Ok, so as of like three days I was all full of self-control and willpower and all fired up to not spend a thing on personal items for a month. Go me!
That lasted… a full day. One day later, a phone call with Amazon to correct a billing issue resulted in a $6 credit on my account, and before the responsible parts of my brain could whisper “budget”, the lizard parts had remembered that “The Stone Sky” by N. K. Jemisin was out and not yet in my possession (my prehuman lizard ancestors were very literate). It cost $15 for the Kindle version, but hey, I’m saving money, right?
Thankfully (or not, depending on which part of my brain you ask), random chance interfered and ensured I had to be more responsible. My credit card expired about a month ago, and I hadn’t updated the new one yet, so I very quickly got an email that said my payment wouldn’t go through. In the 5 minutes I’d had to think about it, I also remembered that according to my own rules, I needed to add the book to my ‘want’ list and think about it for a month. It only would have been $9.00, but a lot of other impulse buys might be cheap too, and they all add up. In the meantime, I can see if I can get it from the library. Dang it.
My resentment at not immediately burrowing into that book made me think about the items that are easiest for me to splurge on. Books are a big one. I read quickly, and a lot, so I go through books like water. In the 20 years since I discovered Chapters (a defining moment in my life), I’ve bought hundreds and hundreds of books, plus the bookshelves to store them in. I’ve moved half a dozen times, and even as I clean up and purge everything else to keep from packing it, books were always carted around carefully. The idea of not supporting my favourite authors the second their books come out is a little painful. Still, I’m going to try.
I also spend too much money on skin care. I’m not a huge makeup person, but I do like my creams and serums. I have quite the collection of various bottles that I’ve wanted to try because the reviews were so great (and then regretted afterwards). It’s always been so easy to justify spending $$$ on them (“It will last months! It’s, uh, healthy!”), but even though I’m almost out of my favourite moisturizer, I’m going to (try to) stand firm and not replace it right away. I’ll look up reviews of other products, get some samples from Sephora, and make sure it’s really the best option.
One final regular splurge that I am not going to change is the cleaner who comes twice a month. I know that a lot of really strict budgeters would raise their eyebrows at spending $240 a month on something I *could* do myself, but I’ve always seen that cost as an expense that is necessary when both my husband and I work full-time and then some. It certainly saves a lot of frustration and arguments over who has to clean the toilets, and resentment if one person ends up doing more work. Plus, that money is someone else’s income. I don’t want my early retirement to come at her expense.
Out of my three main spending weaknesses, then, I’m cutting back on two of them. That’s not so bad, is it?