I’ve took the first week of my ‘spend less, save more’ very strict and practically put myself on a spending ban for January and it's really got me thinking about my spending habits and the emotional impact spending money on something new has on me.
We’re living in an age of mass consumerism. We ‘need’ everything and anything and exchanging our cash for goods gives us some emotional satisfaction. If we’re tired, we get a takeaway coffee. If we’re sad, we go for some retail therapy to cheer us up. If we’re feeling good, we treat ourselves. That blogger you love just got something new and now you need it too. But do you, really?
In a typical working week, I was spending on average a minimum of £10 per day. A takeaway coffee each morning with some form of fruit for breakfast bought at Tesco, popping out to a chain (more than likely fast food) restaurant for lunch and then just rubbish snacks if I felt hungry – oh and the almost £3 return train ticket. Let’s go for £60 a week to cover it all.
We’re forgetting though, that I work in the centre of Nottingham where an abundance of shops and SALE signs pave the way to wherever I fancied going that day – more often than not, I’d buy something new; unneeded and quite honestly, unnecessary. We’re probably at a £100 minimum weekly cost now.
From Tuesday 1st January 2019 to today, Sunday 6th January 2019, I've spent a grand total of £23.80 of my own personal money, including my train fare for 3 of those days. This got me to work, fed and watered me and I didn’t miss a single thing.
It's hard to escape the temptation of buying 'stuff' - we're targeted by ads, spammed with emails and discount vouchers and promotions EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I'll admit, I ordered a few things online pre-christmas that arrived in the post (that I'd actually forgotten I'd bought!) and... it made me feel better. I also used some vouchers I got for christmas to get myself something new, which again, made me - well, happy. And that's not healthy.
This is what got me thinking. How unhealthy it is to have such emotion over having something new or holding the latest thing in store in my hands. The impact a new shirt can have on me and my feelings. It's addiction right? I feel a bit low, do something that gives me a high momentarily and the cycle starts again. I end up with a house full of clutter and a bank balance at zero.
I know it's only the first week but if my thoughts and attitude can change that quickly, perhaps so can my spending habits? And now, the prospect of that makes me happy. Happier than the shirt I got with my vouchers made me. The shirt that I'll probably have forgotten about in 3 months time.
I imagine it's going to get tougher as the sales increase and the % off signs become higher and higher and the FOMO kicks in. Will I cave? Only time will tell.