Breaking the Spending Habit: The First Week

It has now been a week since my family decided not to spend any (unnecessary) money in our journey to Break the Spending Habit. For the first post in this series, start here. To get some background on my shopping addiction, read my post The Shopping Intervention.

It has been a week since our car broke down, depleting our savings and giving me the kick in the butt that I needed to do a self-intervention on my spending habits.

We've done really well. But we have had some struggles, and a few necessary expenses.

On Monday, I discovered that those mounds I had discovered in my garden aren't really big anthills; they're gopher mounds. The internet said that I could use castor oil, dish soap, and water to repel him. I have all of those ingredients! I thought, "This no-spending thing is going to be way easier than I thought! In part because I've already bought all the things. That helps."

The castor oil didn't work. Like, at all. I even got a video of the cheeky rodent creating one of those mounds while I fed my daughter breakfast later in the week!

A short powwow later, and Jeff and I had determined that it was both necessary (all other avenues had been exhausted to keep the gopher from ruining our garden) and time-sensitive (the gopher would have destroyed our entire garden and lawn by the time January 1st rolled around), which were our criteria for spending money on something unexpected. I hunted around for the cheapest effective legal option (can't discharge a firearm within city limits) for ridding my garden of the pest, and I ordered it. I patted myself on the back for not immediately buying something to fix the problem, and working within our rules.

Wednesday morning, I got an alert on my phone from one of my Facebook For Sale groups. When this happens, it's generally for one of three reasons: One of my friends posted in the group, a post is an amazing deal and therefore everybody is commenting on it, or a post is extremely controversial/dramatic and everybody is commenting on it. This post was the second type of post.

So tempting...Think of the potential for deals!
It was so hard to resist going to this sale. So, so hard. I feel like I deserve a brownie for not going. *Checks pantry* Yepp! We have brownie mix!

On Friday, I had to make a run to Costco. We were out of bread, nearly out of milk, and nearly out of diapers. Those of you with a Costco membership understand how difficult it can be to leave that store with only the things you intended to buy. I would rate it as nearly impossible. This would be my first true test of resolve.

I made a list: Diapers, bread, milk, and strawberries if they were a decent price and a good level of freshness. (Here is the post in which we listed exceptions to our moratorium on spending.) I silently prepared myself to walk past the cheap, fluffy blankets and the goldfish crackers I desperately wanted.

If I'm honest, one of the only reasons I was able to actually do it is by promising myself that I would post a picture of my receipt on here to prove that I only bought the things I meant to buy.

Thanks for helping me exercise restraint!
This trip was not any ordinary Costco trip. When I walked into the dairy room to get some milk, I was confronted by a large display in the center of the room comprised entirely of eggnog. Some of you may recognize eggnog as sweet nectar from Heaven, and you would be correct. I wasn't expecting to be confronted with Christmas items so soon; I hadn't prepared properly! I hesitated. I wavered. Then I steeled myself, grabbed a box of milk (they come in two gallon jugs inside a cardboard box at Costco), and nearly ran from the room.

Before I had taken two steps and let out a sigh of relief, I was confronted by another tempting sight:
When will the torture end??
Fortunately, we have hot chocolate mix already at home, so this wasn't nearly as tempting as the eggnog, though at that point my addicted brain was ready to buy ANYTHING that wasn't on my list! I deliberately took a picture as proof of my temptation, then steered my cart toward the diapers.

To my delight, this week came with a manufacturing coupon of $4 off each box of Kirkland brand diapers! Score! I was able to get items on my list AND get a good deal! This was more like it. I added two boxes of diapers to my cart (my daughter wasn't going to outgrow this size any time soon) and patted myself on the back.

I grabbed some bread and quick-stepped past the display of comfortable, inexpensive fluffy blankets ($16 for a king!) before I did something I would regret. I reasoned momentarily that Jeff would never notice yet another blanket added to our collection, but my determination to post a clean receipt for you all helped me make it past the display with little more than a glance to the side.

Soon I was out of the store and into the parking lot with nothing more than I had intended! I'd even managed to get a good deal.

In conclusion, the first week was a success! I think I can do this with your help. Thanks for keeping me accountable!

If you haven't read them yet, here are the links to the first post in this series, and the background on my shopping addiction.


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