OK. I was brainstorming last night with BF and he brought up a number of salient points that I need to consider when making the rules for 2011, namely:
- if shopping is my stress release, then I will need to figure out a new stress release. This is for a number of reasons, but mainly, because it will be hard to avoid shopping when stressed if I don't have another outlet for that energy, but also because without having a stress release, I will get very anxious and fed-up very quickly. I am thinking of baking as a stress release. If I have a crazy day at work, etc., rather than going and buying nail polish, I will instead buy ingredients and then go home and cook something. This may lead to weight gain, but that is still better than debt.
- this is kind of like people who are quitting smoking. You can't just quit and not have something else to do to replace that activity, so they are always encouraged to replace smoking with exercise, or eating carrot sticks. You can't just remove something from the daily fabric of your life without a back-up plan.
- BF also feels that not buying *anything* for 365 days is kind of extreme and, that sort of extremity may make it harder to complete the challenge. And I see his point. Because I want to not only save a bunch of money/pay off debts on 2011, but I also want to create a new lifestyle for myself. And "not buying any clothes ever" is not a permanent lifestyle change. So I am thinking of having certain days when I can buy specific things. For instance, one day per month, I can buy ONE THING (that costs less than $30, say) be it tights, lipstick, a new mug, whatever. And by making myself wait like this, it will help to make me more thoughtful in the things that I buy.
- Being more thoughtful is also very important. CBF agrees that my habit of buying a sweater if I am cold is a destructive one. I am already working on this one, by dressing more appropriately for the weather and also by just sucking it up if I am cold (etc.) The only tricky bit is that I am unable to not buy food to snack on if I am hungry, even if I will be home in 20 minutes. So I can work on that a bit too.
Anyway. So, I'm still working out some groundrules here, but I am really excited about this. I mean, not excited about not buying anything ever, but excited about how well-off financially I will be 365 days from now!