Thursday, November 5, 2015

Reflection Week Four …

We finally finished the 31 Days of Zero Spending Challenge.  As I’ve said before, the challenge had a larger impact than anticipated.  It changed, even if only in the short term, the way I look at money and my level of gratitude.  I’m not a natural spender.  I don’t enjoy shopping for new clothes.  I love budgeting and pinching pennies.  I love store brands.  This challenge should have been easy for someone who doesn’t spend right? 

There were so many times I wanted to grab a bite to eat or desperately wanted a Starbucks iced tea.    The most annoying part?  I hardly ever buy those things but I was DESPERATE for them since I couldn’t have them.  I work above a convenience store and forgot my breakfast one morning.  Normally, I’d run downstairs and grab something but that option was off the table so I simply didn’t eat.  As I sat at my desk, hungry and grumpy, I thought about all the folks who don’t have the funds to grab a meal out – or make a meal for that matter – and I felt a level of gratitude about my circumstances in life that I haven’t felt before.

At work, I was teased mercilessly for not spending for an entire month.  I felt ridiculous.  Halfway through, my co-worker whispered, “No spending is my life.  I don’t get to spend in 31 days.  This is how I live all the time.”  His wife is pregnant.  She lost her job.  She’s working temp jobs for as long as possible.  I went from feeling ridiculous to feeling tremendously sorry for others, and grateful for my life as it is now (which is new, I’m really good at being a pessimist).

Zig Ziglar said, “Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing”.  Being grateful about the money I have touches lots of other levels.  I found myself profoundly grateful for my job that provides a steady paycheck and motivated me to work harder. I found myself grateful for my marriage, my family, and my kids.  I wasn’t distracted creating grocery lists, running errands, or meal planning.  I wasn’t buying things to make my kids ‘love me’ thanks to severe working mom guilt (new discovery - apparently I do that).  I was playing with them instead.  I have a husband who laughs at my weird idea to not spend money – but participates anyway and never complains.

I have so much.

I had 31 days to stop. Think. And be grateful.  It encouraged me to be more generous to others.  To be understanding of those who have less.  To walk in their shoes.

No.  I don’t have a lot of money.  But I have so very much of everything else.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Reflection Week Three…

Chris went to a bachelor party in week three.  They went on a brewery tour, out to eat, and paintballing over a two day period.  It was planned before we went on the spending freeze and we planned for him to ‘cheat’ for those two days.  On its own, I’d have been jealous, but add the fact that I’m watching the kids and… I’m sick… it was harder than I expected.  It was only a little cold but it was enough of a sore throat and a cough that I wanted to do absolutely nothing.  At this point in the freeze, we have no more quick meals.  No more frozen pizzas.  No more frozen dinners.  Everything takes effort to make from scratch.  I stood at the front door, minivan keys in hand, dreaming of the ease of McDonalds.  The kids are hungry and whining and I can’t even throw snacks at them because we ran out of those too.  I DESERVE this.  I worked hard for this.  I’m tired.  Chris gets to cheat, so should I.
I slowly closed the front door, hung the keys on the hook, and started to make dinner.  It was not joyful.  It was not fun.  I was miserable.  I was angry at Chris.
I think of the stupid judgments I have cast on the people I know.  I have judged them for saying they ‘deserve’ things.  I have judged them for always seeking to make their marriages ‘fair’.  Looking from this side, I’m starting to get it.
Looking back at that miserable night, I feel silly for being mad at Chris for something that wasn’t his fault.  I feel silly for getting so emotional.  But I’m walking a lot of miles in other people’s shoes.  Miles I’ve needed to walk.
Who knew not spending for a month would impact so much?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day 32...

Day 32 of no spending (only because I haven't gone out yet): this is what your fridge looks like after a no spending challenge. We made it!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Day 31...

Day 31 of spending zero: Beach time with the kids. It's free. 80 degrees and beautiful. Thank you San Diego. ‪#‎31daysLWSZ

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Day 29...

Day 29 of no spending: The things I'm willing to do for a Starbucks gift card. Test subject 41932. My skin is starting to itch. ‪#‎31daysLWSZ

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Day 28...

Day 28 of no spending: Just uncorked the last bottle of cheap wine. Things. Just. Got. Real. ‪#‎31daysLWSZ

Monday, October 26, 2015

Day 26...

Day 26 of spending zero: Can't remember the last time I went this long without seeing my hair stylist. Trying to figure out when I started growing this much gray. Holy cow. ‪#‎31daysLWSZ