September 21st- 75 days
October 16th- 100 days
I began my spending ban adventure on July 8th which I have to admit feels like it was ages ago now! In my last update post (which you can read here if you'd like) I hadn't completely committed to the concept of a "100 day spending ban". If I'm totally honest I still thought that the prospect of lasting one hundred days without spending any money on anything 'frivolous' would simply be impossible for me, and I wasn't readily going to set myself up to fail.
In the twenty five days since I published that post quite a lot of things have changed for me. First and foremost I have successfully completed fifty days without buying any make-up, beauty related item, magazine or any clothing. My only 'purchase' was made using some of my Boots reward points which I spent on replacing an anti-perspirant, which I consider as an essential anyway. For me this success has proved that my will power is a lot stronger than I ever considered it to be before - lasting one hundred days is therefore not only genuinely possible for me but for the first time I feel positively confident about achieving the feat. Secondly, in this second quarter of my spending ban I have stopped obsessively compiling my "post spending ban wishlist". Before I wrote my previous spending ban post I spent a lot of my spare time thinking about shopping, stalking #haul on Instagram, desperately wanting to buy things I saw and adding said beauty items to a rather incredible and indulgent list that, as it has been left standing, has a total value of approximately £280. This wishlist, and indeed the idea of any wild spending spree once my spending ban challenge has been completed, has become irrelevant to me now. I've come to realise over the last twenty-five days that this spending ban is about a lot more than not buying stuff for a protracted period of time.
It has taken fifty days of self control to realise that for me my shopping habits were unhealthy. I may not be in debt and I may not have shopped every day but what I had definitely done was forge an emotional connection with spending money. Every time that I was upset I would go shopping. Now, this may not be a revolutionary statement and I am well aware that shopping to make oneself feel better is not entirely abnormal, however, it isn't a healthy coping mechanism. Emotional shopping is different from impulse shopping, it isn't about being enticed by packaging and advertising. Emotional shopping is an attempt to fill an emotional void or soothe an emotional wound with accumulation of things and/or with the thrill of spending money. I personally think people everywhere, unless constantly holding their wits about them, will inevitably be lured into impulse purchases and this isn't always necessarily a bad thing. But I also think that people everywhere don't experience this same 'shopping buzz' or that they necessarily experience the same emotional connection with obtaining new possessions. It is this relationship with shopping that I have identified in myself through the process of giving up shopping for my spending ban.
Removing a coping mechanism inevitably causes issues. For me, these issues presented themselves in my obsessive writing of wishlists and my initial promise to myself of great rewards 'if only I could last out my allotted time'. Now that I have acquired a much greater level of self awareness I realise that these issues and that mind-set is flawed, especially if this spending ban is to have any positive and lasting effect on my life and emotional well-being. I want to confront my emotions directly and deal with them healthily so I am going to endeavour not to return to old, unhealthy patters of behaviour once my spending ban ends. This means no post spending ban 'haul' and a revised attitude towards shopping. The best way to set myself up to succeed (which we should always try to help ourselves to do) is to come up with a couple of rules and tips for once my spending ban ends. I am in the process of constructing just such a plan and hope to share this in my next spending ban update post.
I know this has been a long and serious post but I think that my improved level of self awareness was something worth sharing. Especially when I am regularly asked "what is the point of a spending ban challenge?" Challenges, self imposed goals and tests always have the potential to teach us a lot about ourselves and how we can improve ourselves, we just have to pay attention. I'm not just going through the motions and I try and never do that in any area of my life. For whomever has read this post beginning to end, thank you ever so much for your patience and your interest. I hope you found it worthwhile and I wish you luck with any challenges or goals that you might have set yourself. It's important to remember that at any time we, as individuals, are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Good luck, and hopefully see you again in twenty five days time!