It's nearly the end of September and I still haven't bought anything. It's marvellous and much easier than I expected. I set my own rules and I have only bent them once and I feel very proud of myself. The rules are I can buy food and petrol (within a budget) and presents for people's birthdays (but no random presents because I used to use that as an excuse for shopping) and other essentials but nothing that I already have at home that I need to use up first. No books as I can get them from the library, no music for now, I'll have to decide when to lift the embargo on that, no dvds, no heating if I can put a jumper on, no new clothes or handbags and definitely no toiletries.
For anyone who's ever considered something like this and dismissed it as misery inducing, I've done that in the past. I had it imposed on me by my ex and I've had it imposed on me due to finances and neither of those situations were fun or terribly successful. I still shopped. This time, however, I'm actually enjoying it. I feel proud of myself and I don't miss any of the things I would have bought in the past. I've also realised the reason for my success - I have everything. It is ridiculous how much I have. Having started this at the beginning of August, when another huge credit card bill and car insurance reminded me that the bank isn't bottomless, I have only needed to buy a packet of dental floss. Nothing else. I wavered at one point when I thought I had run out of toothpaste but then I checked in my cupboards - I had two new packets waiting. I ran out of conditioner but I have three conditioning treatment masks that will get used up first. I ran out of face wash but then found two other cleansers. I don't think I ever need to buy shower gel again. It seems to breed in my house. I don't need to buy dvds because I bought myself a tv recorder as a birthday present. I don't need to buy clothes because I have spent the last two years stocking up.
When my husband left, I gave myself a year to not worry about money. When that year was up, I gave myself another year as really, a year isn't very long in itself, and most of that year had been spent trying to get divorced. What I really needed was another year where I was free to just get used to being in charge of my own money, spending in whatever fashion I decided. And saving money's boring, right? I could keep spending the way I used to for a while longer and keep using up savings but now, as the end of the second year is drawing nearer, it actually fits me to not be a shopper. I want to save up money and one day go to Japan again or beable to buy a new car if mine died or even, and this is a long way off, buy a house. There's certainly no way I can do any of these things if I keep stockpiling bubble bath and yarn. For a while, being free to spend was a really good thing for me. I needed to learn how to be in charge of my own lfe, what I liked and didn't like without someone telling me those things for me. Without having spending habits imposed upon me.
One of the indulgences I managed to sneak in this year, was a trip to Bolivia to see some of the work my uncle and aunt are involved in. Bolvia is incredibly beautiful and I really recommend a visit although it's not the easiest place to get to. They do have some very important residents though.
A llama or possibly alpaca family, crossing the road in front of my bus.