Six Hours

That's about how long it took after my last blog post for me to break my shopping ban. As I was driving home, I decided to get McDonald's for dinner. And I didn't just stop with a meal, I also got a shamrock shake ($9.72).

Then, on Saturday, I went to Michaels and bought a bunch of stencils and stamps. ($33.88).

Saturday night, I was watching a YouTube video that included watercolor painting and saw the Gansai Tambi paint set for about the millionth time and dropped $40 on that and some white gel pens I'd been wanting to try. I threw in some underwear, partly because I needed it but mostly to allow myself to justify the whole impulse to shop.

Finally, on Valentine's Day, I went to Taco Bell to grab dinner ($5.65). I don't care about Valentine's Day, I was just having a craving and indulged it.

Lately, I have begun to feel like one great big blobby consumer - nothing more. I earn money, I spend the money, I eat food. My apartment is piled with things.

And it's almost all about anxiety and loneliness. I see what's going on in our country right now, I feel hopeless and empty, I feel the absence of personal connections in my local community, and I go buy things.

I literally sit in my car thinking, "I don't need to spend money this way. It's not going to make me feel better." Then I do it, anyway. This seems to be one of my main coping mechanisms with stress and anxiety but it's not coping at all... It's self-sabotage.

Anyway, it's a day early but tomorrow's my birthday and I'm not blogging. My grand total for against ban spending this past week was $89.25. Rather than reducing to zero, I tripled what I spent in the three weeks prior. I might need to rethink and rejigger this experiment. Maybe a reset for a shorter time period. I'll think about that Saturday.

Three Weeks

I haven't written in three weeks because I was on vacation from January 26 - February 5. Woohoo! It was the first real vacation I've had since I moved to Indiana in late December 2015 and it was gloriously boring.

I've given myself a lot more leeway for spending when I'm out of town but still managed not to go crazy.

January 21-27
  • January 24 - Burger King - $8.36 - had a morning meeting away from the office and didn't get creative enough to bring a lunch that didn't need refrigeration.
January 28 - February 3
  • January 30 - Michaels - $10.79 - went to the craft store with my mom, realized later than I would have liked about 15 other things more than the one thing I chose to buy.
February 4 - 10
  • February 5 - Michaels - $7.48 - stopped when I got back to Bloomington and bought notebooks. Oy!
  • February 7 - McDonald's - $5.55
  • February 8 - Taco Bell - $6.60
Total spent against ban over the past three weeks: $38.78

I spent an additional $27.42 on fast food while I was on the road but that's allowable under the conditions of my shopping ban. Having spent about 26.5 hours driving during my vacation, I think my fast food spending was kept pretty well in check. Having snacks for the car and taking along breakfast as I set out from Bloomington helped. Honestly, I'm a bit shocked by how little I spent since I built in the fast-food-on-the-road-is-okay rule. My M.O. in such situations would usually be to "treat myself" A LOT but I just didn't for the most part.

Three weeks with less than $40 in against ban spending. I'm going to make my goal for the coming week $0 against ban spending. Going from around $13 a week to zero should be doable.