Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fiscal Fast February

I will be the first to admit that one of my weaknesses is impulse buying. Ug, bad, I know! I partially blame modern technology - I mean, it's so ridiculously easy to get that thing you need want on Amazon when the app is on your phone and it stores your credit card info. Click, click, it's on its way in 45 seconds.

Or let's talk about this little phenomenon, shall we?

Running in to Target for one thing is like a joke for most of us, no? So when I heard about this little thing going around called "Fiscal Fast February" on a few of the Youtube channels I watch, I was intrigued. It's basically exactly how it sounds: for the entire month of February, you only purchase necessities. I see it both as a way to retain money in my bank account, as well as to perhaps just get used to living without those little impulse purchases - a new nail polish at the grocery store, the do-dad a coworker tells you she got on Amazon that you decide you can't live without (yes, I just said do-dad), a quick run into Old Navy for a white cami that ends with a shopping bag much too large for just a white cami. Let me just say that I shop FAR less after having kids than I did before, and that in the grand scheme of things, I feel that most of my purchases are kid-related, however, I know these frequent little purchases are a habit I'd prefer to break. So how'd I do?

What necessities did I buy in February?
Groceries - but I am proud to say I did not purchase one thing that wasn't food, beverage, or household-related (ie cleaning products, tissues, etc).  
Gas - 'cause, well, I ain't walkin' to work ;-)
Gifts - I have a baby shower coming up, and got the kids each a little Valentine's Day present
School supplies - Jake needed Valentines for his class party, and I certainly wasn't going to deprive him of those for the sake of my little experiment. If I was hard-core, I'd have made them by hand with supplies we already have, but listen, I work, I have two energetic kids, I'm tired people. For $7, he got his Paw Patrol Valentines and some organic gummy bears to hand out and he was happy.

*And of course, though I'm not going to list them individually, all of our mortgage and utility expenses got paid, because those people do not take kindly to being called "unnecessary." 

Did I fall off the wagon?
The short answer is yes. But first let me say, I really and truly tried to stick to the spirit of the month, and I think I did a decent job. For example, two days into February, my Bluetooth speaker in my car bit the dust, and had it happened a week earlier, I would have just hopped on Amazon and ordered a new one. But, I refrained, and you know what? I've easily made it through the month without it. Weeks ago, I lost my favorite white cami that I wear all the time, and I was itching to replace it, but I resisted the siren's song of Target and Old Navy and guess what? I found it this morning buried in a pile of clean laundry!, my all-time favorite website for natural products, keeps sending me coupons, gosh durnit, and I keep deleting them. Those are just a few examples of times where my check-out finger was itchy, but I stuck to my frugal February guns, and I have to say, I enjoyed the feeling!

BUT, I had two transgressions. The first was minor. I had a Kohl's gift card (which, according to the rules, was exempt from FFF, because it was a gift to me). Everything I picked out for myself was covered by the gift card (go clearance racks, and go me!), but I could not pass up a winter coat and puffer vest for Jake for next year that were on final clearance, plus an additional 30% off, so I scored both for $12. In my mind, it would have been stupid to pass those up now, only to pay full price for them next fall. That's just bad shopping. The second was...well, not as minor. Ok, I bought a couch. But in my defense, have you seen the President's Day furniture sales? I will never buy furniture at any other time of year. We've been needing a new one for awhile now, and again, I'm not going to pass up a killer deal now to pay full price in a month or two. That's bananas.

So overall, I loved this little challenge. I will definitely repeat it every few months as a fun way to really think about what I'm spending, and I challenge you to do the same! 

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