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“no habit is an accident” challenge: month 5 – #simplysaving, final recap

Guys, saving money is haaaard.

Over the course of the month, I realized how easy technology & society have made spending money. You could actually leave your wallet at home, cut your cards, or put them in the freezer and still find a way to spend money. Hellllo, Amazon app, “buy with 1-click” features & saved account information on your favorite sites.

So if I’m being 100% honest, I pretty much failed this month’s challenge. For any of you that were following along, I’m happy to hear most of you at least fared better than I did. Yes, I did a pretty good job of keeping an “almost bought but saved” list, created a slew of a “wish list”, and have quite a few transaction records to prove I spent beyond my “1 personal item/week purchase.” I think about the only thing I did was reduce my coffee shop purchases, because my favorite local barista called me a stranger and asked where I’ve been. #winning (Kind of?).

Don’t get me wrong, this month was expensive for reasons somewhat out of my control (unforseen dr. appts & bills, prescriptions, increased driving & gas usage, grad school application & exam fees…but that’s life & you get the idea), but it was absolutely also filled with controllable {and arguably extremely well spent} expenses (concerts, nights out with friends, organic groceries & pricier favorite food items, new summer bathing suits & clothes, gifts for others, investing in grad school, etc.).

Working in retail doesn’t make it any easier, but there are temptations, impulses, desired luxuries, & sales pitches just about everywhere. We all have to budget, unless you have some self-$$$ generating piggy bank, a never-ending supply of ‘mattress money’, or an indestructible money tree, growing in your home… yaaa, me too. 

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This world is a business and our consumerism isn’t changing anytime soon. But I think most would agree: experiences & giving > material objects & receiving.

What I really started to ask myself towards the end of the month is that famous ‘w’ question — why? Why was it sooo haaaaard to not spend money? Why do we think we need more when quite frankly, we don’t.

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I keep a little post-it note next to my mirror where I get ready each day and I think its wisdom also applies here: “Change the way you see, not how you look.” What if we chose to see we already had enough instead of digging around looking for more?

I was trying to convince a coworker one day why I really ‘needed’ a cropped, loose-fitting, lightweight cotton sweatpant to layer over my hot yoga shorts, because I didn’t have anything like that (I mean, really?!). I received the blankest stare ever, and her response, “Seriously? Is that a nice to have or a neeed to have? Just think about that.”

Ok fine, touchè. 

Then suddenly, I’m moving at the end of this month and the only thing on my mind is actually getting rid of stuff. I read a pretty interesting take on materialism in a Women’s Health article this week, by Shailene Woodley (the star of the movie, Divergent). She said:

“Last year, at the end of the year, I got rid of everything unless it fit into my carry-on suitcase. Doing that was the most profound experience of my life, because not only was it like, ‘yeah, I can live simply!’ but it really makes you recognize what’s in front of you.”

Badass? I think so.

I really love that last part… it really makes you recognize what’s in front of you. 

When I really think about it, coming to terms with that realization, was the entire intent of this month’s challenge anyway.

Like most things, creating good money & spending habits is a practice. One that might take more than a month {cough, cough} to master. Regardless of whether my month 5 #simplysaving challenge is over, I’m committed to continually recognizing what’s already in front of me, what I’m working towards, and what it really means to be grateful + content with enough. 

For there will always be someone with more, there will always be someone with less. There will always be something better, there will always be something worse. 

It’s what you do with what you’ve got that matters. Always remembering the cardinal rule: “if you can’t manage a little, you can’t manage a lot”. 

K.V

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