Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Artfully responsible?

I attended the Madison Chautauqua of the Arts Festival last weekend. I walked miles and saw a lot of wonderful art. The walking was great! It has me ready to get back in the habit. Exercise really does lift one's spirit. It's amazing. I can see why people get addicted to it. Hopefully I can keep the workout sessions at a healthy level. I am well aware that I may replace one form of unhealthy therapy with another. Let's see.....facebook, coffee, but I really don't think I will ever exercise too much.

Back to the temptation - There was a lot to see. A lot to love. Many things I would love to own, but nothing I needed. I found myself trying to rationalize how spending here was more like charity. Helping a starving artist.... IT WAS STILL SPENDING! Spending on things that were definitely NOT NEEDED. I stayed strong and did not buy a single thing. I even resisted a lemon shake-up which I wanted badly.

Instead of my financial support, the artists received my compliments for their work.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Slipped into old habits

I had the pleasure of a rare lunch with out children. It was great. When I was ready to pick them up after my lunch, they weren't back from theirs. I needed a way to kill some time. I didn't have a book to read (which I should begin keeping with me at all times). So....I went to my old stomping (shopping) grounds. I headed for my favorite thrift shop. I thought, I'll just look around and kill some time.

Well, I started to fill up a cart. I had shirts for Zoe (which she doesn't need), tights for Bryn (which she doesn't need), kid size gardening gloves (don't need), books (can get at the library), and my favorite, two wood puzzles (great classic toy that would last forever, but we don't need).

While I was tooling around in the store rationalizing this, putting that back, etc. It again, was all stuff I don't need. The phone rang. Thankfully it was my mom telling me she was back with the kids. She asked where I was. I thought about making up something else. I decided to tell her the truth. I immediately felt like a failure. I wasn't going to ruin almost 9 months of control on all this stuff. I also want to be an inspiration to my mother. I couldn't let her know I had failed.

I put it all back and headed for the door. I proudly reported to her that I didn't buy anything, but was greatly tempted. It was quite therapeutic really!

I experienced the thrill of the hunt and the high of finding things the girls would love. I spent no money and brought nothing else into my already bulging home! What a happy experience.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Good news brings shopping envy!

It's been a struggle since my husband lost his job. Talk about motivation not to spend....the thought of losing your house and vehicle will make you stop spending in a heartbeat! I really thought I needed to become a vegetarian or go on beans and rice diet or something. We didn't need to make such a drastic change however.

My mother's spending habits is what saved us. I do not condone these habits, but they sure saved us. How? Well, we had several very successful garage sales from the stuff stockpiled in her garage. I wish I would have kept track of how much we took in. It was thousands of dollars. She graciously offered us all the profits we made. In the three months my husband was unemployed, we never missed paying a bill. I began babysitting, but that was only $170 per week. Thanks MOM!

While I am so glad she had this for us to fall back on, I am highly motivated to stop needless buying. I hope to get her garage cleaned out and convince her to stop buying!

My husband decided to take a job working at Lowe's. The pay is considerably less than we are accustomed to. At first I was disappointed. Now I am looking at it from a new perspective. Maybe he doesn't need to make more, because I can spend less and still be happy.

However, today, when I went to pick him up (living with one car now), I saw loads of women going into and out of the plant department. I was envious, but resisted. I wondered secretly if they were trying to fill a void in their lives with their shopping habit. I know now, that I was using shopping to avoid things in my life. It also just plain made me feel good. I am growing and spending less. I hope to stop the "shop therapy" legacy with me. I do not want to set this bad example for my girls.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Well, we are 4 days into not having an income. I am wrestling with how much to cut from our food purchases. We eat a lot of fresh food and organic food. Of course, this is the most expensive food. We do have a freezer full of food that will carry us for a while. I have already outlawed all junk food. That will help a little. I can think of little else that will help. My husband is a meat lover and would go nuts if I cut that out. I think he is in for a rude awakening. Beans and rice, here we come!

I found myself at Wal-Mart, a store I usually don't shop. I had gone to take some recycling to their parking lot bins. I went in because I needed a few things for a dish I promised to make for Zoe's school's teacher appreciation lunch (bad timing). Here I am struggling with all this emotional stress...wondering if we will be able to keep our house and so forth. Now I have to cook for other people. UGH! Anyway...as I was walking around, I thought, I am already the biggest cheapskate on the planet. How can I live any cheaper. The first way would be to change our eating habits. I ran the idea by my husband. He said, "we are not changing the way we eat!" I was happy to hear his commitment to our healthy habits, but couldn't help but worry.

The other thing I am struggling with is the need to medicate myself with "treats." I have been hitting the Easter candy pretty hard. Every time I am out driving, I want an iced coffee. I have this idea it will make me feel better. The first few days I was good and refrained. I came home and made a Chai Tea Latte instead or good old Aldi coffee and french vanilla creamer (no more creamer after this one is empty). Today, I had to go to my husbands former employer and pick up his dry cleaning. After I left, I couldn't resist the temptation to stop at McDonald's for a $2.27 cup of Carmel iced coffee. Why in the hell does food and drink make us feel good when we are stressed or angry etc.? I felt horrible driving around drinking this. I felt like I had to ditch the evidence before I got home. I didn't, but I was thinking I needed to cover up my purchase. I rationalized the purchase by saying to myself, "I used my birthday money! Money my mom and dad told me I had to spend on myself."

I feel like I am going crazy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

All the skills practiced are now a necessity!

No spending just became necessity! We were a one income family, now we are a no income family. My husband came home from work this morning at 8:15. It was unusual, but not alarming. I said a simple "what's up?" That's when I found out he was let go from his job. I was surprised at my calm, peaceful reaction. I was able to offer him some comfort and not completely freak out!

I truly believe we will be okay. We don't have the 6 months salary saved up and ready, like the experts recommend. However, I think we will manage. Luckily, I have been practicing tactics that would be a complete shock to most for almost 4 months now. I have managed to not buy anything in four months. The kids are used to that. They won't resent their dad for that, they will just continue to resent me!

When interviewed for a recession focused TV piece, I said something along the lines that this would prepare us for any unseen trials. Now the trial is here. If you are the praying type, please pray that my husband finds a suitable job soon!


Monday, March 16, 2009

The lost art of bartering

My daughter wanted to start piano lessons. I know this isn't a tangible product that would be entering my home. I still felt the need to eliminate the expense. Actually, if I couldn't get it for free, I couldn't afford it.

I found someone that would allow me to barter for lessons. She teaches piano and I iron her husbands shirts while she is giving the lesson. Equal time spent for both of us. I guess she would rather teach piano than iron shirts. Can't blame her.

I don't iron any clothes at home. The sacrifices I make for my children!

My goodness...it's birthday party season!

Well, with one kids party under my belt, now I am challenged to two more within the next two weeks.

The one we attended on Saturday, went very well. Our recycled gifts were very well received. We gave the birthday girl some gently used dress-up clothes that no longer fit my girls. I also threw in a Learning Resources toy that I had purchased, new in the box from Goodwill, prior to my year without buying.

I may have to get a little more creative with all these parties coming up. I just had an idea...I could give the birthday girls a gift certificate for a special day with my daughter. Take the two of them someplace special and treat them to ice cream or a stop at a fancy bakery. I'm not sure I will try that. Most of the kids probably wouldn't get the concept. Back to the drawing board.

I do have a few more items stock piled in the closet. I don't know if it will last all year however.