I put myself on an Amazon fast last month. The deal I made with myself was that anything I thought I wanted, I could put on my wish list instead of in my cart. Then, during the last week of the month, I could spend a set dollar amount from items on my list. Anything that didn’t get purchased had to get deleted, thereby requiring me to want it again in order to get back on the wish list. At the end of the month, I had three items on my list, and I didn’t really want any of them, so I didn’t make a purchase. I had a lot of extra money in October. In November, I’ve done a bit of Christmas shopping (with money I have saved just for Christmas all year), but I haven’t put anything else on my wish list or in my cart. There was an unexpected used car purchase, but I will still have a lot of extra money in November.
Back when I was younger, we used to go shopping just for fun. It was something to do. Hanging out at the mall was a thing. I used to meet friends there for lunch, and then we’d browse the stores, without any particular purpose in mind, but always leaving with some must-have item. That’s a pretty expensive pastime, yes? Later, when David and I were killing our debt monster, recreational shopping was obviously something that needed to go, and we made a new rule for ourselves: If we were out and saw a thing we just had to have, we had to go home and write it on the index card on the fridge. Every purchase had to be written on the list. If we were motivated enough, we could go right back out and get it, but more often than not, we never made the purchase at all. Amazon is my new mall, and the wish list is my new index card.
See, when you’re in debt, your future is held hostage by past spending, but the same is true if you are spending all you earn – you’re sacrificing your future security and your ability to pursue dreams and opportunities for the short term pleasure of stuff you won’t even really want after a while, if it’s even still working. Shopping isn’t recreation.
I’m saving for a kitchen remodel right now. I’m eyeing a $10,000 range (probably won’t hit that mark) and planning the space and reallocating all available funds to my kitchen category. I’m hoping to have the desired monies gathered by May, and Amazon just isn’t my friend any more. Actually, they never were. In another week, we’re giving up our Prime membership. Back we go to Super Saver shipping! We don’t stream many videos and a pay-per-view plan is more sensible for us; we’ve also been using the library a lot more, especially since I can order stuff online and my favorite librarian delivers it that evening. 😉 We don’t use their cloud storage services, the music streaming service, or the kindle unlimited service. It just doesn’t make sense for us anymore.
After I’m done saving for my kitchen (which is really in desperate need of attention) I’ve got big plans for an investment account. It’s never too late, right?
Do you have a spending weakness? How do you manage it?