I am a spender. Dave Ramsey states there are savers and spenders. After doing the one month start plan, I saw a big ugly trend emerge. Holy crap I spent a lot. Clothes, groceries, dinner with friends, home decor, AMAZON. Honestly, I am not sure why I was surprised. I was a proud Lux Card holder at Banana Republic. Yes, when you spend over $800 in their store in ONE YEAR, you get a fancy card. (I can hear me now: “But I will wear it to work, and it is quality!”) One of my dear friends is on a first name basis with the women who work in her favorite clothing store. Sounds familiar? It is time to cut the temptations. Here are my 5 favorite ways I used to detox from my materialistic ways.
Let’s face it, we all need a break from the materialism in America. Stop Overspending by Avoiding all the temptation today.
Personally, here is how I got started.
1. Cut up store credit cards.
Banana republic, Loft, Kohl’s, Victoria Secret, Target: meet scissors. But really. I held a brief moment of silence for my Target credit card. (but I HIGHLY recommend their debit red card) You do not, I repeat do NOT need these. Plus, the temptation is too great. Our goal is for your to be a millionaire someday. And no one became a millionaire because of their points earned at the Loft. Time to think bigger people. All those points programs can be a waste of your precious time. And time is your most valuable asset. So what do I carry in my wallet? Two debit cards, one from my local credit union and another Target debit card.
2. Try cash.
Green should be your new favorite color. Green is also the way your budget should look if you follow this plan. Personally, I loathe the cash envelope system. Some people swear by it, but nothing was worse to me than caring around big envelopes. I have fallen in love with the clip system. In a typical month, I only carry 1-3 clips. One for personal spending and another for groceries. Some months, we have also tried clips for eating out. But we are currently working to cut out eating out all together.
How to start: Before the month starts, decide how much money you will spend on luxuries and personal things. This includes hair, nails, clothes, shoes, gym memberships, subscriptions, and anything that is not a need. Go to the bank and pull out exactly the right amount of cash. Put this in your wallet, and that is all you get for one month. Personally, I have minimal self control. So I split this money in half. I take out $100, put $50 in my wallet for the first two weeks, and then put the other $50 in my wallet for the second half of the month. Otherwise, I am sitting there on April 5 with no spending money. Essentially setting my self up to fail. So, I opt to do $50 every two weeks. But find what works for you! I use inexpensive mini binder clips in the (pre-Dave Coach) wallet I already owned.
3. Unsubscribe and filter.
Go to your inbox. I use gmail, so I go to my “promotions” tab. Unsubscribe from all shopping and store emails. And travel deals. And yes, this includes target. If you feel that unsubscribing all together is too much of a commitment, I LOVE the filter option. For Target and Meijer, I filter as “mark as read” and “move to trash.” This way, if you plan a shopping trip, you can still find these emails to see what food sales are happening. However, the day to day temptation to shop is out of sight and out of mind. This is a defensive move to get rid of some of the triggers that make people shop.
4. Cut one budget item.
Could you live one month without ________? Go though each line item on your budget and ask this question. Not sure where to start with budgeting, start here. I recommend EveryDollar. As you see where you spend the most money, you will get an idea of what to cut out. I found myself asking my Husband if he wouldn’t mind not eating. Kidding. But food can be a killer. I recommend cutting internet or your TV service. If you have subscriptions or memberships, those are often an easy cut. Our internet was more expensive then our $55 Dish bill (hello living in the middle of no where), so we cut internet. At first, it was a transition. But, you can do anything for just one month. Please comment below and tell me what you have cut!
5. Farewell Facebook.
Lent 2017, I gave up Facebook. I may never go back. So, I was doing the four steps above like a boss. I realized I had more than enough clothes and really did not need more possessions. But then Target found me on Facebook. And Loft. And a Kate Spade surprise sale. And Tory Burch 70% off. After I got milliseconds away from buying a new handbag “for work,” I knew this was going to be an issue. I realized though my 40 days without Facebook just how much time I was wasting. And you will keep hearing me say it, your time is money. And, my urge to shop has dropped dramatically with my drop in advertising exposure. I highly recommend a 40 day (or more) detox!
The second thing I learned about Facebook is that the sales of items on Facebook was going to be the death of my budget. So, if you are sitting there thinking, ah no way am I giving up Facebook Sarah, this next idea is for you. I loved the Facebook groups. Antiques, high end furniture, online garage sales, car shopping, Lip sense, and Lu La Roe. Try 40 days of unsubscribing or leaving any group that is selling things. It is all about out of sight and out of mind. Prepare to have some FOMO, but life will go on. You will make it. Hard to believe, but there was a time before Facebook. And we all did just fine. If this is too much to ask, please seriously ask yourself if you are too attached to materialist things. I was overly attached to “stuff” too. Detachment will not happen overnight, but the path to personal and financial wellness is all about modifying behavior. Join the club, fellow recovering spenders.
Happy debt slaying.