How To Break Up With Buying

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I’m cutting it close, I know, I’m sorry, we’ve had some stuff going on.

To catch you up on this topic though, May was amazing. Life changing and eye-opening. I stopped buying anything I didn’t need and it’s been incredible, for me and my bank account. Starting June 1st I’m challenging you to stop the consumerism. Stop giving in to the emptiness that we’ve created in buying.

Here are my suggestions to stop buying:

  1. In the last 2 days of the month buy what you want. At the end of April, I bought 3 things before I knew I couldn’t just buy: cheap mascara (awful) a book (wonderful) and a clearance shirt to wear for family photos. I kept it in my head that if there was something I really wanted, it could wait until the end of the month and if I still wanted it and could afford it then I probably won’t forget or regret it. Surprisingly there is nothing on my list at the end of this month.
  2. Buy as much of your groceries as you can online. Sams club and Family Thrift near me offer online shopping and easy pick-up. This saves overall time as well as prevents impulse buys.
  3. Rediscover what you already have. Think you need more stuff on your mantle? A new pair of shorts? Look through what you own already and find ways to repurpose it or just use it (see my conditioner issue at the bottom). A great inspiration for this is listening to Joanna Gaines in her book The Magnolia Story (the audiobook is free on many library apps).
  4. Get thrifty. Buying second-hand and used items not only makes you work a lot harder to buy but it also saves you a lot of money. A little trick I used was I would sell things I needed out of my house for garage sale money.
  5. Find hobbies. Instead of browsing through Amazon, read a book. Instead of wandering Target go for a bike ride. Do things with your time that enrich your life not empty your pockets.
  6. Go places besides stores. Museums, parks, a friends house, getting out doesn’t have to mean going to a shopping center. Explore the culture and not the aisles.
  7. Be kind to yourself. No one is disappointed in you if you end up spending money on something that you want, but practicing mindful buying, in general, will make you more aware and considerate of the purchases that you do make.

On a side note, I’ve needed hair conditioner for over a month now. I’ve used up all the old bottles in my house (good for decluttering) but I’ve also had to use some really awful stuff. I googled home-made conditioners, but somehow it doesn’t seem worth it. And, if you’re wondering if I held fast through the entire month, I’m sad to say that I did not. I bought my husband and myself a pair of nice athletic shorts, they weren’t cheap but they are very worth it, no regrets there.

Only a few days in you’ll start to notice the freedom that you gain. It’s as if you are finding out who you are again because you are no longer your possessions and shopping/buying is no longer your pastime.

Buh-Bye Buying

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Four weeks ago I was at Target perusing the aisles, as is the norm for any female over 10 when at Target. I happened upon a severely discounted Dyson cordless vacuum. Because it was 75% off and I didn’t own one like it yet, I put it in my cart. Ignoring the inner-voice reminding me that I already own two, working, Dyson vacuums, but, they had cords. This one didn’t. I called my mom for should I?/ shouldn’t I? but she didn’t answer. I went back and forth in my head and eventually put the vacuum back and bought a $9 broom.

I’ve been a long-time consumer. I like nice things and buying nice things makes me briefly happy. The problem is: having nice things doesn’t make me a nicer person. Buying new shoes doesn’t make me more fun to be around. I’ve been a happy, self-inflicted, victim of American capitalism. Having the latest and greatest does not make me a better person in any part of the spectrum and here’s the real truth– buying things (generally) does not make you happier so what do we buy the things we don’t NEED?

There are some things that I’ve bought that have made my life easier or more fun- maybe those are okay, but I have now made it to a place where buying things is second nature: She moves, she loves, she buys.

I reached the point of disgust in the last week of April and vowed that May would be the month of not buying. Starting on May 1st, I wouldn’t buy anything new that wasn’t a need. I mean nothing. If it was a desperate want I allowed myself to buy it if I could find it used, meaning thrift stores and garage sales are still fair game but only for things that are actual needs and not because it’s a good deal.

It’s been just over two weeks into the month, the halfway mark. I’ve adjusted by ordering all my groceries online to prevent impulse purchases, I have yet to step foot in Target, when I have free time I spend it on something deliberate, if I need coffee I try to wait until I get home to make my own.

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I have broken the rule twice. Both because of special occasions and with limitations.

I expected to feel restricted, instead, I feel free. Free from the pressure of society and advertising, free of the restrictions of my bank account, lesser a slave to money and what it means in our society today.

Giving up buying has shifted some things in the way I think. I’m sure I’ll elaborate as I go on but as for these two weeks, like a diet, weights have been lifted by cutting things out and it feels so good I’m not even anxious for the end. Instead, I think I’ll add another month, this time as a group.

Before the end of May, I’ll update with a more thorough list of how to avoid the spending and shopping hole. If you want to join us, you should! It’s the best kind of life-diet I’ve experienced in ages. I’d suggest you begin preparing your heart and mind now, the week before May started I did make a couple last-minute purchases in order to carry me through, and while I don’t regret them, I know they also alleviated any temptation I may have experienced in those first few days. So say goodbye to mindless shopping and buying and let’s make June a month free of consumer-void.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

What I Wish I Knew as a First Time Mom

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I was one of the first people in my peer group to have a child, which meant that when friends became mothers, they often came to me. I found myself walking a tight-rope between too much info (intimidating them or scaring them) or too little info (not adequately preparing them as a confidant would). Handing out advice can be tricky and when you are pregnant you scour the internet for advice and ideas of what your version of motherhood might look like. There is never any pregnancy, experience or child that is the same but there are some tidbits of advice that do tend to stick true. These are the ones I’ve found that I wish I knew the first time around:

1. You will do things you promised yourself you never would, it’s fine. We all do it, and while we remember you saying “I’ll never cosleep when I have kids” we aren’t judging you when it happens because we did the exact same thing. My most memorable one was saying that I’d never wear pregnancy jeans- I LOVED my pregnancy jeans! Give me all the comfort and stretch, just not the full-panel, I don’t care what pre-mom me said, she had NO idea.
2. Get comfortable calling your pediatricians nurse or the on-call nurse. You don’t need (or want) to take your baby in for every cough or sniffle, talking to a medical professional will help calm your nerves and you can do it without putting shoes on. The sooner you get used to calling them (for anything!) the better because you’ll have YEARS of “is this an emergency?” or “how many days do they actually have to stay home from school for?” questions for them. They will give you advice, putting you at ease and keeping your co-pay in your wallet. If your concern does warrant a visit, you feel reassured knowing it’s not an overreaction.
3. Stay away from your pre-pregnancy pants for at least 6 months!!! Unless you love torture.  If they never fit again, who cares?! Even if the weight falls off like it was never there, your hips will not magically go back to what they were 9 months ago. You now have baby-carrying hips, love them, use them as a shelf to continue carrying your baby (or laundry). And if those pants never fit again, embrace it. Mom jeans are in style for a reason, be comfortable and be confident in your mom-bod. Being slender doesn’t always equal being confident but being confident can stretch out to all aspects of your life, making a happier you and baby.
4. Let go of perfection. Your house will never be perfectly clean again, your car will never be free of crumbs, your hair will never be brushed. None of us have it all together, we just don’t like admitting it to Instagram. Ask anyone. Let go of the perfectly clean counters and get down on the floor and talk and play with your baby.
5. When frustration hits remember, we’ve all been there. For me, when the point of understanding why people shake babies hit me (this sounds harsh but you will understand at some point in parenthood the utter frustration that babies create, I promise), I would return to the thought that, this too, will pass. These babies are only babies for a very brief period. I learned to embrace the period in all the mess, tears and blowouts and knew that one day I would miss how small they were and how much they needed me. And if you find yourself struggling often, get yourself a sponsor. Like in AA, BA is a rough road and we all need a cheerleader, and a coach that has been down that bumpy road before.
6. Don’t stress the breast. People FREAKED me out about breastfeeding. Everything I read online was warning me and prepping me for the big battle of the boob. When it came down to it all that pomp was for nothing and my kids ate like it was the most natural process there ever was. I get that it’s not that way for everyone, I ended up doing it because it was easy (and free). So if formula is easy for you than do it. Don’t feel guilty. Keeping baby and mom both alive, happy and fed is what matters. No one goes to kindergarten or college comparing if they had the breast or bottle.
7. You do you. Get off the internet. Figure out your groove with your baby and come back only when you need help getting them to sleep through the night. Just don’t look at me for that advice.

 

Photo by: Heritage Photography