, thus revealing all these little desires I've been storing up in my heart!

Thank you to those who followed with me on my journey back in 2014, encouraging me and holding me accountable and thank you to my new friends and readers who help me destress from life through this little writing outlet, love to all!

1 comment:

  1. YES!!! I was in awe of your journey back in 2014 - someone (I think Katie Evans) told me about you after I announced that I would not be buying any clothes for myself for 90 days (I made it 89). I can totally relate to this post, especially when you said you sense your struggle creeping back. When my MIL asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, I had the hardest time thinking of anything, and then I started dreaming and suddenly the flood gates opened and I now have a list of 10 things to ask her for NEXT Christmas. I really thought I was content...and now I'm fixated on STUFF again (which, like you said, all has to be maintained). Our budget has been pretty tight since my husband changed jobs and our second child was born, so we need to keep ourselves in check for financial reasons, too. Time for a reset!

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