We have a spending moratorium going on in the ol' "Warbill" household these days. We are (read "I am") not to spend any money on anything not related to survival until the end of January, possibly longer. That means bills, gas, and food, essentially, NOT clothes, knicknacks, gifts, travel, eating out, etc.
We don't normally have such a tight grip on our wallets, but this month is different. Property taxes are due January 31st. Oy. I don't mind paying taxes. - In fact, I'd be happy to pay more taxes if I could trust my local, state, and federal governments to use the money wisely and appropriately for the better good. - I tried saving a little money each month, but just like last year, we ended up eating it up over the course of the year and so here we are, literally down to the wire, saving every last penny to write a big ass check.
The moratorium was Anthony's idea. He rarely spends any money during the month. It's all on me to save and stay within our budgets. Hell, I'm the one who makes the budget! Therefore, it's baffling to me why I can't stick to it. This moratorium is actually pretty nice. I feel like something bigger than me is making the decisions regarding our money.
For instance, yesterday, I ran to Target to get some more groceries ($45 worth) and also to buy my neighbor some baby shower gifts for her Sunday shower. I got just the things on my list from the grocery section and then had to make my way to the opposite end of the store to the baby area. Between me and my destination lay many obstacles of temptation. Target's "World Market" is ending and so they have all their [really cute] crap 30%-60% off. You might as well tell me I could eat a gallon of ice cream with no side effects whatsoever... it's just that alluring.
I rolled Hollis up and down each aisle, carefully looking at all the goodies and the bright, neon orange price tags humming and hawing to myself. I touched the coral thingamabob, picked up the coffee mugs two for $9 reduced from $20, considered the imitation animal horns on a pedestal, mentally measured the rugs for my living room, and thought that my guest bathroom could definitely use a little help from the bathroom-goodie aisle. And then I left empty-handed and with my head held high.
The Moratorium was intact. I passed through the rings of fire unscathed... or so I thought. I still had to buy gifts - an area where I am notoriously over-generous and always end up on the shitty end of the "Why did you spend so much money on her, Jess? We don't have that kind of money laying around," conversation.
I don't know that I did an excellent job this time around, either, but I definitely held back and even put back a $10 bottle of bath wash at the register to help cut costs. In the end I bought a little knit sleep sack ($12), a pack of onesies ($8), three pairs of socks ($4.50), and a blanket ($17). It's probably too much for someone I hardly know, but... oh well. I like her and her husband and that's just how my people do it.
In the end, I spent $90-something at Target. Half of which was foodstuffs, the other half gifts and accoutrements. The last time I went to Target the Moratorium was in effect, but when I saw these adorable polka-dot Gumbo boots (ON SALE) I had to get them... and a pair for Hollis. I spent $90 that day, too.
It's so frustrating to be lured to purchase things like a fish to shiny bait. I try so hard to "be good," but it's like I'm a fucking drug addict. I'm by no means some crazy hoarder with goat-paths in my house from the mountains of purchases, but I certainly do feel something deep inside of me when I search for a purchase - typically a spur of the moment thing - buy it, bring it home, take off the tags, and immediately put it away so as to not draw attention to it. And the crazy thing is I can almost always rationalize it to myself at the time, but if I can manage to put myself into a future conversation with Anthony (like the one I mentioned above) I am much more able to cool my heels and keep my money in my pocket.
Is it just me?? Am I the only one who knows the right thing to do, but still can't do it?? It's just like eating right. Exactly, actually. I know exactly what to eat and what not to eat and what to do exercise wise, but I never seem to do it. How different would my life be like if I could take really good care of myself both in wallet and body? I wonder if my spending habits somehow reflect my eating and exercise habits... this is an interesting idea. I'm going to have to think about this a little more. I mean, is there a direct connection between how you take care of yourself and the state of your finances/spending habits? Are people who take care of their bodies more apt to have an emergency fund on hand an no credit card debt?? Are people who are overweight struggling with monthly bills??
Whatever. I really like my Moratorium. I love my Moratorium. This Moratorium is my friend.