Wednesday, June 21, 2017

May Recap and Dress Donation

Time seriously needs to slow down.  Like for serious.  Back when I was in the throes of new momville (AKA 9 days between showers, 1.68 hours of sleep a day, baby attached to one boob or the other at all times, and lots and lots of crying - from the baby, that is) people kept saying, "Oh just enjoy every second.  It goes by so fast.  You'll blink and they'll be off to college."

And I'd have to fake smile and bite my tongue to avoid shouting back, "I sure hope it goes by fast!"

But in reality, they were right.  It goes by way too fast and before you know it your child is sleeping through the night yet scaling bookshelves and rolling off couches.  Funny how when your babe turns into a toddler you get much more sleep at night yet you're just as tired because their daytime antics are exhausting.

May flew by, but to be honest, it got harder to resist the pull to shop.  May is a great time for stocking up on fun summer clothes and new swimsuits, and I kept seeing so many cute things that I would normally have snatched up right away.  I kept my mind on my goal and resisted!  However, if you see me at the pool and I look a fright, it's because my pre-baby swimsuits are a tad too small but my post-baby swimsuits purchased last summer are a tad too large.  So it's either muffin top or saggy butt for me this swim season.

For May, my goal was to donate at least 10 dresses that I no longer wear or need.

This category has been the hardest for me so far.  I have tons of dresses that I can safely get rid of, but it's hard parting with something I attach to a fun memory (weddings, Vegas girls trips, special dates).  I have to remind myself that the memory is not held in the physical object, but in my heart and mind (and photos don't hurt to keep around either).  

I doubled my goal and purged 20 dresses!

Monday, May 8, 2017

April Recap - Money Well Spent & Items Purged

It's only the 3rd 8th of the month (dangit I really did start this on the 3rd), and I'm getting my recap for the previous month on the blog.

April was a fantastic month, both for my social life and for my non-shopping resolution.  I have had numerous people ask me each month, "How much money have you saved by not shopping?"  I never know how to answer that question, because I never had a shopping budget in the past, so it's hard to know how much I would have spent had I shopped at will.  I decided to make a guess at what I might have purchased this past month had I been shopping as usual.  I'm going to tally up how much I saved, as well as share what I did spend money on this past month.

Money Well Saved
So I tried to stay away from the fashion blogs, I really did, but I failed at that.  I just love reading blogs.  Not just fashion blogs (cooking, mom life, interior design, organizing, etc.), but I couldn't quit that category altogether.  There were many items this past month that caught my eye (hello spring!), but I resisted them all.  Here are things that I'm guessing I might have purchased.  And I'm purposefully not linking these items or telling you where they're for sale, because if I can't have them, then you can't either!!!  ;-P
$29

$29

 $42
$23
$60

$38

$13

Obviously I'm just guessing and who knows if some of those would have actually fit correctly, but that totals up to around $250.  I know I would have definitely used my employee discount to grab a new tank or 2 and leggings at my barre studio, so that adds another $100 I would have spent.  So I'm going with $350 dollars I saved last month! Cha-ching!


Money Well Spent
So what did I spend money on in April?

A wine date with 2 of my best girlfriends!

A special double date birthday lunch with a dear friend and her sweet girl who is 3 weeks older than Beckett!

Beckett's 1st birthday party!



And a crazy fun girls weekend at a rental house - 12 of us met from all over the country!

I even convinced them to learn a choreographed dance to make a One Direction music video.  #FREE


I can confidently and happily say that those were all meaningful experiences that enriched my life.  MONEY. WELL. SPENT!  It feels good to not only save some skrilla, but to also use what I do spend on things that are truly important.

For April, I thinned out my PJ stash.

I had gone through this drawer pretty recently, so I didn't have as much to purge, but here's what I donated in April: 

I hope you are spending well so far this year!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

March Recap & Workout Clothes Purged

So luckily my New Year's Resolution wasn't to keep up with this blog, because I'd be straight failing.  I'm doing great at my actual resolution, and I can honestly say at this point, my life does feel different in many ways!

Back in mid-March, when I found myself in the mall, it was pretty tempting and difficult.  Now, a month later, it is much easier to resist the pull of retail.  It's empowering to remind myself that I can do anything if I just simply make the decision and commit to it.

I'm also loving my shrinking closet.  It's nice to be more organized, have less stuff jammed in every possible storage space, and to have dresser drawers that close properly.  In March, I went through my workout clothes collection.  

I have been an exercise junkie since college, and I have been teaching fitness classes since 2012, so I have always had a great excuse to buy new leggings or a strappy tank.

In March, I donated 18 workout tops, 1 pair of capris, and 1 pair of leggings.  

More recaps and closet purges here.  Pajamas and loungewear are up next!  


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pro Tip: "Immersion Therapy"

On the latest episode of Mama JuneBug: From Hot to Not (hey, I never said this blog would discuss how to choose upstanding television programming), Mama June is trying to lose weight but takes her kids to an ice cream shop.  MAKES NO SENSE!

Now I'm sure it was just a staged scene anyway (WE Tv clearly thinks its viewers are all idiots), but it typically is a good rule of thumb to avoid temptation when you're trying to resist it.  At the beginning of the year, this was my hard-and-fast rule.  Avoid shopping websites, avoid fashion blogs, avoid malls, avoid stores, avoid Instagram, etc.  You can't fail if you can't fail!  

But several times this month I've ended up in a department store or at the mall for some good reason or another.  My initial thought was "RUN!," followed by "Ooo that's a cute dress!," followed by "This ain't no thang."  Being in my former natural environment and coming out without spending a dime was actually empowering!  I can see things I want to buy, and I can make the decision not to. 

I joked to my mom as we walked through Dillard's, "this is my immersion therapy."  Maybe "exposure therapy" is a better term, but either way, it strengthened my resolve.  So if you're on this journey with me - maybe you should give it a try as well.  (Not after happy hour though, of course.)  Hit the mall, your favorite boutique, or window shop online and resist the urge!  Let me know how you do, and how you feel after you succeed!


Thursday, March 2, 2017

February Recap & More Items Purged

Man did February fly by or what!?  It's crazy to think I am already 1/6 the way through my non-shopping journey.  So far, so good.  I have stuck to my goal without any slip-ups.  Not that it's always easy.

Case-in-point: Just this past week I ran into the super cute kids' boutique MudPie, because I still have a gift card to use for Beckett.  Whelp of course the first thing I see is an adorable woman's dress.  Followed by perfect-for-me wine glasses (Mimosas All Day and If You're Gonna Brunch, Brunch Hard - might as well have had a tag on them that said "These are for Nora!"), super cute $12 tassel bracelets, and awesome home decor pieces.


Seriously, MudPie!?  I thought I was safe here.  I thought this was a store with over-priced but precious CHILDREN'S clothes!  My inner dialog went something like this:  You have a gift card.  You won't be spending any ACTUAL money on yourself.  It's totally fine.  Buy 1 wine glass for yourself and 1 for a friend.  That's a gift.  No, Nora focus.  Your goal is much more important!  

Ridiculous monolog aside, I reminded myself that this journey is not just about saving money but about minimalizing (<--apparently not a real word but I'm going with it) and breaking the addiction to stuff.  I quickly shopped for Beck and then high-tailed it out of there without buying anything for me.  Mission accomplished.  Barely.

As I entered my closet to do my February purge, I decided to switch it up by focusing on one area of the closet each month.  I MUST get rid of at least 10 from each category, but I can go over if there is more to be purged.  Here's my plan for each month in case you want to join me in your own closet!


So here are the 15 tees and tanks I am donating this month:

Let me know if you are purging along with me!  Find more monthly recaps here.  Happy March!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Clothe Yourself in Love

I love sharing this journey with my friends, because just when I need it (but without even asking for it), they offer encouragement!  My sweet friend Jenni texted me this verse last week.


She reminded me that there are more important things to clothe ourselves with than new clothing!

As I've been thinking about this verse, I have been asking the question how.  How do we clothe ourselves with love?  What habits can I purposefully create to help become a more loving person?  Here are some of my ideas.
  • Each day when you get dressed or change clothes, say a prayer.  Ask for help in showing love to others in all circumstances! (Like even when your husband leaves his dirty dishes on the counter for the umpteenth time...)  Or thank the Lord for the unconditional love He shows you.  Make it a prayer of love!  Don't pray?  As you get dressed, set a positive goal for showing love to someone or repeat a love-focused mantra.
  • When you think something positive about someone else - tell them!  How often do we think things in our heads without sharing?  That sweet, encouraging phrase could be exactly what someone needs to keep going.  This applies to strangers, too.  See a mom at the grocery store being sweet to her child?  Tell her she's a good mother!  Love the cashier's sunny attitude?  Thank them for it!  Person next to you at the gym has great sneakers?  Compliment them!  Spread love by just sharing what you are already thinking about others!
  • Remind yourself that EVERYONE deserves love.  Clothing ourselves with love means loving everyone - not just people we really like.  Each week think about who you can show love to even though it might be hard.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Why We Buy

Blair Waldorf might not be right, but society sure seems to think so.  I've been thinking a lot lately about why we buy (beyond what we need).  Why is it fun to shop?  Why is it thrilling to acquire a new possession?  Sometimes things we buy make our lives easier or truly add value, but a lot of the time the "value" is just in the fleeting moment of the purchase.  At least for me.  And I'm clearly not alone.  Apparently 60% of what we buy is discretionary.  So why do we buy?

What Scientists Say
Back in the day, humans had to search for food by hunting and gathering.  Since we no longer have to do so, our instincts that are wired for this have found a new goal in shopping.  Shopping can also cause a release of dopamine in the brain - the same release that happens in response to food, sex, and drugs.  Just as some people struggle with addictions to those things, some people become addicted to the dopamine release they receive from shopping.  Well, that makes sense!

What Economists Say
America has never done much to encourage its people to save.  We have almost unlimited access to credit, and most credit card companies will let you pay a mere 2% of your balance each month.  This is pretty much unheard of in Europe and the rest of the world.

We also can shop easier and faster than ever with online shopping (Amazon Prime is the bomb, just sayin') and smart phones.


What Psychologists Say
We are heavily influenced by marketing.  Advertisers have gotten very good at creating adverts that create emotional responses within us and in turn lead us to buy those products.  Research has shown that even when we don't think we are affected by an ad, our brain often tells a different story.

We also can't resist a "sale."
Every time we contemplate a purchase, our brain is weighing the pleasure it gets from acquiring the item against the pain it gets from spending money.  The less money you need to spend, the easier it becomes to make the decision to buy.  It makes perfect sense that clothing companies raise the initial prices of their merchandise just so they can put it all on sale.  And we totally fall for it.  "The original price was $50, but I got it for $20!!  Can you believe that!?"

My Additional Thoughts
I love television.  But I do think the attitudes towards shopping shown on many of my favorite shows - always having a new outfit, the importance of knowing and following trends, the normalcy of spending frivolously - have negatively influenced my shopping behaviors.

I also have used shopping as a reward over the years.  It's easier to justify shopping when you have a valid reason why you "earned" it.
Man how I love Tom.

Fashion blogs (and IG) have also helped feed my need to buy.  I love seeing gorgeously styled photos of fashionable women in fab outfits, but that usually leads to clicking one of the gazillion links to possibly purchase something they were wearing.  It also constantly shows me what's new in fashion which leads to wanting those new things.  Because 250 tops aren't enough if you don't have the one with a built-in choker...

I think that generations past could say they overspent because growing up they didn't have any wiggle room for "fun" or "just because" purchases.  They grew up with only the bare necessities (and sometimes didn't have those either), and once they worked their tails off to create a better life as an adult, they wanted to enjoy it and give their children what they never had.  It totally makes sense.  But my generation can't claim this.  We grew up (well most of us - yes, I know there are those that didn't) with not a need in the world and not even usually a want that didn't get fulfilled.
While not a bad thing, this has caused a new problem.  A generation of us who are used to getting what we want, throwing this or that in the cart at Target, not seeing the need to budget.

I believe that by examining why we buy, we can become better equipped to make smarter purchasing decisions and stop the cycle of drunken consumerism.

Sources:
*https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150929070419.htm
*http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/s1907307.htm
*http://www.npr.org/2011/12/05/143149947/why-americans-spend-too-much
*http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-tribu-americans-spend-story-story.html
*https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/03/the-neurological-pleasures-of-modern-shopping/388577/