For February, as many of you remember, I tried a Frugal February challenge - not buying anything unnecessary for the month. You can read about the results here, but I felt so good about it that I made the same pledge for March.
I gotta say: this is a game changer, this no shopping stuff. I can't say how much more time and mental energy I have when I'm not constantly thinking about some household item I need to buy or some dress I need to purchase for some imaginary luncheon I'll one day attend. The list goes on.
That said, it's not like I don't see things I want or think about purchases at all, ever.
This house, new as it is, still needs a few finishing touches. I actually purchased one of those this month: a set of counter stools for our island. I've been mulling that purchase over for six months now, looking at different stools, thinking of my budget, wondering in which style direction I'd like this house to go. Then, I saw a picture of a kitchen on Tumblr I loved. I dug through the various links until I got to the original site, and then I dug around there to find the counter stools, which is a proverbial needle in a haystack.
I found them. They were on sale. I bought them.
So, I did buy two things this month: the stools and a new set of dishtowels. The stools were $347 total, and the towels were $21.
What is more important, however, is what I DIDN'T buy this month. The list is longer than I would have thought. When I really considered making a purchase or was tempted at TJ Maxx, I took a picture of the item and waited. Never once did I go back.
Here is what I DIDN'T buy in the month of March:
It was just before Easter, and I had nothing planned - as in, nothing. No baskets. No egg hunts. No flowers to plant. Nothing. Feeling pangs of guilt and shame about this fact, I almost bought this bunny shaped salted butter and about $150 of other good to prepare an Easter feast for my family. In the end, we had a cheese and fruit platter and some shrimp cocktail and sat on the back porch and watched the sun set. Thank goodness I didn't go down the bunny shaped butter road.
During the same shopping trip, I passed this wine and almost grabbed it and put it in the cart. The desire was a split-second emotional rollercoaster. I saw the wine and before I could realize what what happening, my brain was saying: this wine has got to be excellent for $75, and it's Easter, and you've got to splurge a bit every once in a while, and wouldn't this be a treat?!? Luckily, my brain goes bonkers in both directions with equal pace, and I was able to keep my cart moving and say to myself: don't be silly, Amy. Keep going.
I love a good ballet flat. I'm not at all interested in the new pointy-toed shoe trend of the moment, so these Kate Spade gems seemed like a good deal. That they had my size made it seem like a sign from the Universe. Luckily I was on my spending diet. I see now, in the harsh glare of reality, that I would have looked ridiculous in those things. However, ridiculous or not, I would have worn them because I paid good money for them and because somehow the fact that they're Kate Spade would have inclined me toward believing that made them fashionable and high quality. See all the emotional madness I go through on these jaunts?
Lollia is one of my favorite brands. I also desperately always need hand cream. This seemed like a no-brainer, as those little hand creams are $8 at stores like Anthropologie and only $2.99 at TJ Maxx. Then, I had to remind myself that I have several small tubes of hand cream just like these, and that I actually prefer mini-sized tubes of Gold Bond hand cream. In the end, I'm such a sucker for a floral scent and that lovely packaging. Having said that, these little creams are just the kind of thing I like to keep on hand to add to a birthday bundle or hostess gift, so even if I'd purchased them, it wouldn't have been the end of the world.
This mortar and pestle is just the kind of thing I would rarely use but would make me feel really legit and professional in my kitchen. Insert eye roll.
Finally, while we waited for Sandy to be groomed at PetSmart, I wandered through the shops in the strip mall. That was a blog post in itself, but for now I'll just say I was tempted to purchase this chair (in a set of 2) for my morning room. It's comfortable (surprising for strip mall furniture) and the price is right. It doesn't actually go with my decor, and I don't actually need chairs for my morning room, but that all seemed beside the point. Thankfully, no-spend March was on my side. Otherwise, I'd right this moment be looking at a pair of chairs and thinking: what as I thinking?
As I look back on what I didn't buy, I'm grateful I'd imposed a no-spend rule for myself.
In fact, you know those bar stools I bought on sale, that I saw on Tumblr and loved?
They don't go with the style of my house and look slightly 'off' in my kitchen. I love having the stools themselves, but I wish I'd been more careful about that purchase and thoughtful about how it would all go together. In short, I wish I hadn't made such a substantial purchase online.
I'm learning, through this process, how thoughtless and emotional my spending habits are and how little is lost and how much is gained through some good ol' parameters. Though a spending freeze may seem arbitrary (and it is), it provides time to reflect, which seems to be in short supply these days.
I still want an Ace & Jig dress.
And a floppy sunhat.
I'm going to stick with the no-spending for April. I can't think of a thing I'd purchased this month so far, so I'm on track. It's soothing to look back over some potentially disastrous decisions and think: I'm glad I didn't go down that road.
Also, it's nice to know that should I want to make any of those purchases, if a part of me still longs for them in the light of day, they're all still there. Seriously. Very seldom do we truly miss out. FOMO is kind of overrated.