In the black

So for the first time in 8 months, I’m in the black. I’m making enough money to eat and have an occasional beer and my account balance is above zero. And let me tell you… it’s a pretty sweet feeling. The anxiety about an overdraft fee or whether or not I can get just ONE Budlight is gone.

But a funny thing has happened; I’m still acting like I’m in the poor house. I walk by stores that have things that I want (lush organic facial masks, lululemon yoga pants, etc.) and I think “OOH I want that, I should buy that!” but the scars from the past 8 months are still here and I end up running away from the store as fast as humanly possible.

I had the privilege of watching Fight Club the other day for the first time. Besides the blood splatters and blown off heads (see JillyP’s boyfriend: “What? You’re afraid of a little violence?” See JillyP: “No sweetheart, I just don’t like BRAIN MATTER”) I absolutely LOVE one of the themes of the film which is ultimately: “What you own, ends up owning you”.

I’ve paid off a huge chunk of my CC debt by moving some old 401K money around (there’s still a lot of debt there though, believe me) and I have enough money to maybe even buy a hot chocolate every once in a while. Only now  the problem is, I don’t want to buy ANYTHING. I confess I am in utter fear of having what few hundred dollars extra I have this month slip into oblivion. SO, to help you and me make sure this doesn’t happen, I’m going to offer some holiday spending tips to help us ALL stay in the black:

Write down everything you buy everyday. This includes: lip gloss at Target, non-fat toffee extra hot lattes, dip and dots at the mall (my personal hometown favorite), everything.  I did this during my extreme month of poverty ( Please see Ugly Hamsters vs Peaceful Poverty for a reference) and had an accountability buddy. So anytime I WANTED to spend money on stupid things… I knew that I’d HAVE to tell someone about it and the sheer fear often kept me from making really stupid decisions. Carry a little notebook or create a list on your phone and write down everything you buy. I can almost guarantee you that your mind will be blown away at how much you spend (and this will help you spend less as a result).

Set a spending limit for each person in your life that you want to shop for and add up all of the totals so that you know exactly how much you plan on spending, in total, on each person. This way you will be  prepared and empowered and not absolutely freaking by January 1rst over how much you spent.

Use yo noggin’. Think about what you think the people in your life really NEED right now-and I’m not talking about material things I’m talking about the emotional/spiritual needs of every person in your life- did your best friend just break up with her boyfriend? ( I.e. instead of buying her expensive perfume, you could buy or MAKE a cheaper calendar dedicated to how amazing and hysterical women are) Does your dad need some encouragement about his job?  (buy him a 19$ career book, not a 45$ tie that he doesn’t even like) Or CREATE something for them… I’m currently working on a little project for all of my nearest and dearest that I don’t want to talk about yet but I think it’s an amazing present and will cost me around 10$ in total for EVERYONE.

Donate to charity in someone’s name. I’m sorry I know this sounds slightly unconventional and NOT in line with our “consumerist” way of life- but quite frankly-I sleep better at night knowing that I donated to the cancer fund in Auntie Jane’s name for Xmas as opposed to buying her a scarf that she cringed at when she opened (and now I’m sitting in bed wondering what the EFF did I buy that for, I should have gotten her the red one….)

BAKE!!! Make TOFFEE or CANDY or speciality CUPCAKES that are hand decorated and packaged for someone…. It’ll give them some deliciousness and they can enjoy it more than once and it costs you SOOO much less…

I hope these little tips help you to become more aware of what your spending and where, and how often and easy it is to let the stuff we own, own us.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    amandab714 said,

    awesome.


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