Sunday, January 30, 2011

my month in shopoholic detox...

At the beginning of the month when I decided to freeze all personal spending, I had no idea what I would learn from the experience.  To be honest, I really thought I had a handle on how much money I spent each month, and this would be an easy first resolution.  After leaving my job last year I decided one way to save money would be to make most of my own clothes (not a lofty challenge for a clothing designer).  I assumed that the majority of my spending was on fashion, so I was convinced that this would save me so much money.  I was shocked when I discovered that in spite of my best intentions to avoid clothes, shoes and purses, I was still spending a ton of money each month on other things.
Snacks, restaurants, art supplies, cab rides, and cosmetics seemed to be slowly eating away at my savings even faster than my sample sale habit.
In the end, I saved an estimated $300 this month just by eating at home, avoiding coffee shops, taking the subway, and staying clear of the make up aisle at the drug store...pretty amazing.  

But so boring.  In an effort to stick to my very strict resolution I became a bit of a hermit.  I rarely left the house...which was partly to blame on the weather, but mostly because I wasn't allowed to spend money.  Recreation is rarely free in New always seems to be revolving around cocktails, dinner, a show, and it's somehow, always a cab ride away.  By mid-month I had become quite dull and anti-social from staying in and watching tv every night.  Nights out with friends are necessary in this great big city...they keep me sane, and I missed them the most this month. 
On the upside, my skin looks great from a month without my 3 pm candy fix, and after 31 days on snacking lockdown, I am craving junk food far less...a major feat as candy and potato chips are two major food groups in my world.  Hopefully, I will be able to stay away from junk without my resolution...maybe I'll be able to stay away from the beauty counter a little more, too.

In the end I learned that there is a balance that must be met...I plan to keep saving money, but spending it when I need to.  The key is to have a plan.  As a matter of fact, I have decided to extend my personal savings experiment into February, but this time, it will be with a different purpose.
This idea occurred to me about a week ago when I went to visit my storage unit.  As I was rooting around in the numerous boxes of shoes, dresses, coats, and bags, I started thinking about the contents of my overstuffed unit.  It's like an urban version of that show about hoarders...Some of the items in the unit have not been touched in at least a year and a half, and I probably couldn't even tell you what is in 50% of the boxes.  I'm not sure why I'm saving all of that old furniture, and I certainly don't need all of those clothes and shoes.  Well...that point could be argued, but we'll get to that.

So this next month, my goal/resolution will be to cut the fat in my life: organize, clean up and streamline.  In other words, I am calling the next chapter in my year of resolutions:
"Waste Not, Want Not: a southern girl's attempt to clean out her big city storage unit."

Stay tuned...


1 comment:

  1. i can totally relate to the balance of being social and spending is hard in this city! good job on saving $300. best of luck on the storage unit!!