So. Um. OK.
Here's the thing: I was out for lunch today with my frugal advisor L, and we were talking about how both of us are anxious to have a project to do in our personal lives. I was trying to think of what I could do, and she was like, "What about your blog thing?" and I was like, "Oh yeah, that. But that's not like challenging. It's fun!" And she was like, "... what about the whole financial part of it?"
And, yeah. That.
So, I've had heaps of fun this year writing this blog and doing challenges, etc. As I outlined in my last post, I may have... slightly not entirely gotten out of debt. I may have not quite gotten out of debt, kind of, whatsoever. So L suggested I could write a blog about how The Year of Shopping Detox kind of didn't work like I had expected. (that is her kind way of saying "how it didn't work at all. pretty much.")
Challenge #1: I like buying stuff RIGHT NOW.
Blake Lively and I both enjoy fashion, having long hair and... that might be it.
OK, we both like Ryan Reynolds. Her, quite a lot more than me, though.
I like immediate gratification so, if I'm thinking about buying a latte (for instance) on my way home from work, I can think "If you save that $5, that's $5 more you can spend on lattes during your trip next month!" But then I think, "Eff that, I want a latte now," and I buy it now. And then run out of money during my trip and can't buy a latte when I'm actually tired and need a pick-me-up.
Now extrapolate that to larger things like, say, I'm thinking about buying an OK-but-not-great coat, and I think, "If you save that $99, that's $99 more you can spend on actual nice stores during your holiday!" But then I think, "Eff that, this dress is cute." And then I buy the dress. And run out of money on my trip.
Let's extrapolate that even more, like, say, I'm thinking about buying a pair of very high-quality and excellent winter boots, and I think, "But if you save that $400, that's $400 you can put in your emergency fund so in case you have to go on strike next year, you won't starve and die!" You know where this is going. I buy the boots.
Suffice it to say: I always buy the boots. And that adds up to giant lack of non-debt-paying-down. And to countless occasions of not having the money when I actually want/need it, because I already spent it all on stuff that I don't really want that much.
Challenge #2: I see my credit as a giant mass of money.
Clearly I should have played less Monopoly as a kid.
Or more? I don't know how that works. But I like piles of money.
Two years ago, during my first major financial wake-up call, I consolidated my debt into a single line of credit that is through the same bank I do my banking through. So, all of my finances are all in a single bank - which means they are all accessible from the same website - which means, it's really easy to transfer the funds around so it all kind of FEELS like money. I know, technically, it's not but... it kind of works like that.
This also leads to me paying down credit card debt, then transferring it back out and spending it, so, essentially, every month I pay a bit of money on my debt and then immediately take that money back, and the net result is... my debt is more or less exactly the same amount as it was this time last year.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
It means that, rather than wrapping this all up neatly like the Julie & Julia project (or the Lawrence & Julie & Julia project) in 365 days, I am not at the end of this story. I think I might be at the beginning of this story. That's kind of exciting. I like the beginnings of things way more than the ends of things.
So, what story are we all at the beginning of right now?
Oh, just a little something I like to call...
THE ACTUAL YEAR OF
ACTUAL SHOPPING ACTUAL DETOX!