Debt Control: Spending Moratorium Part 2- Missteps Made and Lessons Learned

By Friday, I was feeling pumped about my spending moratorium and on my way to Debt freedom.  I had unsubscribed to most of the email savings.  Some, I kept for after the moratorium.  Bad move.  Today I am a little humbler.  Six days into the spending moratorium I fell into some traps that I will share in case this helps anyone else out there trying to stop the insanity of debt.

  • Unsubscribe to ALL email and text notices.  I had left one item on an eBay watch list and felt like that my pre-moratorium bid from was low enough and early enough that I wouldn’t win the item, but I did.  Lesson 1:  take the spending moratorium seriously and unsubscribe to ALL. 
You can get an app or make your own plan using online recipes based on ingredients.
  • Plan Meals.  We had some unexpected guests that I did not plan out meals for, but as part of my money saving plan, I am also choosing to invite friends over for dinner instead of meeting people at a restaurant.  For our guests, I did not take the time to defrost, or make other arrangements to feed them lunch the next day.  I ended up running to a diner and buying takeout lunch for all of us.  Even if you have to do it at the last minute, take the time to inventory your food on hand and make a meal plan for each meal that you all will share.  I am not a great cook, so for me, this includes looking up recipes based on ingredients.  If I had done this, I would have saved under $100.00 because I bought lunch, not dinner, but it all adds up and this is the kind of expense that even last minute planning would have cut by nearly 70%.  Lesson 2:  Plan. 
I traded dirt for plants I wanted in our garden.
  • Do not give up, nor admit defeat.  I may struggle with my online spending addiction for the next six months, but I will modify my online activity and stop spending.  Last week, I made a mistake, but I am refocusing.  This week, several more times I was tempted to shop online, but I used Craigslist free stuff instead, this time, to find plants which I traded for dirt.  I traded topsoil dirt to a very nice and talented gardener, so I could refill the holes from the plants I dug out of her gardens and then relocated those plants into our own gardens.  Lesson 3: Debt Control spending moratoriums only work with behavioral changes.  I have to stop going online to find everything.  If I’m going online, limit which sites to visit.  Sheesh, I am making this so hard.  There is so much other stuff to do, whether at home, or out with friends!
  • I have started using the time I used to spend online chatting with friends and in search of ideas, to finish a few projects I have already started.  One of these projects, I had delayed for months  because things were not going well on it.  Hint: Avoidance just adds to more unfinished stuff laying around; getting back to work on the project was just what I needed, and I finished it.  Another project had intimidated me a little, since it was outside my scope of expertise, but that, too is coming along fine.  I have been reading more, going for family hikes and have been interacting with our guests and my family.   I mentioned in an earlier blog that one of my hobbies is to refinish furniture.  If I work to complete my half-finished (no pun intended) projects, I will be more satisfied with the way I use my spare time, and I can reduce the clutter from pieces of the partially finished projects filling my work area.  Hiking isn’t really my favorite thing to do, but it is another activity I can do with those I care about, and I feel better when I use any extra time to be outside. Lesson 4: when trying to change a behavior, it is easier to begin, if you substitute other unrelated activities.  Once you have started, your momentum can carry you forward.

If retail therapy fills a void, the fill is only temporary, as all false fills are.  Spending those hours truly engaged in life surrounding me are what counts.  I am sorry I fell into the trap of an item I had bid on just before entering the moratorium…but I am moving forward to the goal of saving money and paying off card balances by end of the six months.  Until the next update, have a great week and hope your saving plan is going great!

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