“The No Spend Challenge” is not a new idea. Blogs written from all over the world, are praising the practice, and most have reported the ban to be quite beneficial. I have personally read accounts from some who were so successful, that they added days to their original chosen time frame. The months or years of consuming less, have allowed them to save a great deal of money or pay off debt. For my original challenge I chose thirty days and yesterday was “Day One”. From a calendar perspective, June 16th is one of the three hardest days for me to get through. I won’t go into the details, as they are not relevant to this post. I will say though, that historically, I spend a great deal of money on those yearly reoccurring days, and so it seemed like a great day for a new beginning.
My daughter and I had already planned to spend that day together. The days activities were chosen long before I decided it was time for a radical change. We spoke a few times about our excitement, which centered around a day of shopping. Rather than go through the motion now of changing our plans, I decided to test my resolve. I had three items from my approved list I needed to pick up. Two gifts and a replacement clothing item. We loaded up early in the morning and headed into a neighboring city. The town I used to live in, and the one in which she still resides, is barren of malls. There are several tiny discount stores and only one mass retailer. For the next 38 miles we chatted along, as she drove to our first stop to pick up some t-shirts from one of her customers. She cuts squares out of old clothing (mostly t-shirts) and transforms them into warmth and comfort.
I had previously chose the most expensive mall in town as our first stop. after her business was completed. I knew it would be easier not to buy anything there, as my budget was tight. I don’t normally wear jewelry everyday and on some days none at all. That made the first store a no-brain er. The clothing they carried was not in my size range and definitely not my style. “I really set this up right”, I thought to myself. I chose stores she loved, but I had no interest in. However, once we arrived at one of the biggest retail bookstores in the country, I knew I had made a mistake, as the fog settled in.
I haven’t been to that particular store or any other since I vastly changed my literary topic of interest. My new love of self-help books, has overran my reading app. My days are filled with suggestions of what to read from like-minded individuals, as well as my inbox assaulted with deeply discounted or free titles. I also belong to an internet library of books I can borrow at any time. My curated collection has landed books on my ban list for the next month. I expect that to continue for a while. None of the digital enticements, were a match for the combined smell of freshly printed books and brewing coffee. Being able to hold a book in my hand and the power of having them congregated in one neat collection was exhilarating! However, I was on a mission to gift a book, and this intoxication was leading me away from my mission.
To regain control, I whipped out my camera and began to photograph the titles. My plan was to make a list for a rainy day, one in which I encountered an empty Que. On that day I vow to only borrow works from a library, or use a gift card that someone has given me as a gift. It felt good to have formed a plan. To reel myself in and go buy that gift. To walk proudly to the checkout, handing the clerk only what I had planned to buy. This plan was good for books, but what about clothes? Well, that did not go as well as the books.
Our quest finally led to one of my favorite retailers, their summer line adorned their windows. Understand, I have more than enough summer clothes. As a matter of fact, I have so many, that this week I have to redo my Project 333. I entered the store anyway as I needed to buy that clothing item, and headed to the corner. It took less than five minutes until I was standing at the checkout. However, I became bored waiting in the long line, and with sale tags and coupons everywhere, I withered away. I started criticizing my current wardrobe that I was happy with only this morning. I imagined myself being thinner and more beautiful in the clothing the mannequins wore. I would have more fun, and people would compliment me on my excellent style.
Leaving the safety of the register was a mistake, and I had realized it too late. I knew I was in trouble, so I grabbed my daughter by the hand and asked her to walk with me back to the checkout. I’m glad she was there and I sent up a silent prayer that I wouldn’t need to return to that store again until my ban was over and I was stronger. After I picked up my last gift, we left and headed home.
My sub-conscience knew I couldn’t handle it, but yet I proceeded toward the danger anyway. I flirted with fast fashion and almost lost. I bargained that morning that the trip would be a good trial run for our upcoming vacation, but the truth is, I should have suggested something less tantalizing. It’s wasn’t worth turning back and losing what I planned so hard for. For now though, with my daughter’s help I survived day one. I was happy to spend time with her no matter what pitfalls occurred.
Ask yourself the next time your standing in a long checkout line, why there aren’t as many cashiers as there used to be? What about point of sale ordering? This lengthens the line even more. It’s a nice service that appears helpful on the outside. However, people get fidgety and start to gaze at the prominently placed extras. Oh, and where did that coupon on the end of the counter come from? It looks like someone left it, but we all know how it got there. Now you can afford to pick up something extra, you have a coupon! Boredom forces you to make decisions you wouldn’t have made if you were in and out of the store in a flash. Do you think any of this is an accident? Are customers angry from standing in long lines when they just acquired an extra item? One they had been eyeing, but couldn’t afford until the percentage off showed up.
My Shopping Companion for the day! I’m the proud Momma of a Teacher!