Monday, February 13, 2012

No Spending Money

Paul Newman Shopping with His Wife, Joanne Woodward

I love to go shopping. I enjoy walking on Court Street in the center of Burlington, Vermont. I love the brick walkways and little shops. I enjoy the excitement of Stowe, Vermont and all the quaint restaurants. Did you know the Trapp Family Lodge is in Vermont? There are so many exciting things to do and see when we go out to spend money.

Can you imagine visiting an old boutique, antique shop or vintage bookstore? They are like places to find treasures. You can browse, and take your time, and enjoy an afternoon of leisure and relaxation out in these charming places of business.

It is delightful to come home with parcels, packages, and bags full of lovely things. The memories alone are worth those kinds of shopping days.

I have shopped in Mexico, California, Florida, Tennessee, New York City (okay... it was only the airport gift shop...), New Hampshire, Boston, Cape Cod and all over Massachusetts. I've shopped at Disney World, Disney Land, Dollywood, and I have dined in the most amazing California restaurants.  I know all about the wonder and adventure of shopping, and I love it. But it is a love that is slowly fading. 

I have had many stages of my life when I didn't have a dime to spare. I've had phases of poverty and living in extreme frugality.

This is why I have decided to do a little challenge. This week, I will not spend any money.  I will buy the basics, of course, the groceries and pay the bills, but I will not buy anything else. Even if there is something I need, I will put it off for a week, as long as it is not an urgent necessity.

There have been times in my marriage where I have gone years without a working dryer, or a working oven. I have used  Yankee Ingenuity to manage without some needs, and know how to survive when I have to. So for me to skip spending money for a week, won't be a big deal. Yet, it will feel just a touch like deprivation - like not eating cake when you really want to. (smiles)

My goal is to have these little spending fasts throughout the year and build up my endurance for avoiding the idea of shopping for recreation, or entertainment.  Honestly, why do we Americans buy stuff that we really do not NEED?  Why do we tend to give in to impulse and buy things just because we LIKE them?

Did you ever walk out of a store, proud of yourself, because you only bought the things on your list? Or perhaps you didn't find what you needed and walked out with empty hands? The lesson here, the challenge, is to realize that there are more important things to do with money.

Have you ever decided to go on a shopping fast?

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

The Never Ending Battle - Fighting the Money - Seeking Mentality.

When Money is Scarce - Financial Survival in Tough Times.

To Encourage Old Time Housewives - The Delicate Beauty of Homemaking.


Mrs. Laura Lane said...

I've not been on a shopping fast; but, I have had times of poverty. Even now, though our income to family size is near poverty level; but, God has miraculously stretched our money and me, too.

Thanks to God who makes all things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I do hope you feel well this week. Indeed, I pray that you will. In Jesus' name.

Cindi said...

With this economy; we seem to go on shopping fasts frequently. (LoL) Makes life a humbling lesson in wants versus needs.

Naina said...

Have you read the book "Financial Freedom" by Dave Ramsey?

It changed my shopping habits forever.

Lori said...

Good post! We have just completed our first 'shopping for a month!' My husband and I have also read Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover and are making positive "baby steps" to managing the money God has entrusted to us. Our greatest area of spending has been groceries, and we believe being in the store less will help tremendously. I also planned out a month of meals based on the inventory I took of what we had in the cupboards and freezer/fridge (thank you, Mrs. White, for the idea..I wish you could see the pretty notebook I made for taking inventory, you would like it!) We are building up our emergency fund, then will hit those debts hard.
You have been such an inspiration to me, Mrs. White! I am challenged to live more frugally (out of necessity), but I am actually enjoying the challenge (most times, :0)!)
Blessings to you and praying you will feel well again.

Carrie said...

Mrs. White I love today's blog you have written. Shopping can be such an addicting thing, and buying things that are not things we "need". I have never gone on a shopping fast, but it sounds like a great idea!

Annie Kate said...

Excellent post!

We've rarely had enough money for shopping sprees, so I avoid most stores. In face, we've lived here over a decade and I have yet to go to the big mall!

When I visit a friend's home and see all the pretty things, it sometimes makes me feel sad, but as you said, there are more important things to do with our money. And if I don't have all the pretty home decor, I won't need to clean it either; that's positive thinking! :)

When I really 'NEED' to shop, I go to the library website and order dozens of books and DVD's, or we go to the library for a borrowing spree. That works for us.

Annie Kate

LouLou said...

I am currently on a spending fast too!

I have medical bills from my son's birth and NICU stay that have just started showing up (he's 14 months!) and a college class my husband is taking to pay for. Since I have graduated from college, we have decided that I will be staying home until our son is at least 2, but we are looking at a period much longer than that. This means much less money and we are living WELL below the poverty line. It makes it much easier to not spend money since we have moved outside of town and have only one vehicle. It means that I don't need to go anywhere. My house is much cleaner, and I only have to bring my son to the grocery store once a month, since my husband now does the weekly necessities!

Mary P said...

Mrs White, What a coincidence that your post was about this today, when I was just talking to my husband about "online shopping" last night. I realized that it is very easy to sit at a computer and "look for good deals" while "trying to save money". All on things that we really don't need at all :-)
p.s. I always love your vintage photos and illistrations

Jessica Dimas said...

I've decided to go on a shopping fast since I read your post from Saturday. I realized after reading it that I go out of the house too much and buy things I don't REALLY need. Actually, giving myself the command to stay home has already made me much more stress free! I love shopping too, but you're right, we Americans can take it out of hand. Today I stayed home and cleaned my bathrooms, which has proved to be much more rewarding to walk past a sweet smelling bathroom than to have gone out and spent money that my husband worked hard for :)

Naina said...

Annie Kate,

You are so all those pretty things gets old.

The new of that purchase wears off pretty fast too. Not to mention that the style of decor changes frequently, making your purchases

Unknown said...

I love this! :) We had a few years where we had way more money than we needed to live on...Jamie's job was going so good and he was making a lot of commissions (Verizon Wireless salesman). Then, he decided to take a below-ground level job in software engineering so he could gain some experience while finishing up his degree. This last year, we went down to about 1/3 of what he was bringing home!! It has definitely been a learning experience...a huge financial fast for us! :) God has been teaching us a lot about good stewardship and wise use of the "extra" money that comes in now and then. Jamie will be graduating this fall and will be in search of a long-term career job. He will be making more money than we've ever seen. I can't help but think that this year of financial hardship has been to prepare us for wisely handling what we are about to receive. We just never know when circumstances that are just so so rough are actually preparing us for a huge blessing to come! :)

Hope your day is happy and blessed!

Mrs. Sarah Coller