The Shopping Pause

Capsule Wardrobes, Debt, Minimalist Shopping, Second-Hand, Second-Hand Shopping, Simplicity, Thrift Shopping

The Shopping Pause is something that I have had to practice and learn over time in my simplifying journey. I like to think of it as smart, intentional, frugal, and fun. I have always been an impulse decision maker – and my shopping habits reflected that. It resulted in over-crowed closets, unhappiness in my wardrobe, buyers remorse, and debt.

Now, I shop for discounted items and second-hand.

This type of shopping took a while to get the hang of, but is perfect for my new lifestyle.

Today, I was on the hunt for a new pair of blue jeans. My current pair had a button that broke off and was not fixable. I wear blue jeans all the time and knew this was something that I needed back in my wardrobe.

So, I shopped online at Target and found a pair of blue jeans on clearance! Yay! It was only $10.00 so I thought, no harm done. Well, then Target required a $25 checkout for free shipping. So I spent over an hour trying to find enough things I ‘need’ to make up for the shipping cost.

My cart was upped to $28 just so I could get enough ‘stuff’ for my true mission which was originally one pair of discounted jeans.

I decided to use the Shopping Pause before checking out and getting the carted items. I let my account just sit until my lunchbreak without buying.

Then, I went up the road to a local thrift store. I told myself, that if I didn’t find a pair of jeans there, I would checkout my Target order when I got back.

On the way to the thrift shop, I realized just how pissed I am at Target anyway. I am currently trying to pay off my credit card and they charged me an interest fee of $25 just this past month. TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS out of the $30 I paid went to interest.

Fuming about that, but also excited to hunt down a new pair of jeans at the thrift store, I searched through the rack. In all of about 5 minutes I found a new pair of Silver Jeans for $7.99.

silver

I tried them on and they fit perfectly and had zero flaws. These bad-boys are $85 brand new at Buckle.

Needless to say, I checked out very happy and even more happy that I paused before rushing my order and getting items that I truly didn’t need.

Shopping second-hand is the number one way that I am paying off debt quickly and also fulfilling my capsule wardrobe. I like my stuff smart, simple, stylish, and nice – and I intend to keep it that way!

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Financial Boss: Part 4

Clarity, De-Cluttering, Debt, Financial Boss Series, Gentle Change, Money

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After a long time of digging deep into my financial dependence, and auto-pilot behavior the day had come to come up with a budget and game plan. If we continue to do the same thing over and over we will continue to get the same results.

Well, I don’t like my results.

That means that I have to change how I do things. This can be super scary, but in order to move forward and have a chance for success, we must take risks to get us where we want to be.

I have determined that I have been on auto-pilot allowing my money to rule me instead of me being the boss.

For me to be the boss, I had to take the initiative and create my own financial plan.

My goal is that every month I will be telling my money where to go. Period. 

My plan started after I de-cluttered my wallet and credit cards. I cancelled every unused credit card account. Then, I had a shred party where I disposed of those soul-sucking colored pieces of plastic. Some financial gurus say you still need to keep your unused credit lines open because if you don’t it will hurt your credit score. Well, I have a secret:

I do not care. I want them gone. My credit score doesn’t define me. And, I’m giving up credit cards all together when I pay off the last of my debt. This means that my credit score is not a factor in my money or how I live my life. My credit score no longer rules me either. I rule it because I am the boss and am handling my imaginary “credit score” as if it doesn’t exist. Because from now on, I will pay upfront for everything I want or need. 

I’m not scared anymore. I am angry. I am angry because the little score that pops up took me 20 years to create a ‘green colored’ number. I stressed, fretted, and had anxiety attacks to keep it there. Then, outside of my control, I got laid off from my job and within 2 measly months my credit card number is now ‘red colored’ and it is designed to make me feel bad.

So, if you want to do something drastic just like I am; you have to be ready and willing to let go of a lot of your predisposed thoughts about money.

I totally am, so that’s why I am doing this. And secretly, I know that my credit card number is going to quickly increase back to green without any of my mental chatter and obsessions about ‘keeping it at the top.’ And that’s fine. It’s just a weird game to play anyway and I’m not playing anymore.

My passion from opening my mind and looking at my finances with a new outlook made me motivated.

I grabbed a sheet of paper, a pen, and a calculator and got to work.

Previously:

My bills were auto-payed out of my checking account every week, whatever their due date.

My income is consistent weekly so I get paid a certain day every week.

I ball-parked estimated what discretionary money I had each week for gas, groceries, and anything else I wanted.

Nothing into savings, and nothing left over at the end of the month.

Now:

do not auto-draft. Ok, this is a big deal to me because I have ALWAYS auto-drafted. Now I am in control of paying my bills individually.

I pay my bills the first week of the month. Every single bill that is due that month is paid in the first week. So right then and there I am current.

I have three banking accounts:

  1. Bill account
  2. Spend account
  3. Savings account

Bill Account: I have figured up how much I owe each month in fixed bills. I divided them up weekly. Every pay day I put that amount into my ‘bill account.’

Spend Account: This is the amount of money I can spend on gas, groceries, and anything else I need/want. I have figured out how much I will allow myself and will deposit that amount into this account.

Savings Account: I have pre-determined how much I will save each week. I will be paying myself now. This amount will be deposited into this account each week on payday.

This way, at the first week of the next month, my ‘bill account’ will have the money need to pay my next month’s bills. I will then use that money to pay bills the first week of the month.

I have a separate debit card for my spend account. This will be the only debit card I use for purchases.

My savings account is going to grow really quickly. I will be using money here to build my emergency monies and pay off current credit card debt.

The formula is simple (and I am no math whizz that’s for sure!)

  1. Add your monthly fixed bills (car, house, insurance, credit card payments, etc.) and get the total. Divide by 4 (4 weeks in a month).This is the amount that you need to put into your ‘bill account’ each week.
  2. Determine your spend account. This is the amount you have to spend on things like gas, food, snacks, clothing, or whatever is not a fixed expense. Set a cap on it and divide by 4. This is the amount that goes in your ‘spend account’ for the week.
  3. Whatever is left over goes into your savings account. I am separating my money among these three account on payday which is the same day every week.

This is my new, drastic way of telling my money where to go. When I do the math and split my accounts this way, I have plenty leftover for my savings. I have savings because, well…you never know what can happen and I don’t plan on working in a career for someone else until I’m old, feeble, and dead.

There are a billion different ways to handle your finances. There are spreadsheets and programs and so many opinions.

I am not at all saying this is the BEST way to handle finances; it’s just the best way for me now.

Are you in a financial crisis? Do you hate the way your finances are ruling you? Is it time to be the boss? If so, and you are prepared for action, discover why you do the things you do, behave the way you behave, then for god sake grab a pen and paper and get to work!

I wish I had done this sooner. I really, really do. But there is no better time than today to be the person we want to be. And sometimes, that means a drastically different approach to something and an open mind.

Financial Boss: Part 3

Financial Boss Series

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This whole Financial Boss serious came about because I got to a point of ‘enough’ when it comes to my money managing me, and not the other way around. I couldn’t come up with a good excuse anymore as to why I keep allowing that to happen.

Living on auto-pilot can seem alluring and easy sometimes, but in the end important things can be neglected. I know this because I’ve been on auto-pilot for many years, skimming by. My focus now is to live an intentional life;

an intentional life in everything that I do.

So, because that is my core it is no surprise that my auto-pilot money management needed an over haul. Hence, becoming my own Financial Boss.

In Financial Boss: Part 2, I gave a quick glimpse into my credit and money spending history. It’s not a shocker, but it reveals a lot about how I’ve justified being on auto-pilot.

Discovering how I actually behave when it comes to my money was my starting point.

  1. Financial Behavior: Auto-pilot; includes auto bill pay, making minimum credit card payments, not paying attention to my interest rates, and putting no thought into how and where I spend my money.

Now that I have defined my behavior, I needed to discover where I spend money:

Hint: It ain’t pretty.

I’ve been ignoring my credit card interest rates. My statements are all online. I know my minimum payment, so I just have it auto-drafted. I’ve been afraid to face the nitty gritty. So, instead of taking the time to know the truth about my financial situation: I’ve turned a blind eye.

When we do that, credit card debt never ends.

Here is an example: My Target credit card has a 22.9% interest rate. I pay the minimum payment of $27.00 a month. That means that I pay WHAT I OWE (principle) $9.37 and Target credit gets $17.63 of that in INTEREST.

I don’t know about you, but I am not OK with that anymore.

That’s stealing and robbing from me, People!

Every dollar we hand over to a company is a way that we tell them:

I support you.

I support your business practices.

I support your mission.

I support every thing that you stand for.

I am OK with giving you my hard earned money for your product/service.

My motivation for paying credit card debt is simple:

I do not support their business practices. I do not support their mission. I do not support what they stand for. I am not OK giving them 3 times what I paid for an item.

Now that I am fired up I can move forward. I will not give them another dime after I pay off what I currently owe (and I’m going to pay it off quick). I’m totally withdrawing my support from credit card companies because it’s straight-up stealing from me; and it’s stealing from you.

My mind is made up, there will be no turning back.

My wallet would barely close when I started the process because it was so full of plastic. Cards that I don’t use anymore, duplicate cards, and active cards.

I pulled them all out and laid them on my desk to get the full visual of what I’ve been doing.

It was messy, scary, and quite honestly disgusting. I asked myself how I ended up with credit cards from so many clothing stores. Is it because they promised $10 off? Did I get scammed by advertising and my auto-pilot behavior?

I spent a few hours on the phone calling every single unused and duplicated credit card company. And it was really simple:

I closed my accounts.

They all tell me that they hate to lose me as a customer. What? I can still shop there, just not on high interest rates from credit cards.

I did leave 3 credit cards open only because I’m still paying on them, but as soon as they are paid off, they will be closed as well.

My favorite part of closing my accounts?

STICKING ALL THAT PLASTIC THROUGH THE SHREDDER.

By de-cluttering my wallet and getting rid of unused accounts I can now laser focus on what I have left without distraction or guilty feelings about my past.

So, if you are interested in getting off of auto-pilot and becoming your own intentional boss, I would encourage you to spend some serious time thinking about it before tackling it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is my financial behavior?
  2. What don’t I like about my current situation?
  3. How does it really feel to not know where my hard-earned money is going?
  4. What businesses am I supporting by giving them my money?
  5. Am I really OK with paying that much in interest rates on credit card purchases?
  6. Am I willing to take a risk in changing my strategy?
  7. Or, am I completely content with where I am?

I feel these questions are really important. I spent A LOT of time asking myself each and every one of these. My answers were clear:

I haven’t been happy. I am not OK where I was. I am ready to take a risk and simply change the way I do things.

I’m excited about Part 4 of the series. I’m going to reveal to you the differences in my past financial management, and my new one.

Spoiler alert: It’s nothing intense or drastic: just a little different, but will pay off much better in the end.