It is becoming less painful to pause before purchasing. For the first seven or so days of this challenge, I felt bored. It was an irrational boredom – as if shopping for home goods, digging through racks of clothes at a thrift store or blowing money on expensive toast were the only activities that would make for a fun afternoon. Since moving to Manhattan (and especially since my surgery in May) I have spent a lot of my free time hunting for fun clothing at thrift stores, perusing the very fancy mall near our apartment and hauling MANY shopping bags back to the city after weekends in NJ with my family. It’s honestly a relief to feel less compelled to browse or purchase things.
For the past two weeks, I’ve spent nearly every penny on food and drink. This week, I spent some money on travel and on one item, and I feel great! Previously, I was spending well over $100 just on eating out at restaurants (and Seamless delivery) and then additional money ($100+) on random nonessential items. I was in this vicious cycle of physically writing things down that I felt that I needed and feeling unsettled until I crossed off each item as I purchased them. It was a wish list disguised as a needs list. Does that make sense? I was convincing myself that I needed something when in reality, I had just watched a YouTube video that sent me subliminal messages about my self worth as it relates to hand lotion and face oil. I truly felt that I NEEDED these things when in reality, I was focusing on all of the wrong ways to improve how I felt. Most of the best ways are free.
I challenged myself this week to leave our neighborhood. It sounds insane, but it is genuinely so difficult to feel motivated to leave our neighborhood. Justin and I both prefer to be at home (if we’re not working/he isn’t in class) and it feels scary to leave the house knowing I have to be very mindful of my spending. Again, I recognize that this sounds silly but it’s only fair to document my honest experiences. To stick to your budget while out and about, it is essential to plan ahead. If you eat lunch before you head out, you won’t spend money on lunch. This is SIMPLE stuff, but in practice it is tough! We went to New Brunswick on Friday to help my friend Martin move into his new place and we were able to stick to our plan and have such a fun day.
After two weeks of writing down my purchases, I am acutely aware of my addiction to iced coffee. Over the years, Justin and I have invested in many gadgets that have made our lives easier. We bought a really great coffee maker last year and we love it! Unfortunately, it takes a few more steps to make iced coffee and there is just something so satisfying about grabbing an iced coffee on the way to work. J and I have tried a few different methods of making iced coffee at home and I think we’ve finally figured out how to make a cup that can rival my usual orders. I purchased a reusable cup from Starbucks today so it will be super easy to bring it to work.
Our move is fast approaching and we are preparing to pack. This is honestly such a gift because my brain is hyper-focused on organizing every inch of our house so that we can pack economically. Work is also insanely busy so I have a lot less time to lament about the things I want to replace when we move. I do feel a lot more confident that I will be able to save quickly for some of the bigger purchases that are in our (distant) future – a new couch, a new rug, a new bed frame/headboard, replace some of our kitchen gear that isn’t doing too hot, and all new towels! What a time to be alive!
This is where my money went this week:
$3.20 – iced coffee from Dunkin
$10.35 – chips, salsa & cookie dough for game night
$10 – pizza for game night
$10 – ½ of the grocery haul for our 4th of July BBQ
$7.50 – iced coffee & a scone from Birch
I thought I had a coupon but realized it expired the day before as I was paying. I was too embarrassed to ask if I could use it anyway. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? PLZ SEND HELP.
No purchases made!
We went to see the new Spider-Man movie! Justin bought our movie tickets and then we had points on our Regal membership card so we didn’t have to pay for our snacks! NAILED IT!
$6 – two iced coffees (Justin bought our breakfast sandwiches)
$20 – NJ transit train ticket to see Martin and help him move!
$7.50 – uber ride to Martin’s apartment
$4 – iced coffee and a donut (damn you, Dunkin Donuts)
$10- grabbed dinner at Meltshop
$10 – Starbucks reusable cup to turn my iced coffee addiction into a sustainable situation
WOOHOO! I decided against the scratch off lottery ticket this week – perhaps this is indicative of my mental progress.
I have big plans this upcoming week! A friend dinner date, a work happy hour and I am leaving for vacation on Thursday night! I am also going to attempt to browse for bikinis this week because bringing a single bathing suit to a beach vacation feels wrong. I know I can probably live with bringing just one but we’ll see how far I can stretch my budget.
Until next time!! Thank you to everyone who sent me such incredible feedback since my last post. It is so wonderful to know that I am not alone in this and that there are so many people reading.