Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Dirty Book of Shame - Spending Freeze Diary Violations and Realizations

This year, I'm trying to be more conscious of what I'm buying and why I'm buying it. I need to practice delaying gratification as well: not buying something immediately in a snap decision, but sitting on it for a week and then going back for it if I still really want it (except at Marshalls...Marshalls Law states it will not be there so you'd better buy it now). I'd  like to simplify and not have so much stuff. I'm also trying to use cash for everything, or if I use a credit card, to pay it off immediately.

To kick this new spending thinking off, I embarked on a spending freeze from January 1 - February 15. During La Freeze, I could only purchase true necessities. This is all according to my truth. If I had run out of mascara, I'd call that a necessity. Starving people in Africa would not.

I budget for entertainment expenditures such as movies, dinner, and nights out, so they only appear on here if I went over that budget. Or if I bought lunch when I was supposed to bring it,and so on.

M Y    V I O L A T I O N S

Date of infraction: January 11
Purchased: Large hazelnut coffee with skim milk from DD
Amount: $2.15
With: Cash.
Note: While coffee is a necessity, purchasing it from DD is not. Fail. SINNER!

Date of infraction: January 11
Purchased: MAC pressed powder
Amount: $25.92
With: Credit, paid off on January 15.
Note: My other pressed powder made me look like a vampire. Since I am very bad about applying makeup, I need something on the go. I broke the freeze to look human and professional at work.

Date of infraction: January 16
Purchased: Large DD iced tea
Amount: $.99. ON SALE MOFOS
With: Cash.
Note: I forgot to pack my iced tea. Laziness costs, sinners.

Date of infraction: January 21
Purchased: Buffalo bleu salad from Salad Works
Amount: $10.45. What a fucking rip.
With: Debit.
Note: Our office is being remodeled. I brought my lunch, but could not locate the microwave. I consider this a forced expense.

Date of infraction: January 22
Purchased: Coffee from McD's
Amount: $1.08
With: Debit.
Note: I was too lazy to walk to my office, ride the elevator 17 floors, find out there might not be coffee due to the renovations, and have to brave the 15 degree temperatures again. McD's coffee isn't that bad.

Breakthrough: Sunday, January 27, I had the overwhelming desire to go to Target to buy peachy flats, heart dish towels, and any number of other items I don't need. I resisted the urge and cured my boredom (reason for shopping) by exercising instead. YOU WILL NOT BEAT ME, TARGET. STEP OFF, YOU ALLURING SEDUCTRESS.
Date of infraction: January 29
Purchased: Three shirts from Le Gap
Amount: $.72. YOU HEARD! I had a $25 gift card, $10 in rewards, and a 35% off code. BOOM, muthafajas! A gift card is a get out of jail free card for people on spending freezes.
With: Debit.
Note: Why did I buy what I bought?  First: At the end of the summer I threw out all of my white t-shirts due to yellow pits. Given that my daily uniform is a cardigan with a shirt underneath, being without a white v-neck T would not do. Second: I don't own anything with stripes. I'm branching out, betches! Third: I love lovely minty greens.

Breakthrough: Wednesday, January 30, I had to do it. I had to go to Target. I didn't buy anything pretty or glittery or unnecessary.I stuck to the things on my list, and the things on my grocery list. I played The Price is Right and decided I could pick the grocery items up at Target instead of making a second stop at the grocery store. I BEAT YOU TARGET! I ignored your sparkly clearance baubles, your patterned ankle socks, your simple and lovely stationary, your $1 bins at the front. I emerged victorious from your doors without violating my spending freeze. Suck it.

The Gain, suede protector (the Kiwi on the receipt), soap, shaving cream, toothpaste, and gift cards were on my original list. The paper towels (I only use them in the bathrooms but was out), dog treats, and Cottonelle wipes were things I discovered were needed after I made the initial list. The rest was on the grocery store list.

I paid for it on my Target card for the measley cash back and paid it off on 1/31.

Date of infraction: January 31
Purchased: Large iced coffee from DD
Amount: $3.23. Mother effing robbery. And I have iced coffee in my downstairs fridge at home.
With: Cash.
Note: I got very little sleep, slept wrong and woke up with a crick in my neck and a headache, the wind/rain/dogs kept me up, wah wah effing wah excuses excuses the coffee was a want not a need. I could've brought it from home or waited until I crossed that street you see and mainlined some at the office.

Date of infraction: January 31
Purchased: Satchel purse and two wallets from Target.com on clearance
Amount: $21.
With: Target card - but returned one wallet and satchel purse upon receipt
Note: I cracked. I freaking CRACKED. I cannot believe I walked in and out of Target without cracking, and I fall for this. I returned a pair of shoes to Target on 1/31 and got a gift card so I could purchase the pair I was exchanging them for as an even exchange. This is allowed under the spending freeze rules. The stupid Target I went to didn't have the shoes, so when I logged onto the website to pay off my 1/30 purchase, I thought oh, I'll order them online. I fell for suggestive advertising in the sidebar. I got paid today. The sales were good. I can never find wallets I like. I was possessed by the deal - a bag and two wallets for $21? Steal!  EXCUSES. BOOM $21 down the drain. I feel guilty and weak. I also felt a small thrill, like I did something I wasn't supposed to and got away with it. Even though I immediately logged on to my blog and told on my own self. A FOOL and her $20 are soon parted. Then reunited when her guilt makes her keep a $4.48 wallet and return the rest.

That momentary online madness snapped me back into place. I didn't have another infraction for the remaining 15 days of my freeze period.

My triggers are obviously coffee, online shopping, and Target. I am aware of them and have to learn how to deal with them.

It ended on February 15. I was out shopping on February 16 and 17 - buying things that were on my list. New throw pillows, bed pillows, a baking sheet, dish washing gloves. The only thing I bought that wasn't on my list was a pair of sunglasses. I didn't just grab things in stores without thinking about what I was buying. It was refreshing. I picked a lot of other things up, and some even made it to my cart. Then I paused and thought hard - how will I use this? Is this integral to my life? Will I look back in a month and be kicking myself for not buying this? In all cases, the answers were unsatisfactory, and whatever it was went back on the shelf or rack.

My next freeze starts on March 18. Until then, I'll be busy making up a list of birthday gifts I'm buying myself. Don't mind me. Nothing to see here. Nothing at all.

Linking up with Northern Belle Diaries.


  1. Hahahahahahaha. This is freaking HILARIOUS yet so true!!! I am a repeat offender of buying things then returning them after I crack. Thanks for linking up!

  2. I have less of a problem behaving when I'm in actual stores than I do online. LIke, for some reason, an item of clothing for $50 in a store seems outrageous, but online it seems reasonable and affordable. This is my tragic downfall.

  3. I love a good self-help project! Funny, I am on a money adventure and may be blogging about it. Still on the committee's table at this point. That means I'm still resisting the truth of it.

  4. Good for you for doing a spending freeze and tracking your purchases. I really need to be better about living on a budget and not buying everything I want.

  5. HYSTERICAL!! Thanks for the morning laugh. And, kudos to you for doing so well on your spending freeze. Target & DD get me every time ;)

  6. Based on your target addiction matching mine I am going to need your next freeze to be over by april 25th. my birthday.

  7. I could have helped the DD situation. Forgot to give you coupons!! Your nails do look very nice holding that cup in the beginning of this blog.
    It is just a crime that buying stuff is so darn fun and gives us such a lift. Best thing is to be aware & purge. I end up wearing my favorite stuff anyway. A good online bargain is hard to resist, too, esp if free shipping/returns. I got these cute little zebra slippers from the Sam's trimmed in turquoise for $6.98. Non-slip bottom & feels like nice socks.
    Now I am giving my too-small brassieres to A Women's Place. My rule is buy and do a kind give-away. Carpe diem, everyone!!! Love your momma.
    who enjoys commenting because of no character limit & my off-spring's imposed ban from joining the fbk.

  8. Well all in all I'd say that isn't too bad for 6 weeks! So good for you!

  9. Love this post. SINNERS. I do agree that the salad (while expensive) was a necessity.

  10. This post was hilarious!!! I can't believe you were calling yourself out on all of this!! HA! But I don't think anything was toooo over the top! =) Maybe I should try this.... wait who am I kidding. This would never work with me! =)

  11. Wow, kudos to you. I have never tried to put myself on a spending limit or freeze but I am a 100% sure I would rap up a bunch more violations than you, especially in the pricier and even less necessary department. I could not do it. You should be proud. Aside from the wallet, not shopping for 45 days is pretty amazing. I shop clothes at least once a week and I am insane enough to treat myself to something when I realize I have not spent money for 5 or 6 days. Insane, I know.

  12. Haha this is post is great!! So funny, but true. I'm in the same boat though. Living in NYC isn't cheap....at all. So keeping track of my "violations" is probably a really great idea! Who knows what sort of moola I could save!

    Thanks so much for sharing!


  13. You are epically better than me at this. Spending freeze? Oh yeah, I did that, and then I spent over $600 on a new wardrobe. Coffee is a huuuge one for me too. Even just with the tea I've been getting lately, that's $11.05 on tea at Caribou per week. Blah.
    And Target, well, target should just not even count.

  14. Target is out to get us...Target & Caffeine we apparently can't live without! I try to make my bf go to target with me now to keep me on track. Otherwise, its balls to the walls Target PARTY time!

    I think you did a pretty good job, but I also love how you called yourself out!

  15. This is awesome. And I am with you. Target is the devil in retail form. I have done everything in my power, and I fail every time I step foot into my red heaven. Coffee, in my world, is necessity, but I am with you - I get how expensive it can be to buy the "good" stuff. Thanks for the laugh, and now I am looking into "freezing" my ass-ests as well. :)

  16. Oh my gosh I laughed through this whole thing. Infractions! So funny! Maybe I will do my own spending freeze when I get back from Vegas. Well, if I do really well in Vegas I say screw a spending freeze.

  17. You did so well! My spending freeze sucked at the beginning of the month. I bought kindle books (4 for $10, but still), a bike (clearance for $35, how could I not?), Girl Scout Cookies, and St Pat's day stuff from the Target dollar bins. But no make up or nail polish or fun new little pointless things. My last two weeks have been great. I sent my husband grocery shopping (he never strays from the list) and I've avoided Target altogether. I think I'm going to extend my freeze through March though, and really stick to it!

  18. I love this idea! Saw your other post that linked to this one...excited to see how your other freeze is kicking! I might have to try this...ooooh, the pressure!

  19. You seriously rock, girl!! I LOVE how you document/track the infractions!!


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