I have a question for you: Do your spending habits spark joy?
Last month Marie Kondo’s simple philosophy had me thinking about more than just my clothes. I love a good closet purge, but what about the thing that gets us in the predicament of needing to purge in the first place? Shopping. My spending habits are far from out of control, but I’ve started becoming aware of how many things I buy that I either regret or feel meh about later. Think of all the money I could save for travel!
I decided to challenge myself to only spend money on necessities for the month of May, which mainly meant food, gas, savings, and money for my joint account with Worsham. I wanted to see if I could actually stick to my ideal spending (see my Money Edit post here).
Let’s cut to the chase: I didn’t end up sticking to it, but I’m happy about it (keep reading to see why). Here’s what I learned during my May Money Challenge!
I Spend When I’m Bored – This isn’t totally shocking, but I was surprised at how many times my brain thought about buying things on a hourly (maybe even more) basis. It was ridiculous! Sometimes I just like the thrill of having something new on its way to my mailbox, ya know. Instead of giving in to my every purchase whim – even the ones that seemed semi legit – I wrote down a few things in my phone that I might actually want later like a new glass water bottle and Louis Vuitton key pouch (my potential birthday present from me to me). I even had things in my cart online multiple times and was like, why am I even doing this? I felt like an addict waiting for my next high.
“According to Ruth Engs from Indiana University, some people develop shopping addictions because they essentially get addicted to how their brain feels while shopping. As they shop, their brain releases endorphins and dopamine, and over time, these feelings become addictive. A professor in applied health sciences, Engs claims that 10 to 15 percent of the population may be predisposed to these feelings.” – PsychGuides.com
It Got Easier After Week Two (for a while) – Once I got past the first two weeks, not spending wasn’t such of a struggle. My brain wasn’t racing with a million things I “needed” or wanted. It was calm. I felt lighter and less anxious. It was a nice change of pace.
Deprivation Doesn’t Work – After about three weeks, the urge to spend returned, but in a healthy way. My thoughts were still calm, but depriving myself of buying things that actually brought me joy wasn’t helping anything. I realized that I was only doing this in an attempt to hoard away more money, when in reality I already do that anyway with my savings. Why go to the extreme with it? I should be able to enjoy taking care of myself without feeling guilty. The key to money for me is balance. This little experiment allowed me to reset my financial happiness and begin to let go of anxious thoughts when it comes to spending and saving alike.
There’s nothing wrong with spending money, however, when you’re spending to fill a void from boredom, that’s when it’s worth taking a closer look at. Money can’t ultimately buy happiness, but it can buy experiences and contribute to our overall health, which is way more valuable than all the random BS we tell ourselves we need anyway. Because of this, I finally took the plunge and got a Southwest credit card the first week of May. I always pretend credit cards are debit cards, so there really is nothing to lose for me. The high interest rate doesn’t matter since I’ll never be charged it, and I’ll definitely be getting free flights sooner rather than later. I might never use my debit card again TBH. Gimme all the travel points!!
So take a look at your money and think about how you want to feel. I’ve said this many times in my relationship posts, and it applies to money too. How does what you buy make you feel? If you feel empowered, fulfilled, and less stressed because of your purchases, chances are it’s worth it and you should feel confident with your decision. Figure out your personal money goals and don’t beat yourself up for meeting them. For me, I like to spend more on health whether it’s massages, organic food, supplements, travel (a mental health must), etc. For example, I recently signed up for Daily Harvest and haven’t regretted the price one bit. It’s healthy, it’s easy, and the smoothies are legit the best ones I’ve ever had. Not sponsored – I just really like food and really don’t like cooking!
But if you look back on your spending at the end of the month and think, “Why did I even want that?” , try going on a short-term money diet. It becomes like a fun game for a bit and allows you to realize what spending habits do bring you health and happiness. Just remember to practice balance and take a beat before you buy things to see if you really do want them.
Look, we don’t all have to live like Kylie Jenner. Most of us aren’t billionaires and that’s okay. Living in the energy of abundance is different than attempting to look abundant. It’s a vibe. It’s knowing that money is energy and there is no shortage of energy in the universe. It’s knowing that you are worthy of everything you have and everything you will have. Plus, think about it – trying to look like you’re rich isn’t fulfilling energetically so how would that even attract more money your way? It’s fake and ain’t nobody like that.
Let’s also not forget that humans made up money in the first place, so technically it’s not even real. How about that?
Follow your money to joy.