**December 29, 2009**
My idea is to go on a Spending Fast for a year – spending money on necessities only to see what happens, how much debt I can get out of and how much I can get into savings.
When I mentioned to a good friend that I was thinking about going on a spending fast for 2010 she sighed and said “Well, that doesn't sound very fun.” Then, I told my husband what I was thinking about doing and he wasn't very excited about it either. He said “Great. No more fun. No more eating out. This is gonna suck.”
I have to tell you, I feel the same way. Who would want to not get want they want? I'm the type that buys what she wants when she wants because I work hard and I feel like I deserve it. I know plenty of people who have the same feelings as I do about work and money and spending and not spending.
Inside my head I hear this loudly: “YOU DESERVE IT DARLING!” and truly, I believe that I do. I mean, I woke up early for goodness-sake! I did what was asked of me and I was even nice while doing it! I DESERVE that super cute trinket or hat or whatever from Etsy dammit! Besides, I work a full-time day job AND I run a full-time wedding photography business AND what else can I think of? I do a lot and my spending is justified… until it isn't anymore.
When I was planning for our wedding that took place in May 2009 my dad gave me a little chunk of money that I could use as needed for wedding stuff. I got really used to having that money around. Being able to spend like I wanted helped me morph a kinda-bad habit into a super-bad habit. And once the wedding rolled around and things changed from “planning the soon to be fond memories” phase to the “Oh, remember that?” phase… guess what didn't stop when the planning stopped? My spending.
And.. that's where I am today… starting January 1st 2010 I'm gonna spend money on necessities only and I'm fully prepared for this to suck.
My Spending Fast ® Wants and Needs List
So, I know some of you are thinking “Well… you've got to spend SOME money this year don't you!?” and my answer to all of ya'll (imagine that with a southern twang) is “Yes, I will have to.” Oh yeah, I'll HAVE TO. Force me why don't you. I imagine that this will kind of be like a person who is in Overeaters Anonymous who must still eat but can only consume the “right” stuff. Where it would be a whole lot easier if you could just eliminate it completely from your life.
The goal of this whole spending fast is to get my spending back on track, save some money and get rid of a lot of the clutter and time sucking that comes along with having a lot of stuff and buying the new stuff. Managing it, maintaining it, cleaning it, rearranging it, you know.
Plus, I want my priorities to go like this: people and relationships are #1 and I don't want things to be at the top or even close to the top of the list. Where as now, that can become questionable sometimes.
Setting up my priorities like that makes sense.
Obviously, situations will happen this year that I won't be able to predict, so I'm gonna have to weigh those unexpected situations and remember that my motto has to be “Make Do and Mend” rather than “Make More to Spend More.”
Ok. So. Here is the brutal break-down of how things will be going down this year:
What I will have to spend money on (My Needs):
Utilities (keeping lights and water off as much as possible; keeping the thermostat at 68 and wearing a hat and long johns inside, if needed)
Cell phone (taking the internet off of it)
Food (store-bought, off brands, in season fruits and veggies and only when I run out of stuff in cupboards)
Gym membership (local gym, it's reasonable and health is important)
Photography exhibits (done inexpensively)
Box hair dye (hey, I have needs)
What I'm NOT spending money on (My Wants):
Gifts (sorry friends and family… homemade crafts or re-gifting will be happening. Hopefully you all like macaroni magnets.)
Coffee at coffee shops (sad face)
Clothes (remember: “Make Do & Mend!” and in honor of that I need this. haha!)
Etsy stuff (another sad face)
New business cards (I have a bad habit of getting new ones because I like a different design better)
Coats (see Clothes above)
Fancy html email service (down-sizing it)
Decorative house stuff
Fancy haircuts at fancy hair shop
New music from iTunes
There you have it. There's no way it can be completely comprehensive but I think it's a good start.
And, my new name is Mrs. Cheapskate. Nice to meetcha'.
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above image by Erin Hanson