I'm going to be honest, I like to spend money. It doesn't really matter what it is that I'm buying with my money, it could be anything from groceries to personal care products to a cup of coffee. All that I know is, if I'm spending my cash, then I'm happy. I know I'm not alone in this struggle (I want to be clear that I am partially joking when I say it is my drug, drug, alcohol and gambling addiction is no joke so please take this post with a grain of salt) across the globe consumers drive the economy forward and without that we probably be in big trouble but my trouble is trying to control my urge to need to buy something. I shop because I am bored and it has always been my escape, I shop when things happen in my life that are beyond my control (remember that line from the movie Clueless? "Cher's main thrill in life is a makeover. it gives her a sense of control in a world full of chaos." Well that's me and shopping, we just "get" one another.)
In the past this spending wasn't a problem because I worked and lived at home with very little financial responsibility and so I could blow all of my pay cheque at the mall without consequence. Then I discovered credit cards and got a little out of control, but who doesn't right? Well add student loan debt and then a car loan and things get a little scary. Don't fret for me though, I buckled down and paid everything off, but my need for shopping still continued through the years. I've always tried to become more frugal, to be more in control of my spending, to track my purchases, to save and wait for things that I want, but alas I have almost always given in to the inner shopaholic, who will not be denied that thrill. The thrill of wanting something, of researching it, tracking it down, buying it, carrying it home in the new bag and packaging, of opening that item and using it or wearing it, of telling people about this great thing that I just bought and love, it's intoxicating. It's a problem.
The problem was clear to me this past year, the amount of things I bought for myself, for my daughters and also the things my husband bought for himself (we are pretty well cut from the same cloth) our house was full of stuff, some was needed (consumables) some was not (way too many shitty Kinder surprise egg toys), and then there was all the stuff we already had from years past. I did my best to purge the house before Christmas happened, to sell, donate or chuck all the things that no longer held meaning for us. It was an arduous but successful and freeing task that left our house a little lighter, less cluttered and our wallets a little more full.
We resolved that this year would be different, this year was #frugal2016, it was the year to spend less, save more, and reduce our household expenses, to live on less. So far I haven't made any personal purchases, nor have I bought anything for the girls but it's only been a few weeks since the new year and I'll admit I've filled a few online shopping carts (online shopping has become my preferred option for spending as my two kids do not make good shopping buddies) and I have talked myself out of more than a few unnecessary purchases by saying I'll buy it another time, later, it's not going anywhere after all.
Do I miss the days where I could blow all my money on clothes? Yes. Do I wish I could be frugal and love it? Yes. Do I think this whole year of restrictive spending will be tough for us? No shit. What I do know is that I want to teach my girls to appreciate money, to save it and spend on only quality things that are needed and will enhance their experience of life, otherwise it's just not worth it.