The trouble with shopping is: the more you shop, the more you want to shop. It's a bit addictive in that sense. Like wine, or watching TV, or M&Ms.
Why can bookkeeping, or dishwashing, not deliver this self-reinforcing thrill? Why??
There was a time when I was a habitual shopper; I shopped for entertainment, not just because I "needed" something. I got very jaded, and if I had not had some kind of grip on my financial reality I could have gotten into very deep trouble instead of the relatively shallow, dog-paddle trouble I *did* get into.
I was out shopping more this fall than I have been in a long time. I had a Reason: we were putting on a party. For the purpose of which I wanted to do some home improvement. And I think I did pretty well in resisting most temptations that threw themselves into my path. I did not buy anything without due consideration, or without a clear idea of how it would be deployed to enhance our home.
But in the course of human events there comes a time to look back at one's trail of destruction and say "I gotta get a grip." So 2014 will be distinguished by a return to the Cash Basis Life that got me out of my dog-paddle trouble years ago.
And by a retreat from shopping, because when you are out shopping you see things that you like, and you want to have them. That is the nature of the (acquisitive, human) beast. If you don't go shopping, you won't see stuff to Want.
And by "you" I mean "I."
To be fair (to myself) we had other unscheduled, family-related, expenses (and shopping) that really were unexpected. We both accepted these with no intention of ever feeling bad about them. There are a few things in life that one does not miss the opportunity of participating in, even if it sometimes means that a planned expense gets pushed further into the future.
Our first quarter of 2014 is already substantially planned out. I am going to play a kind of a game with myself and find out how much I can *avoid* spending.
The plan to bring my recent book-buying spree to a screeching halt: I am not allowed to buy another new book until I have read ten that I already own (either Kindle or real books). I am also not allowed to go to BevMo, at all, in 1Q14. (And I am not allowed to buy wine at the grocery store.) I am further barred from attending any bead shows, or ordering from Fire Mountain Gems, or going to Michaels or JoAnn in 1Q14.
I do not really view this as Deprivation, because one thing that getting ready for a party does for a person is reveal all the hidden treasures one already possesses. I am not going to be lacking for entertainment or toys or, certainly, for wine.
We have two dance events planned in 1Q14. One is already paid for and the other is a show, which means no entry fees; but we will have a hotel stay. We also have a vacation coming up - also already paid for, aside from the wine and food, but vacation wine & food don't count against the plan.
So the immediate goal for the first quarter of the New Year is to live the same rather nice life we've been living, only with more attention to making do and less to adding new.