I think we’re overdue for a shopping ban update, but things have been a little wild and wooly lately, as you’ll soon read … so hopefully you can forgive the lapse.
When last I wrote about my post-ban activity, I’d been having a tough time saving. At this point, I’m having a tough time checking my spending … but I have done A LOT to ensure that I’m saving more. As usual, though, I’m gonna hit you with the bad news first.
I got an unexpected wad of tax return money a few months back, and although I had grand plans to pay down some debts and sock it away for an upcoming trip, that didn’t happen. Not a dime of it remains. And, as often happens when I encounter a large windfall, I have had a hard time reigning in the spending of my miscellaneous income SINCE then. The Sunday Shoes feature will continue full force for many, many weeks to some thanks to the recent – and even ongoing – binge.
And it may sound like rationalization, and maybe it is, but let me tell you, my dears, it has been a tough six months. Tough. My sister became very ill over the holidays. I was having almost daily panic attacks for a while. I became depressed and gained unexpected weight. I found out I’m glucose intolerant and basically need to stop eating sugar and carbs. I became an insomniac quite suddenly, partially due to chronic back pain. I’ve been battling some … ehem … ladyparts problems for nearly a year. I fell out with several close friends within the space of a few months. All of that on top of working a full time job, keeping up the blog, Shop Local Shops, style consult clients, reader mail, and several other projects I’ve got in the hopper. Not to mention going to the gym four times per week, trying to maintain a social life, and tending to my marriage.
Now I don’t use this space to vent or throw myself pity parties, and as I said above I realize that none of these events entitles me to an endless shopping spree. Nor will any of these events be made better by an endless shopping spree. But at a certain point? I’ll do anything to make myself feel a wee bit better. Shopping helps, at least momentarily. Bringing something undeniably good into my world, treating myself to something that makes me feel pretty – all temporary balms. Is that healthy? Fuck no. But I’m not binge drinking or smoking weed or hurting anyone. I’m paying ALL my bills, I’m not debting a dime, and as you’ll see below I am actually saving far more than ever before. So I’m gonna cut myself some slack and hope that better times are coming, and with them, decreased shoe purchases.
Now. Let’s talk accomplishments.
Many of you recommended funneling money into a separate account, one that I couldn’t touch. That is the smartness. And, as it turns out, I had an account just waiting to be used. When I took out my car loan at our credit union, I had to set up a savings account there. It had been languishing with the requisite $10 in it, and I figured it would be the perfect place to squirrel away some cash. Mainly because I have NO FLIPPIN’ IDEA how to withdraw anything from it. I’d have to actually go to a branch and talk to someone, and even then I’m not so sure I could pry the dollars loose. Ideal, no? I’m only socking $30 per paycheck into that account, but it’s been really fun to see the balance grow. And I hope to increase that amount soon.
I have also been able to save in my normal cash savings account on a regular basis, and without making too many shoe-related withdrawls. In fact, I had enough in there that, when HM and I finally settled on dates for our upcoming trip to Iceland (!), I could easily fork over the $800 without feeling as if I had emptied my personal coffers. I will now have to put some focus on saving for the remaining trip costs, which is already proving difficult. But I am excited to travel for the first time in years, and that’s a big motivator. (See this post for an explanation of why I have been loathe to travel recently.)
Finally, my car loan AND student loan will both be paid off within the next month. I’ll still have a my credit card debt, but once that’s gone I will be free of personal debt. And what’s more? I am excited to have cash freed up that I can start putting into my various retirement accounts. Yes, indeed, I am excited to save!
I have hope, ya know? I’m still in a tough spot right now, but it doesn’t feel permanent. It feels like I am in the middle of some hard life changes and turning to an old addiction to ease the transition. I am aware of what’s going on, and why I’m buying, buying, buying. And that awareness has gotta be worth something.
Once again, I’m going to ask you all to be respectful and kind in these comments. This is a difficult and deeply personal matter for me. More so, in some ways, than body image. In my last post on this topic, I got an outpouring of support and incredibly helpful suggestions, which I both appreciated and applied (as you read above). But in the past, I have been lambasted and judged for my honesty in these shopping ban/financial posts, so I am eternally wary. As I said six months ago, you may think countless nasty things about me because of how I’ve handled my post-ban behavior and finances, but I will not publish those nasty things here under any circumstances.