Friday, January 7, 2011

No shopping update

I didn't really recap my "no shopping" plan in December, so I wanted to cover that & talk about my plans to keep myself motivated!

As background, I have several reasons for wanting to stop shopping this year. 1) I already have plenty. Really. Plenty. Plenty of clothes, plenty of shoes, plenty of makeup. For the most part, so do the boys. I'm sure a few things will pop up as they grow out of sizes, & I will of course replace what they need. But, I also overbuy for them, so I am not going to be picking up random things in stores because they are "a  good deal." Half the time, I get home and find that the boys already have plenty of that item, which makes the "good deal", a complete waste of money. 2) I find that I enjoy what I have when I focus less on purchasing. I also get much more creative with my outfits when I am not constantly on the look out for something new. 3) Buying new clothes has been an excuse when I gain weight & can't fit into my old clothes. It's both a waste of money and supportive of something that I no longer want to do. I have plenty of clothes that fit, and I will be losing weight, enabling me to fit into other things in my closet that I currently can't wear. I have plenty. 4) I tend to lose all sense of self-control when I shop. I may go in for something I need, but walk out with ten other items that were on sale and "a good deal", but that I didn't need. Clearly, they are not a good deal & waste money. 5) I want my focus to be on experiences, rather than material goods. I would much prefer to spend money taking the boys skiing, signing them up for lessons, taking them on a day trip, etc. And, I love massages & have a lot of back pain from having a job that requires a great deal of time hunched over the computer. I can get more massages if I stop wasting money on things that I don't truly need.

That was a little more long-winded than I had intended, but I'm sure you get the idea. Now, on to the rewards! I'm a person highly motivated by tracking, goals, & incentives. Knowing this about myself, I've created a plan. For every month that I don't shop, I get a massage! I already achieved my goal in December (no shopping), & had a massage last Sunday. It was bliss & really helped with my chronic back pain.

How am I paying for my rewards? Massages are terribly expensive, so I devised a plan to get a few of the massages for "free". Basically, the gym that I go to also has a large spa attached, and they offer a holiday gift card promotion. For every $500 in gift cards you purchase, you get a $100 bonus gift card for free. The gym also has a backup childcare facility that we use regularly. For example, I needed to work the week between Christmas & New Year & the boys school was closed. I used the gym backup care for 5ish hours each day for a week. For two kids, that was around $300. I knew I would use the gift cards on essential expenses, so I purchased several to last for the child care throughout the calendar year. As a result, I now have 2 bonus gift cards, which will cover the complete cost of a massage. Additionally, I just received a large gift card from work which will cover 1.5 of a massage at a different spa. Woo! This will greatly reduce the cost of my reward, and of course, I will be saving money by not shopping, & will use those additional funds to cover the rest of the months. Even if I directly buy a $100 massage each month, it will be less than I was previously spending on clothes, shoes, makeup, & clothes for the kids. I wasn't shopping every month, but when you average it out, it was much more like $200+/month.

That's my plan, & I'm motivated & focused. While my goal is not to shop for the entire year (13 months, including December), I created the reward to work monthly, which means that I stay focused even if I have a slip - I can jump back into the plan the next month & stay on track.

How are things going with your New Years goals? I'd love to hear!

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