Clearing through a consumerist fog

Hello. Somehow I’ve achieved the classic thing of neglecting my blog. No excuses. Just a busy old time.

Anyway a brief update. Back in January I realised my credit card spending was once again out of control. A habit is so easily created and normalised. But £400 a month on stuff is just a) wrong b) unsustainable and c) kinda embarrassing. Very embarrassing. Also, stupid. Ok enough with the self talk.

So during February I did a cleanse of consumerist spending. It felt like I was in a fog, with my spending out of control. I very quickly realised my weak points. Somehow the weekend was always a trigger. And those damn sales emails. I unsubscribed from so many and suddenly things were quieter. My emails were not filled with attention grabbing headlines. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Since February things have been calmer and more in control. If I need to calm a consumerist itch – I think about if I really need it. If I do buy – it’s either a much smaller scale purchase or very planned. Are there levels of plannedness? Is plannedness a word? I digress.

I’ve had some blips (even this week) but overall I’m in a much, much better place.

I’ve had a few aha moments along the way. That money used right can be spent on other things – not habitual, sleep walking purchases. I’ve been able to pursue things for garden and home projects. All desperately needed (hidden behind that bloody fog) and when I look at those much needed and now achieved projects – I feel more in control.

Ok. Lots more stuff to talk about but I’ve rambled on for nearly thirteen pages (front and back)…..

So tell me. Is your spending under control? What do you do to achieve this? If it isn’t – what can you do today to take a step towards addressing it?

Daunee be ‘fraid o it now.

Melanie

 

 

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February 2016: 29 days of muting the power of consumerism

Hi all! A winter of illness brought a stillness to the blog. Despite feeling that a cold is trying to sneak up on me like an inappropriate Uncle at a wedding I am here and talking to you guys!

So with illness came a consumerist slip. I naively (arrogantly) thought my consumerist path was behind me. But no. She was there waiting. Like any addiction excessive anything can be unhealthy. For me it’s shopping.

I knew that when I recently got a pay rise that in my head I’d somehow calculated that I can afford this or that, ooh and that too. So I needed to work out how much I have veered off track. Are you ready? Sitting down? Strong beverage to hand?

So instead of looking at individual monthly spends I added up the last four months of credit card spend and divided by four to get an average. Yes Christmas, yes there’s a couple of days that end in a Y there… But enough with the excuses. How much has my average credit card spend crept up to?

Well £400 a month. I am shocked.

image

Ah.. ah.. ah.. Stuffocation! Bless you!

Poor health has no doubt played a part. I need to stop the credit card spend – the only exceptions are repairs for health, home or car. My action plan for February is to get back on track. To spend more wisely. Particularly on experiences not stuff. I’ve decided to do some groundwork to support this:

  1. Unsubscribe from sales emails telling me I only have a few hours to save money or get a free gift.
  2. Unfollow consumerist stuff based blogs/vlogs. They use the most powerful form of marketing, word of mouth.
  3. Give myself permission to spend (real money) on experiences, not things. Stuffocation by James Wallman will be my inspiration for this.

So I’m back. I’m in a pickle but the ground rules are simple. No credit card spend. Instead spend real money on experiences not stuff.

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

July fest

Apologies for the radio silence. July has passed me by. So what the devil have I been up to?

Well, Bekki at The Creativity Cauldron did a really interesting article. A coaching piece:

http://thecreativitycauldron.com/2015/07/06/more-or-less/

With some fundamental questions like… What do you want more of and less of in your life? Equally what do you want to spend more or less time doing? This stopped me in my tracks. So I did a bit of an audit. I’ll share some snippets. Hope they are interesting and not me just navel gazing, out loud, in front of others. You’re still there right?

Pampering

I am a recovering spendaholic. As such I have to be careful. Real careful otherwise I can lose control. Problem is unlike booze or fags or drugs which you can avoid – I can’t live without certain things such as basic toiletries. I’m sure there is a way to rub a banana skin onto my face at night to moisturise it and I’m a wannabe hippie. I’m just not quite there yet. So although my stashing days are long gone – and to think of the storage I had dedicated to it all – I have found of late that I’ve accrued a stash that now makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s at the many bottles and tubs open and scent losing stage.

So what I have done? Well it turns out that having a use up pile of toiletries is a thing in webville. It’s called things like project pan. The idea being you target said product til you hit pan (see the metal or packaging) to use it up. So I’ve been doing just that. And the result? It feels good and my stash (irrespective of how small it is now to what it used to be) is getting smaller by the day. Pampered. Less stuff. Done! (Well being done. Just down the road from done. You know near the pub).

Bite the bullet

Having been in debt (serious debt) I am incredibly careful with money. Problem is too careful in areas where I need to spend. And I mean need! I delayed buying a new bed. The result was an aggravated back. I delayed many things. Too many things. Things I needed. So I created a heading from this audit called Bite the bullet. This was not a blank cheque to buy whatever I wanted. But a permission to myself to buy what I needed.

So I made a start. I ordered some Bose headphones as my neighbours can be noisy in the summer. Unfortunately someone else thought they needed them and they have gone missing. All being sorted with the retailer. A delivery that never was. But I am surprisingly calm about that – probably because I was in all day of the alleged delivery. Not sponsored this by the way. In case you wondered. Peace and love.

I also ordered a specialist chair – a sort of chair that inverts you. I have reflexology on a similar chair so have bagged one for myself. It’s lovely. I feel it deserves a special name. I hereby name this chair… Ethel! Like a lovely Auntie who comforts you when you’re a sleepy / hungry / tired child. I love Aunt Ethel. You always know where you are with Aunt Ethel. On the lovely chair. A dreadful joke…

I have lots of other headings around things I need to work on but to have made headway in two areas is progress so I’ll not beat myself up about leaving some areas untouched, a bit Miss Haversham like. The thing that always astounds me is that when you start tinkering in one area something moves elsewhere. For instance, the focus in these areas somehow tapped into my concern around eating better and put me in touch with a nutritionist. And get me making sweetcorn fritters courtesy of Nigel Slater. They look like fritters and everything. More on the nutritionist journey no doubt will be coming soon.

.Corn frittersA flower shaped fritter. That is all. Move along.

So…. Um. You’re still here (awkward). No of course not. But what I do want to know is…. What do you want more of in your life? I know I am so nosey right?

Have a brilliant day,

Melanie

More info about things I’ve mentioned above:

http://thecreativitycauldron.com/2015/07/06/more-or-less/

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/09/nigel-slater-classic-corn-fritters

Reflections and what to focus on

I am finding myself in a reflective mood of late. A bit of a hold your horses let’s see what’s what kinda thing.

On the minimalism front I’m still making good progress in certain areas. As well as continuing to rationalise personal possessions (toiletries, make up, clothes) I’m doing a digital declutter. I had thousands of emails (both home and work) and I’ve been culling these daily. It feels like I’m giving the bridge of the starship enterprise a good digital dusting.

I am always impressed by the focus of bloggers. Whether it’s craft projects or their health they have such focus. I have a few things I need to focus on.

Primarily I need to improve what I eat. If I take time to do this I achieve it. When life gets busy this slips. Badly. So I can’t fix all mealtimes just yet. So the initial focus is on the evening meal to be nutritious (and not a take away).

I really should have got my shit together by now. My body needs to be nourished. But knowledge is power. Or at the very least awareness is. So what do you eat for your evening meal? I need some inspiration. Help!

Have a brilliant day

Melanie