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  1. Shopping Ban - Halfway Already?!

    Saturday, March 28, 2015

    As I was getting ready this morning I did some mental math and realized that the end of March marks my halfway period through my 6-month shopping ban. This rocked me because:

    a) how the hell is it already April
    b) the last three months haven't been as hard as I thought

    So far, my greatest struggles have been with unexpected expenses and with not buying fast food for myself.

    In February, my logic board in my MacBook when kaput, and since I use my laptop for freelance, income, I couldn't not replace the board. So $600 later, I had a new backup drive and logic board (which was still cheaper than a new computer). Thanks to a few other big expenses, like new contacts, I had over $900 in credit card expenses In February. Crud.

    I have broken my fast food rule a number of times, mostly because I haven't had time in the morning to pack myself lunch for work. However, one thing that is helping is bringing in snacks to work to keep there, like yogurt, hummus, crackers etc so even on those days when I don't have a lunch I still have something to eat close at hand and I don't just go a grab a sandwich down the street.

    I admit that I paid $20 to get spicy Thai chicken soup delivered to me when I was sick.
    It was worth every penny.
    I think what makes the shopping ban so easy for me is that fact that I am lazy. Seriously. It takes a lot of effort to coordinate with Ian to have the car, walk, bus or find a Pogo car (local car share) nearby. Depending on what the thing it, its easier just to go without it than to go through a lot of rigamarole to buy it. I have to ask myself: is this really worth investing my time and/or money for this item?

    Take today, for example. I ended up taking a Pogo to the south side of the city to pick up a few allowed cosmetic and sewing items. That meant the clock was running on the car, and I was getting charged for every minute I was in the store. This encouraged me to get in and get out, and to not get pulled in by the fabrics and makeup, even though I would have really loved to browse.

    We live just outside the Pogo zone (where you are allowed to end your car reservation), so whether I'm travelling by bus, by foot, or by Pogo I have to limit myself to what I can carry, which means I won't be over-shopping. Pogo is really great for those times when buses aren't running where or when I need them to, or if I need to bring something that is too unwieldy for the bus.

    So I'm finding the shopping ban easy. But is it working? YES.

    Other things that are worth the rigamarole of coordinating schedules with your husband?
    Long overdue haircuts.
    My original goal of this ban was twofold: to stop using my credit card for purchases that should be paid with cash (unlike internet purchases, donations, Pogo etc), and to pay down my credit card debt.

    In March, I am excited to say that I have put more payments on my credit card than I've put debt on it. While I still have $4,911 on my card, I put on $1,300 in payments on it just this month (and put  $300 of debt), without my chequing account going to $0. Talk about progress! This was the whole point of the shopping ban and I am so excited to see results so quickly - I thought I wouldn't get to this point until the end.