Summing up my progress on the Spending Moratorium:
Part 1: Inspired by a book, the realization dawned on me that I was a spendaholic, shopaholic but that I could decide to change. In spite of a clear understanding of how to budget, I still needed to clean up my own budgeting approach.
Part 2: I learned that shortcuts are pitfalls. So I corrected my mistakes including unsubscribing to ALL shopping sites. Then experienced the importance of planning meals at home – even on the fly when unexpected guests arrive. For me, I learned that I needed to follow other interests. Boredom leads often leads to looking at things online, which often led to shopping. You, like me, may discover that your other interests are much more fun.
Part 3: Travel – More pitfalls on the road with unplanned expenses. How to set your spending caps and stick to them even in the face of pressure from family and friends.
Part 4: I feel I am not doing great on the spending moratorium, but I am still benefitting already, because I do not spend money like I have in the past. Relief at having funds available in case of emergency is a great feeling. Over the last couple of months, some of my planning is becoming routine. For instance, I cook at home more often, instead of eating out. I make sure something is defrosted so I can prepare dinner that evening. I am not the strongest or best cook at my house, but I do ok, especially since it’s summer which is more casual at our house. Cooking is actually – and I can’t believe this is coming from me – fun!
Another spending moratorium improvement is that I am prepared better for my monthly road trips. I pack more efficiently, and I buy less along the way, curbing an ever present threat to my budget. Instead of buying a meal along the way, I pack some semi healthy munchies, bring a gallon of tea or water or both and use the stops to move around a little instead.
I am testing out inexpensive hobbies that replace shopping time. From good friends, I received new plants and gardening help. There is a feeling of satisfaction and pride in growing a garden, but I never thought I could do this. The plants that came from friends are doing better than any I have ever bought online. The garden is looking nicer than it has in the past, and I think it will really show well next year, after the plants are established. I am looking forward to the color I think will happen then.
I have another hobby project that I have been procrastinating on because I am unsure of how to proceed to refinish the furniture. I want to keep the vintage look, but can’t find the right stain color. Going with a low tech way of getting help, I asked my dad. Always a source of good advice on projects, dad told me to take the drawer I want to match and go Sherwin Williams or someplace like it for a matched stain. I’m going to try it. Also found this stain matching guide on woodmagazine.
I could spend more time outdoors hiking or swimming, but this summer the weather has been a mess, and I am focusing on things I like to do near shelter in case of a rainy day. I think I might engage in hiking when the weather is a little more friendly.
Any advice you want to share on the budget? I would love hearing from you on what works for you, and what doesn’t. Hope your week is incredible.