Shop till you drop – Spending my money in line with my values and goals.

Shopping has always been somewhat of a recreation activity for me. I enjoy the immediacy of online shopping and the experience of shopping in some of the lovely high street stores in my local town.

I love nothing more than selecting the perfect item myself or someone else. However, when I came across this blog, http://andthenwesaved.com/ it started to change my outlook on this.

Facing a significant level of debt on an average salary, she decided drastic action was needed to move her out of this cycle. She employed the ‘debt fast’ approach. Similar to a fast from food, she cut out all unnecessary spending and managed to pay off her debt in around a year.

I really liked her strategy of drawing up a list of ‘wants’ versus ‘needs’.
After reading her journey, I started to realise how much of my own spending was habitual or accidental rather than considered purchasing.

In my previous job, I travelled a lot and would often have time to kill between meetings. This led to a serious Costa Coffee habit, and lots of time to peruse the shops and make impulse buys. A real favourite was charity shops, where I felt I couldn’t pass a bargain up as it may not be there the following time I visited. What I didn’t consider was if I really needed or wanted it!

In my effort to live more consciously, I wanted to spend my money in a more considered way. I have drawn up my own list of regular purchases that are ‘wants’ rather than needs. Over the next few months I am going to make a concerted effort to think before these purchases and try to utilise my spending for other things.

The Red Welly Wants List

  • Gifts and impromptu presents. I love finding the perfect gift for people but want to spend more time making homemade presents. I enjoy crafting and baking and so want to make more and buy less.
  • Coffee at Posh Coffee Shops. Luckily I have never been a Starbucks fan, but following the recent tax issues, I am avoiding these completely.
  • Clothes and Shoes. In my old role, I definitely had a Corporate Wardrobe (black, black and more black) and then my own weekend wardrobe. With my change of job, the work wardrobe is too formal and I am enjoying wearing my own style to work. A recent clear out of my wardrobe demonstrated that I already have enough clothes, so I have decided not to buy any clothes or shoes for the next 3 months and wear what I already have. I also hope this will force me to be a bit more creative with customising and adapting clothing I already have.
  • Trinkets. I love a beautiful trinket, especially for the house. But as with my clothing collection, I already have more than enough and if anything want to simplify and declutter my home. So, just because something is beautiful, it doesn’t mean I have to buy it!
  • eBay bargains. I can happily spend hours trawling through ebay and have a particular obsession with buying dresses. There was a stage when I had a package arriving every day, and although they may only be a few pounds each, it all adds up. It will also give our postman a break!
  • Make up and toiletries. I love a bit of girly make up and have a penchant for bright red lipstick and vintage style make up. Each trip to Boots now means I have enough make up and toiletries to last me for years. So I need to use up what I have before I buy more.
  • Music from Itunes. This one may be slightly controversial for some of you. Buying music, especially direct to your phone is so easy now. However, like some of the items above, I already have hundreds of albums that I barely listen to. I need to enjoy what I have, instead of unconsciously accumulating more.

As you can see Eating Out, Food, Books, Travel, Stationery and Social events don’t appear on my wants list, I see them much more as needs! By reducing the wants, hopefully I can spend more on my needs and get a greater return.

What are your ‘Wants’ instead of ‘Needs’. Is there anything you would like to cut back on buying? Everyone’s list will be different.

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8 thoughts on “Shop till you drop – Spending my money in line with my values and goals.

  1. I like it. Used to teach a PSHE lesson Needs and Wants so I could share it with you? Gotta a PowerPoint and everything!!;-) I too let money trickle through my fingers. Boots is a killer. I can never leave without spending at least £40! But I think we waste it mostly on little visits to the local one stop or just picking a couple of bits up from Tesco. Need to get back into a proper routine with lists, online supermarket shopping (avoids all the impulse purchase) and budgeting! Good luck with spending less xx

  2. I’m trying to accumulate less, but also to get rid of some things I have – I hope that’s a subject you’re going to tackle. An American friend is doing the #less365: aim is ‘every day for a year, I will get rid of something. I will donate, discard, re-gift or recycle some bit of debris accumulating in my house. Anything non-perishable considered, exempting books and music.’ I liked the idea. I immediately thought, I need a calendar or notebook where I could write something down each day. Don’t think THAT thought was quite right, but the theory is good…

    • Oooh I like that idea! One thing a day sounds easy enough. And I love buying books to write things in (but only til the middle then they feel a bit used and I want to buy a new one! However if I can get past that tricky middle bit I also enjoy the end achievement of filling a book… Starting to think this sounds like my life a bit?! Think my therapy head had gone into overdrive…)

    • Moira

      Definitely an area that I am going to address in future blogs. Simplification is one of the areas I want to focus on as I think it will bring benefits in lots of aspects of my life.
      I also love a notebook and am a compulsive maker of lists. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to record stuff in a beautiful diary or on nice stationery. However, whenever I buy something for this purpose I return home to find at least three similar things already in my house!
      Like you, I probably need to readjust my thought processes on this!

  3. Really liked today’s post. over the next year I am going to try and clear off all debt so that blog is v useful. and if you and moira are getting rid of things send them my way! I’ll need stuff to decorate flat in bristol.

    • Surprisingly living with debt is something we all seem to have got used to doing. Most of the people I know, who have good jobs, solid incomes etc carry an element of debt around with them. It wasn’t the same 30 years ago and the credit explosion and sophisticated consumer marketing have definitely fuelled each other.
      The sad thing is that the debt is limiting their lives now, long after the enjoyment of the spending has worn off.

  4. I’m definitely guilty of this – spending frequently and unnecessarily on little things (ebay and Amazon are my worst offenders, so lots of parcels in the post too!). I’m also a stockpiler – always ‘stocking up’ and buying things ‘in case we need them’.I think much of the temptation comes from the fact that online shopping is so *easy* (I can buy from ebay and Amazon on my phone lying in bed – I know, I’ve done it!). So, to get myself off to a good start I have just spent a very happy hour unsubscribing myself from the gazillions of companies who bombard my Inbox every day with offers, promotions and product news. All too often an email will pop into my Inbox, telling me about some special offer, free postage & packing, limited offer etc, and I will make a spontaneous purchase that hadn’t occurred to me 5 minutes beforehand. These purchases are often justified by me feeling as though I have got myself a *bargain*. Um, no…. I’ve just fallen for their marketing tactic hook line and sinker!! So, now if I want something, hopefully it will be more of a considered purchase and I’ll need to go looking for it online. Fingers crossed 🙂

    • There is something about online purchasing that doesn’t feel quite real and then you have a lovely surprise when a parcel arrives at your door (admittedly less so when you have to take a trek to the Bedford sorting office!). Because money never physically leaves your purse, it seems like a mythical process.
      I think your tip about reducing emails from companies is really good. Like you, I often purchase things becuase they represent a good deal rather than because I have a specific need for it. It also shows you how much you overpay for goods when you buy them full price!

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