Must NOT Shop

It is funny that I consider myself OCD – I am a Virgo, so it’s imbedded in my character, if you believe in that stuff. When I think of OCD people, I think about hypochondriacs and neat freaks. I have described myself as lazy to some extent, something I definitely don’t associate with OCD (though anyone that’s watched Hoarders will understand that OCD has nothing to cleanliness or energy) and I lack discipline. Funny, then, that when I say that I am on my second month of my disciplined budgeting, I am being very OCD and accounting for each penny spent.

In May, once I committed to making this a new 12-month project, I made a radical financial decision. I took a HUGE chunk of my savings and paid off my existing credit card. This was a scary decision! There is something to be said for having a large savings balance. There is also something to be said about paying interest to a banking institution on a monthly basis. Ultimately, none of this matters if I just start shopping indiscriminately and racking up that credit card debt again!

The two financial decisions I made recently may seem to be somewhat separate, but to me, it makes no sense to implement one and not the other. If you are too scared to look at what you spend on a daily basis, you aren’t holding yourself accountable for your own financial decisions. If you are too scared to open a credit card statement, how long do you think that can continue before you begin to hit credit limits, or incur over the limit fees, or default rates? How can I avoid using my credit cards if I have no concept of what I pay out in bills and living expenses? And, talking about it keeps me honest.

I get paid once a month. For a shopaholic, it’s a long time in between highly anticipated shopping trips. For the near future, my primary focus is to not use credit cards and stay balance free. I cannot wait to reach some goal (that I haven’t set for myself yet) and enjoy the fruits of my labor. In the meantime, every penny counts!

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Can I go Cash Only?!?

I am going to stop shopping or at least stop spontaneous shopping!  I know this sounds weird considering my recent post was lamenting about financial responsibility and that we all have a right to shop without judgment.  However, that does not mean that I am oblivious to the pitfalls of overspending or racking up too much debt. 

Before we bought our condo, I was so frugal.  I didn’t care what I wore to work.  The apartment we rented was so outdated; I never spent money on decorating.  It would have been a waste of my money!  Now, I buy anything I want.  One extreme to the other…

Balance is a difficult thing for me.  I either go to the gym gung-ho for three months or I don’t go at all for four.  I do the same thing with shopping.  The first step is to figure out how I can shop and buy a couple things over the course of the month instead of feast and famine.

Do I really NEED to buy it ALL and NOW?  Last year I finally convinced the bf we should take up camping (a feat in itself).  It’s an affordable way to vacation, and many campgrounds allow dogs.  Because we had never been camping, we had almost no equipment.  Instead of buying a couple sleeping bags and a tent and acquiring everything else come with time, I cleared out the packing list REI provides on their site.  Nowadays I hate lacking anything, whether I need it or not!  The second step is to edit the list of things I want/need.

None of this matters if I can’t be consistent in achieving these goals.  If I decide not to use credit cards, I need this to become part of my financial budgeting.  It doesn’t make sense to go through this process if next month I throw it all out the window to buy the pair of sapphire earrings I want without saving cash to pay for them.  This is really where all the hard work comes into play!  I get paid once a month, so until I get through an entire month, it’s all just lip service.  So, that leaves the final step of consistency in applying this discipline over time – not just week to week.

As I eluded in my last post, this is still a new project.  I still haven’t figured out: do I budget to buy myself a little something each week or do I wait until the end of the month and use leftover cash for the next great buy?  What happens when an unexpected event comes up, such as a vet visit for the Bear?  How will I respond to maybe not getting that one thing that month?  I know these issues sound simple – just don’t buy it, you don’t need it, who are you trying to impress… How do you decide when you can buy something?  Do you just charge it, wait till you save the money, talk yourself out of needing it?  I cannot be the only one that struggles with these decisions.  I can’t wait till I make some of them!

Heather

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a whole lotta nothing!

I have nothing!

My weekend kitchen experiment last Sunday was not quite what I was looking for.  Great idea; I think the recipe could be better.  I’m going to try again with some changes.  I’ll report back…

Vacation plan is forming.  Unfortunately it is fairly far into the future.  Too early to book so I just can’t discuss.  I’ll report back…

No shopping lately.  Working a bit on discipline.  I have a couple of financial goals I’m working towards, and this shopaholic is suffering from withdrawal.  Literally!  I’m two weeks in to my new plan so it’s too early to know if I’ll be able to stick with it.  I’ll report back…

We’re going camping with the Bear in July.  We’ve had no spring or sun, just rain.  Hopefully we’ll get summer here in New England.  Right now, who knows?!  I’ll report back.

So, I have a whole lot to look forward to, but right now… just a whole lotta nothing!

Heather

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Material Girl for Life!

How do you deal with paying for your shopping habits? Do you allot a certain amount of your paycheck to buy that one certain thing you’ve been eyeing for the past month? Do you shop the year away charging it and pay off the credit card bills when you receive your tax refund? Why do we blame people for wanting nice things? Why blame the American way of life? I believe there is a disconnection of perspective between materialism and fiscal responsibility.

People think living beyond our means is an American ill… Well, I surely don’t believe it is! People have been spending other people’s money for thousands of years! The triumphs celebrated by Roman emperors were paid for by taxes or booty. Monarchies around the world have paid for priceless jewels, gowns, balls, palaces, lovers – the list is infinite, with tax money, state resources, and others’ lives picking up the tab. There have always been people who want what others have or just to have nice things because we work for our paychecks.  If the bills are paid on time and you have 6 months of living expenses in the bank (a la Suze Orman), then who does it hurt?   

Cocobear gets a paycheck in treats when she does her job, heeling, sitting, recall, etc. I get my paycheck for showing up to the office each week and completing my tasks. Why shouldn’t we enjoy what we work for if it brings us joy?

One of the first albums I owned as a little girl was Madonna’s Like a Virgin, which OF COURSE is the home of the timeless Material Girl. I was seven years old. I’m not saying it was destiny, but I’m not saying it wasn’t…

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Essie’s French Affair Swatches & Review

I have finally gone through the Essie Spring 2011 French Affair collection and swatched all of them!  I am not the best photographer, and I hope to improve; but in the meantime, I hope you can at least get an idea of what each polish looks like.

I ordered this collection early in my polish spree, thinking it had a good array of soft pastels and neutrals.  I really like all the colors.

  • Nice is Nice is a nice lavender purple that is very wearable in the spring.
  • Topless and Barefoot is my least favorite, but I still prefer the soft pinkish nude better than Ballet Slippers, which IMO is an overrated color.
  • French Affair if a soft pink with a good amount of pigment – I like to see the color.
  • Coat Azure is just a fun blue that will make a perfect pedi one of these summer days!
  • I am surprised at how much I liked Sand Tropez.  I was worried it would zap all color from my hands, but it really was a tan neutral color that I could see.
  • Kisses and Bises reminded me of the OPI Cotton Candy I would get over acrylic tips as a teenager.

Finally, I didn’t find any of the colors too fussy, which I was worried about especially with the lighter cream colors.  I don’t believe I’ll buy an entire collection again, but I am happy with this purchase!

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Where in the world?…

I spend my year dreaming about the one trip we’re taking next year.  I was hoping this year would be a bit different.  Last year included no trips abroad.  It was definitely not by design, but it was my biggest disappointment of the year.  We need to make up for that!

Our trip for 2010 was intended to be to St. Lucia in the Caribbean.  Unfortunately a hurricane hit the week before we were to travel and caused significant damage to the area we were to stay.  So, we postponed our vacation all the way to March 2011.  That meant no travel for 2010…. and it was a LONG winter here in Boston!

Originally our trip for 2011 was supposed to be to Italy.  This is the second and most likely final visit to Italy: Florence and Venice on the first trip and Rome and Amalfi Coast on this one.  Here is where my OCD planning set me up for heartbreak!  Instead of waiting to book our postponed vacation for September, the time I wanted to travel to Italy for my birthday, I re-scheduled the original trip for March to Turks and Caicos.  It was beautiful, but it just didn’t do it for me.

Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos

But now I don’t know if we can do Italy in September.  The bf has limited vacation time and I’m trying to eek every last bit of his time into fun stuff for me!

I started to think any trip would be better than none.  Maybe I can settle on a 5-night trip to say Barcelona or Portugal instead of the 7 to 8 nights in Italy.   Maybe I could live with that compromise…

This morning, I was at the park with Cocobear to play with the neighborhood fur babies.  I was chatting with Cocobear’s boyfriend’s owner about my recent change of plans, when a neighbor approaches and joins in the conversation, not really knowing my original destination.  “My favorite place was when we drove down the coast of Italy and just would find the most beautiful places on the Amalfi Coast…”

TORTURE!

So now what to do?  My life has halted until this decision is made!  There is nothing I would rather do than to book this trip to Italy.  The trip is planned.  I have a complete itinerary.  Do we just hold off for this year?  Next year is supposed to be Hawaii….  Where do we go if we can’t do Italy this year?  Anywhere we go still has to be the greatest!  Where in the world would you go if you could only go on a 5 night vacation?  Where is your favorite place?

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NOTD – Butter LONDON All Hail the Queen

I shop in OCD spurts.  I like to have everything I want from that category before I can move on to the next.  I also LOVE color!  My favorite color changes on my mood, sometimes by trend, and varies often. So what better than nail polish to add a splash to my everyday workwear?  This year I started off with this new obsession with a bang!  I’ve purchased dozens of polishes from several different brands across all colors.  With this blog recently lying idle, what better place to show off my new found obsession and maybe help people with a couple of swatches along the way.

A couple months ago, I came across swatches of the Butter LONDON All Hail the Queen polish.  It’s a taupe with pinky-purple undertones (my professional opinion – ha!) with what is described as holographic shimmer.  Just in the bottle it’s beautiful… It applied so smoothly!  And with the Seche Vite top coat, which is my current holy grail, it looks so sleek and professional, people think I have a gel nail manicure.  Sorry for the picture quality…

I just love it and this may be my current fave (though I have a ton of new colors still try and share with you!)…

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