Hi there! I'm very excited to be guest posting for Lauren today while she's in London (lucky girl!). Just a little about me before I tell you why I can never go on a spending hiatus (or a diet). I'm a single mom to two great kids and one fur baby. Olivia and Jacob are my kids and Bocce is our mischievous mini-schnauzer. I blog over at Desert Willow Lane about my obsession with DIY, design and transforming our boring-builder-beige-cookie-
My kids and I took a vacation to Disneyland this summer. When we got home, I was pretty broke. I try to live within my means and not use credit cards, so I did pay cash for the trip. I did have to take some money out of my emergency savings account though. Suzy Orman would not approve! (Don't worry Suzy, I promise that I will get my emergency fund restocked!). While I do make it a habit to save money, I also want to enjoy right now with my kids because they will only be little once, and we want to have fun and make memories together.
Even before we left for Disneyland, I was already feeling like I had been spending a lot of money on buying things to decorate our home. Then, a thought popped into my head, “Maybe I should go on a spending hiatus next month?” I've seen plenty of other bloggers do it, most of them for a month, but I've also seen entire blogs dedicated to not buying anything new for an entire year.
Immediately, my chest tightened, my breathing quickened, my mind started racing with thoughts about the projects I wanted to do, lIke finishing my window treatment project in my kitchen. I had already bought the fabric, but I still needed to buy the mini-blind and I also wanted to add trim molding around the window. What about buying flowers for the pots on my patio? I haven't done that yet either. I immediately decided that I needed to run to Home Depot the next day to buy the shade, trim molding, potting soil and flowers before next month's spending hiatus started. Then it hit me, I was having a total freak out! Wouldn't running out to buy everything before next month totally defeat the purpose of going on a spending hiatus?
Then, I remembered an article I read recently by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, about how she had to completely abstain from her favorite frozen yogurt desert because she couldn't eat it in moderation. Gretchen poses the question are you an abstainer or a moderator when it comes to food?
This was a no brainer for me. I knew I was a moderator because when I was a senior in high school I gained about 15 pounds pretty quickly after volleyball season was over. I'd go home after school, plunk down on the couch, watch TV and stuff my face with chips and candy. Before I knew it, my jeans didn't fit (no kidding). I tried dieting to lose the weight. Counting calories and meal planning became my obsession. I was constantly thinking about food, and I was constantly hungry. I'd wind up eating my diet food and then feel so deprived that I'd fall off the wagon and eat what I wanted on top of that. Then, I'd feel bad about myself for not having any willpower.
During that time, I read a magazine article about a woman who got off of the dieting crazy train. She stopped dieting, tried to just eat when she was hungry, stopped eating when she was full, tried to eat a balanced healthy diet (but nothing was off limits) and just ate and exercised in moderation. Sounded good to me! I decided to give it a try. I ate whatever I wanted, but only when I was actually hungry, I stopped eating when I felt full. I tried to eat healthy, but if I wanted a piece of cake I could have it and not feel guilty. I also started riding my bike, and before I knew it the pounds came off and I was back to my normal weight.
I figured, that for me, it was the same premise with money as it was with food. The minute I felt deprived or like I couldn't buy a mini-blind or a can of spray paint for a project, I would panic.
A better plan for me, as a moderator, is to determine a set amount of money that I want to save every month, have it automatically transferred into my savings account, and also have a set amount of money that I can spend for my home projects. Otherwise, I go into crazy hoarding mode and want to run out and buy everything because next month, I won't be able to buy anything. This is a plan that I can live with.
So, this month I'll buy some pretty flowers to plant in my pots on my patio. The mini-blinds and trim molding can wait until next month, and eventually, I'll have my savings account built back up, without feeling deprived.
What about you? What do you think your style is? Are you an abstainer or a moderator?