A Year Of Less : Day One

Good Morning Lovely Readers:

Our summer nights have been filled with baseball and chill evenings.

After our littles go to bed I can be found coloring with a mocktail

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or reading one of the latest self help/ improvement books I’ve requested from the library.

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A particular book that I finished this week was entitled ‘A Year Of Less’ by Cait Flanders.  As a recent sober 27 year old, she woke up to find herself in $30,000.00 credit card debt, an extra 30 lbs added to her waistline- and consuming items and food instead of her former booze indulgence.  Vowing to make a different life for herself she embarked on a year long shopping ban to improve her life and her habits.

This book struck me because as a recent sober gal I can honestly say I’ve been less mindful of my spending the last couple months.  Don’t get me wrong I consider myself a pretty frugal person literally going straight to the Clearance section in any store I go- but if I’m being transparent I can totally see how I’ve replaced some of vices perhaps with slightly healthier but still vices.

For example:

Boxes of clearance personal hygiene items can be found in our bathroom ranging from razors, face creams, make up, bath items, toothpaste, deodorant… and so much more.

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I have months worth of items… that yes I’ll use- but do I need ALL of these items?   No   Will I use all of them before they expire, go bad, or I forget I have them?  Unfortunately probably not.

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I can see the same purchases spilling over to groceries- an excess- but this time to fill a replacement for booze which I truly believe I very much needed to get me over the first initial month sober hump.  I have a sparkling water supply for days- and because of this I have them less mindfully- taking them for granted- forgetting to stop and really taste the various flavors.

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In the process of being more self aware- I have been inspired to start my own Year Long Shopping Ban in order to reset a healthier approach when it comes to finances and wants vs needs.

Today marks the first of June – coincidence I think not.

In her book, Cait analyses past months of purchases and comes up with a list of Approved and Non Approved purchases so over the last couple days I have taken the time to do the same and thought I would share in the name of accountability.

Approved Purchases:

  • Back To School Shopping for Kiddos (only items they truly need- and only at Savers 50% tax free weekend)
  • Prior planned Trips (Hubby and I are doing a little getaway for anniversary soon, LEGOLAND with kids for the 4th of July, Trip with a friend to Colorado to help shoot a wedding)
  • Our Sons Pool Party- and Pool Admission Passes
  • Gift for others (Christmas, birthdays)
  • Groceries (typical menu items)
  • Workout Classes ($5 a class 2 x a week)
  • Tattoo Appt Scheduled (4 hours in Oct and March)
  • Toiletries (when run out)

Non Approved Purchases:

  • candles/ home décor items / home improvement items
  • la crox / na beer / coffee creamer
  • essential oils / Epsom salts / face lotions
  • books (bring on more trips to the library)/ non essential amazon purchases
  • Starbucks / fancy coffee for home (Folgers in bulk it is)
  • Goodwill trips / garage sales
  • craft supplies
  • haircuts & hair dye (more so I can be committed to grow my hair out)
  • eating out (unless for a birthday or special occasion)
  • Cheap kid toys
  • Clothes or jewelery
  • Meal Replacement shakes or bars

The hubby is mostly on board with this as well.  He is not the spender in this relationship so there is little adjustment on his part. We plan to put the money aside to bump our emergency fund and then throw the rest into our retirement accounts.

I look forward to this challenge- because one it will challenge my ‘why’.  Why do I want to buy a specific item and if I truly need it?

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In challenging myself to not shop for an entire year, I was setting myself up either for failure or for the most prosperous year of my life, and I’m happy to say it was the latter,  Throughout the entire journey, I was forced to slow down, discover my triggers to spend and to over consume, and face and change my bad habits.  I gave up the things marketers try to convince us we should want in life: the newest and greatest of everything, anything that can fix our problems, and whatever is in style. I exchange it all for basic necessities and, after a year of not being able to buy anything new, realized that was all I needed.  That was all anybody needed.  I had always been stuck in the cycle of wanting more, buying more, and then needing more money.  The ban uncovered the truth, which was that when you decide to want less, you can buy less and, ultimately, need less money.

and two- it will be such a great reminder to remember what truly matters in life- don’t cost money.

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Like time and memories made with your family.

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Today begins our journey and I hope you stay along for the ride and all the lessons I will learn and share throughout.

One of the greatest lessons I learned during these years (yes she did more than one) is that whenever you’re thinking of binging, it’s usually because some part of you or your life feels like it’s lacking-and nothing you drink, eat, or buy can fix it.  I know, because I’ve tried it all and none of it worked.  Instead, you have to simplify, strip things away, and figure out what’s really going on.  Falling into the cycle of wanting more, consuming more, and needing even more won’t help.

More was never the answer.  The answer, it turned out, was less.

That’s all until next time.

Hippie

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