Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Carnage

I'm back.
I made it through the holidays. I'm not going to pretend that I didn't buy anything. I know I did. I actually stopped caring at some point. The consumption monster had me in it's teeth.
It started by buying gifts for people. Then I spent my gift card from my birthday. Oh, new clothes smell, how I had missed you!

Before long, I didn't even notice what had been bought for myself or for other people.

Now, I'm stuck with the carnage.

White elephant gifts.
Holiday cards and decorations.
Gifts from people who just didn't know what to get me, so they spun around with thier eyes closed in a store and bought whatever their finger landed on.
There is already a pile in the entry ready for the next donation truck. I'm overwhlemed, but not scared since I actually am only halfway through the project. I still have time to save myself.

If I had blogged regualrly during December, I probably would have stayed on track, but coulda, woulda, shoulda...

I'm back....to those three of you who read this! I haven't given up.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday

Dear faithful readers,

I apologize for my lack of posts. I have no excuse other than pure laziness. Each time I would sit down with the intention of blogging, I would be distracted by a shiny object.

I do have a confession to make.

I bought something.
I do not feel guilty.
Double gasp

It's cool, I'll tell you the story.
I went Christmas shopping with my mom. I was doing so well, shopping for other people, admiring things that I would like but always reminding myself that I wasn't there to purchase things for myself.
Then I saw it. It was the cutest hat I think I had ever seen.
I tried it on, it looked great, I felt like a million bucks!
Then I looked at the price tag.


I immediately put it back on the shelf and walked away.

Really? Why? I walked around for a while pondering what had just happened. I knew that I loved the hat. I knew that I would wear the hat. Why was $25 too much for me even to consider it?
Would I think twice about buying a perfect gift for someone else if it were $25?
If the hat had been $5, would it have been more acceptable for me to covet it? Why am I not worth $25!?

I am!

So I bought it. It was hard. It is still sitting in it's bag waiting for cooler weather. At first it sat there waiting to find out if I was going to take it's beautiful round bottom back to the store. I won't be taking it back. I love it.
This was a big step for me.
I am finally changing my thinking. What a change. I am learning the difference between quality and quantity. I've always heard that and thought that I understood it, but I don't think I did. I am learning that I don't have to buy every item that I see that I deem "a good deal".
It's a process.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sample Sale

I sent off five bags of crap stuff with the donation truck on Monday. Most of that was the giant pile of costumes. Man, that felt good.

In other news, I have struggled with eating fast food for some time. The Boss and I discovered that I have spent almost $400 on fast food in the past few weeks.
Not a typo.

This doesn't include the weekly trips to the grocery store.

We decided to go on a fast food fast for six weeks and save all that money for a one night stay at Great Wolf Lodge in December.
It's a really hard habit to break so far. We are so accustomed to running through some where to grab dinner that I really have to plan ahead now.
No eating at anywhere with a drive thru. With our busy lifestyle, this will be a true challenge for me, but I'm up for it.
Last night was a perfect example. We had to drop off Mr. Mister at 6pm and Mr. Challenge was out late, so normally, The Boss and I would have grabbed fast food on our way home. Instead we stopped off at the grocery store, she got sushi, I got a steak to grill and a package of strawberries to share. Plus I was able to grab a few things for tonight's dinner. I spent about the same amount, however, I got a lot more and I have to say that the steak was better than McD's any day.

Today I'm struggling with samples.

I got two new samples of products in the mail yesterday and it hit me. Why am I keeping all of these things? The only reason I get any of these products is because someone out there wants me to buy said product.
I keep all those hotel toiletries as well. Why?
In case I travel? To another hotel? It's stupid! In case I run out of shampoo? Do I really want to wash my hair with a two year old sample that came from Holiday Inn?
So, off to the donation bin they go. An entire grocery sack of samples that I have held on to just in case.
Does anyone else have this problem with hoarding sample size items? What do you do with the samples that come in the mail? Do you take the toiletries from hotels?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

T.J. Must Not Buy

So, we got The Boss her new Halloween costume. I was able to avoid buying anything else at the costume store, but those styrofoam tombstones were calling my name.


Instead I settled on buying some flowers for the front yard. No clutter and when they die (which they will), into the trash they go!

Then we went to T.J. Maxx. Probably not the smartest thing to do when my resolve is wavering, but I've never claimed to be brilliant.
Well, actually...

I'm strong, I'm steely, no bargain is going-WAIT!
Are those orange pillows? They would totally hide the stains and claw marks all over my couches and make them look brand new. I know they would!
I stood there and held them for the longest time.

Then I remembered that I had some orange fabric in my closet. Yep, that orange fabric that has been in there for four years, that's the stuff. I'll just go home and make new pillows.

I am such a stud.

You know this isn't going to end well, right?
The orange fabric that was in my closet was actually orange felt. With cats on it.
Luckily the pieces were too small to make a pillow out of it or I would have done it just because I wasn't able to buy new ones.
Look what I made honey!

I tossed the fabric into the donation bin and jumped on the treadmill to try to make peace with the fact that I will not have new orange pillows.


Where did that orange cat go?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Costume Culling

We are a theatre loving family.
We also love to dress up. So, needless to say, we have an abundance of "costumes"

Today we are going to go get The Boss a new costume for Halloween. She has already decided what she wants and we know where to go, however, today before we go, we will clean out our costume closet. That's right, I said closet.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

Anybody want a cat?

So, here is our give away pile of costume crap. That's a load of crap. :-)
This is what I'm talking about. Documenting the amout of stuff that is going out of my home.

That feels good.

100 days

Actually, it's been 104 days, but I was sick and didn't blog.

So, here are my thoughts about where I stand on my challenge.

I miss shopping, like for real. I miss the thrill of the hunt, I miss the smell of new things.

I think that I am using shopping for other people as an excuse to buy things and bring them into my home.

The clutter is not leaving fast enough. I only have 261 days left and I want my house to be noticeably more empty. I still have not found the pictures of my brother that I lost somewhere in the house.
The incident which started this whole process.

I want new Halloween decorations, but I don't need them. I have two boxes of decorations and probably one entire box needs to be thrown out. Things are old, dated, broken, never used. (sounds like some people I know)

So, how do I fix this?

First of all, blog more. Write about my feelings more often and get this stuff out there. I know there have to be other people who feel the way I do. Lost in a sea of my own useless crap.

Give more. Get rid of stuff. Piles of it, pieces of it, stinking piles of it.

Take more pictures of my progress so that I know I am moving forward.

Be honest.
I want to cheat, there is no doubt about that, but i need to remind myself that there will be new decorations to buy next year. I need to purge the things that I don't love to make way for things that I do love.
Less quantity and more quality.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Gift Card

I'm doing so well!

I did buy a new pair of sunglasses yesterday since I broke my only pair. I picked out a new pair at Target and then ceremoniously threw the old pair in the trash on my way out. I then lit a small fire and sent out smoke signals to let the world know how great I was doing on my project.

Then I blamed my children when security was called.

So I received a gift card for my birthday this week. No, my birthday wasn't this week, it was actually back in June, yes, three months ago. This is no mere $10 gift card to Starbucks, it's a whopping $75 for Old Navy.
Oh, Old Navy! With your inexpensive t-shirts and jeans that fit me just right. Your buy one, get one free sweater sales.


Obviously, this person was blissfully unaware of my shopping challenge. So here I sit, with a gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

It's been 82 days since I shopped for the mere fun of it.

I'm going to stick the gift card in a drawer for the time being. Perhaps there will be a time when a trip to Old Navy will become a necessity. If I spend it on the kids, it's still bringing stuff into my house, plus I don't think that was the purpose of the gift.

What do you think?
Is it wrong to regift the gift card because of my own challenge? Is it cheating to spend it on the kids? If the giver had given me items, I would have accepted them graciously, right? What am I to do about material gifts?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bedtime Stories

Okay, The Boss didn't really need a new bed.
But it was FREE, and it is a loft bed which she has wanted for a long time!
I can totally rationalize this by saying if I get rid of the old bed, there is no clutter left behind. Right?
I totally failed you! I also bought some cute wall stickers that she can decorate around her bed with so she has something to look at.

I'm actually not sorry at all. The bed is great for her and I will pass along her previous daybed to someone who can use it.
I will not keep it around in case we ever turn the office into a guest room.

It has been just over 70 days and I feel surprisingly fine. The only thing I am a little worried about is my closet. I keep having to throw shirts away because of holes in them. I'm not sure where these tiny holes are coming from, but I can only assume that there is a small cartoon mouse family in my closet, living off of my fine taste in clothes.

I may need to up my meds.

Hopefully the weather will change soon and I can pull out the winter wardrobe. Hello, boots and sweaters. I hope those rascally mice haven't already started on my sweaters.
When do clothes become a necessity? While not exactly stylish, yoga pants are certainly an acceptable part of the suburban mom uniform.

What do you think? When would you just have to go shopping for clothes? When you are forced to throw out your favorite tennis because they are now sole less? When you are forced to raid your husbands closet for t shirts since all of yours we eaten by ungrateful cartoon mice?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Busy bees

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. I was sitting here, minding my own business, when life came up and bit me in the rear.
So no, still no shopping.


The fall catalogs have started rolling in. Boots, sweaters, boots, jeans, boots, coats, boots...

Ah, how I love the boots.

I did end up buying a pair for my costume and lucky me, I love them so much that I will be able to wear them after the show closes. Thats's probably the only thing that I will be able to salvage. I am not one to keep denim halter tops, straw cowboy hats or rebel flag bikinis.
They just don't flatter me.

It totally stinks not looking forward to new clothes this fall. It's funny that I didn't realize how much I shopped before. It's a little unsettling, having to be so honest with myself.

I have a confession to make.

I fell off the wagon a bit at Hobby Lobby with the boss a week or so ago. She went looking for some craft supplies that she inteded on buying herself. Then I had to step in and buy twice the amount she planned on getting "just so you have enough".


So now we have modeling clay coming out the wazoo and she played with it for a total of 2 hours.

Lesson accepted.

Aren't I a grown ass woman? Why do I still have to learn lessons like this?

At least it was more than $5.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

School Daze

We are getting ready to start our school year here. I'm so happy that public school is starting back. As a homeschool family, we celebrate when kids go back to public school! Our homeschool group actually throws a party.
It's not that I don't enjoy summer, I do. Plus, the Boss gets to see her public school friends a lot more and I know she enjoys that. However, I do love getting back to our regular routine. Summer is so much more hetic with the traveling and camps and such. I like our normal routine.

So, I did have to buy a couple of things this week. A new school planner for one. Anyone who home schools can agree that a planner is a necessity. I did find our old planner from last year still on the shelf so I tossed it. (one in-one out)
Why did I still have that thing?
I also ordered new math books for both the kids. The Boss hated what we were using for math. Seriously hated it. So, I found a new curriculum that I think she will enjoy and ordered the first book. I am listing the old ones on Amazon this morning.
I think keeping up with what I bring into the house is key. One in-one out seems like a great rule, not to mention the bags of donations that go each time the trucks come through the neighborhood.
Being able to buy necessities, keeps the raging shopping beast inside me appeased. I still haven't bought myself anything. I feel okay. I have so much stuff to stay busy.
We've lost another library book. This is beginning to be a very expensive habit. I want to encourage reading, so I never try to limit the books that The Boss checks out, but I certainly don't want to pay for a new branch by myself either.
Now where is that stupid book...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Whistling Dixie

So, yesterday I purchased a rebel flag bikini top on eBay for a costume piece. I felt bad buying something new, but this really does sum up my character nicely. To make up for the purchase, I purged three more items from my closet. Granted, I probably won't keep the costume piece after the run of the show. I can't see when I would wear it again, but it's the principal of the matter. I don't feel any guilt for buying this item since it will be used and then donated. I do think of costumes as a necessity. When I agree to take on a role in community theatre, I understand that finding my own costume is part of the deal.

Sometimes, I will admit to wondering if I am doing the right thing. I still shop for everyone else. It's starting to become hard to not buy myself a little something. I do feel like I am punishing only myself sometimes. Today is especially hard. I have a huge list of errands that involves stopping at a couple of my favorite places: Lowes to get two new plants for the veggie garden and Bed, Bath & Beyond for a final gift on the list for Mr. Challenge.

And yet.

There is nothing that I actually will buy for myself.
It always comes back to this.
I want many things, but nothing that I am willing to compromise the challenge for.

Yes, I know, I can hear some people say that this challenge isn't real because I am still purchasing, but that's the beauty of making your own rules.
I know how much I shopped before. It still seems strange to me to not come in the house most days with my arms full of shopping bags. I would carry them all in, set them on the dining room table and commence with the large task of finding homes for new items that probably should have been left at the stores.
I am enjoying my newfound time.
My home is slowly becoming clearer. Every day I part with a few more items.
So, I will head off to these two stores today with a renewed sense of what I am doing.
I will not feel bad for myself that I can't buy anything.
I will be happy that I have the time to garden and that I am almost completely prepared for a birthday that is still one week away.

My name is Suzan and I have not purchased any unnecessary items for 45 days.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Empty Pockets

I really thought that by doing this project, I would have the added benefit of saving money.
I have the lofty goal of putting $1000 into my personal savings account. It isn't going so well.
Getting rid of items has felt good. No feelings of deprivation yet. I see lots of things that I normally would have bought, but I am able to walk away from now.
 How much was I actually spending on crap before?
I do try to think long and hard before I buy things for the rest of my family as well, but wonder if I am using that as an excuse to still get my "shopping fix". I have been buying presents for Mr Challenge's birthday recently. I don't think I have bought more than usual, but I have thought about each item. Making sure that it will be used and loved. No useless junk.
That little voice inside my head tells me that it's still shopping.
The Boss cleaned out her closet and got rid of an entire trash bag full of clothes that no longer fit. Then I went and bought her a new outfit. It's only one outfit, and yet, it still wasn't an actual necessity. My goal was not to make my family suffer through this year with me, though.
or is that just my excuse?
Then, there's the dining out. I have gone off the deep end with that. Now, with the extra cash in my pocket, I am more likely to grab a bite while I am out. I have not, however, significantly decreased my grocery budget, so this is still excess. The very backbone of this entire challenge. 
Sugar free snow cones are the new crack.

I suppose I am just feeling a bit down on myself today. 
Truth be told, I have purged my house of bags and bags of clutter. I do have more money in my saving account ($150 instead of $0 when I started). I have found more time to do the things that I want to do, which I can't put a dollar amount on.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Retail Las Vegas

Well, I must say that Vegas may not be my scene. The food was incredible, there was so much to look at, but overall, Mr. Challenge and I were ready to come home and leave it all behind.

There is just far too much excess for someone who is really focusing on simplifying her life. Even if I were shopping, I wouldnt be shopping at the stores found in our hotel. Jimmy Choo? Guess? Armani?
I'm not even tempted by those establishments. I don't want to judge, but when I looked at the tourists shopping in thoses stores, I wanted to shake them! To tell them that what they bought in Vegas would follow them home. It's so easy to become carried away there. Everything is so over the top and it seems that each person catches assholeitis as soon as they step off the plane. The sense of entitlement is palpable.
Everyone is a big shot in Vegas. Including me. We dropped $80 on a breakfast (that did not included any mimosas). We were drunk as skunks by 3:00 the first afternoon. No, I didn't bring back any clutter, but overspending is part of the game. We don't even gamble! All of our money was spent on food and drinks. I left my low carb lifestyle at home and oinked out on macaroni and cheese, cupcakes, bread baskets and even a giant baked potato. It became all about the food to me. That was my overindulgence. My vice.
But guess what
It didn't stay in Vegas.
I was lucky enough to bring three four extra pounds home with me.

Now, before you say, but Suzan, it's only three four pounds! Let's remember that I was only there for approximately 48 hours.


Friday, August 5, 2011

What Happens in Vegas.

I leave for Vegas in a couple of hours. A quick weekend trip. This is my first time and I am totally stoked. I bought a couple of things this week, but totally justified. However it felt weird. Already?
I have been working on a blanket for a while and ran out of one color of yarn. I seriously debated on whether I could finish it without that color.
That would jack up the entire pattern I have going. The point is to finish the blanket so that I can get it out of my house (although, it would look lovely on my couch, the colors are so nice...) Anyway, I bought the yarn I needed. It was a small form of torture for me to have to wander through Hobby Lobby.
Look at all the projects I could start and never finish

I also bought SeaBands. I have a HUGE fear of flying, but even more than that, I am afraid that I will have to vomit in that little white bag with someone sitting beside me. I cannot hurl gracefully, I have tried.
So I bought the SeaBands. I didn't even think twice until I got out to my car. It was automatic. I am feeling guilt, but I am not even thinking of taking them back. The person sitting in front of me on the airplane is very happy that I just made that statement.

I did not buy any new clothes for Vegas, though, normally, I would have.I actually have two "new" items for the trip, a dress and a cute top, neither of which have been worn although they were purchase well before the challenge ever started. I am packed and ready to leave. I won't be bringing any souvineers for myself home, though I will pick up some trinkets for the kids and a few friends. No pressure, no stress, I'm relaxed as I head out the door, a first in my travels.

Btw, local friends, check out Frisco Style Magazine that showed up in your mailbox. There is an article about a lady who also did a project similar to this one. It's not exactly the same, as she allowed secondhand purchases, but the main goal is the same. Her blog is www.rethinkgood.com

I'm out!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I've been cleaning out my email clutter.
Last week, when we went on our little family getaway, I left my phone behind or turned it off most of the time. The goal was for me to unplug a bit. I will admit that I am terrible about over-checking my email. For real, I will check it, and then immediately recheck it. Sometimes I check it without even paying attention. I won't even open any emails, I just look to see if there are any.
Usually when I wake up in the morning, I have around 65 new emails that were sent overnight. Of those 65, I might actually want to read two of them.

My inbox is flooded with contradictions. One states ideas for raising children to be empowered rather than entitled, the next two will show off the "must have" toy for only $150 or that "gotta have it" back to school item.
I get recipes for cheap and easy meals and then have to read about how to lose those last five pounds. I sit and read about how to simplify and enjoy the little things, then drool over vacation packages and clothes that I can't afford.
How to clean my house in only 15 minutes a day? I can't even sift through my emails in 15 minutes.


I've quite enjoyed unsubscribing and highly recommend it. It has lightened my emotional load considerably. I can't believe it took me so long to do it. I am choosing to live my life, rather than read about what I "should" be doing. Enough with the self help. I'm going to help myself to what is out there!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Things are starting to break

So, three weeks in and things are starting to break!
Last week I dropped the lid to my food processor and this week on vacation, my purse straps started to unravel.
My big decision is if my food processor is a necessity. Well, obviously it isn't, I've lived for years without one before. However, if it sits in my cabinet, without a lid, unable to be used until next year when I allowed myself to buy "items", then doesn't it become clutter?

The purse, okay, I probably have another purse that I can use. I just really like this one!

So, I'm still debating on if I am going to buy the food processor lid. I think that if I don't, then it really will become clutter.

I just got back from a quick vacation with the family. I didn't buy a single thing for myself! No trashy trinkets, no cheap souvenirs, and no unnecessary t shirts. I did buy a few little things for friends, but it was wonderful to just come home and dump out the dirty laundry and be done!
Just a quick note for now, to let you know that I haven't forgotten!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Buck Stops Here

The donation truck came through the neighborhood on Monday. This is our pile.

It looks so much smaller on our front porch than it did piled in my office. Mr. Challenge got into the spirit of things and went through his closet. He purged bags of clothes and sent plenty off to the trashcan, too. I have to admit, it was pretty sexy.

The first week is over and I haven't noticed an increase in money yet. I'm afraid that I am channelling all my extra money into dining out with friends. That is more enjoyable that shopping alone, I have to admit. I do have a goal to put $1000 in my savings account. Maybe even more, that way when I end the challenge I can go on a shopping spree have a tangible reminder of what I gained this year.
One thing I have gained is time. I am already catching up on housework and my to do list is dwindling quickly. I am excited about the prospect of actually working on some of the unfinished projects in my house. Wouldn't it be nice if I could finish that gift I started for my sister just over 2 years ago?
I went to a thrift store today to pick up a costume for The Boss, who is in a theatre camp this week. I scoured the house for pieces that would work, but we just didn't have a skirt that would be acceptable for a gypsy.
I love thrift stores. I get such a thrill out of finding treasure there, and inevitability, everything I want is less than $5. I waded through racks, looking for just the right thing, when I saw it...the cutest black and white sundress. It looks brand new, it's in my size! It would be perfect for when Mr. Challenge and I go to Vegas next month. I pick it up, it's only $7. It promises me that I will look sexy, but sophisticated in it. Never mind the six other sundresses in my closet, they don't matter. Only this one matters.

I put it down and walk away.
I don't try it on.

And I'm okay.
I did find a perfect long skirt for the gypsy costume, along with a white shirt that we can pair with jewelry and accessories that we already own. I walk out paying only $4 and feel empowered. I feel happy. I didn't waste an entire afternoon buying things that I don't need.

I can't wait for the next donation truck.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Sirens of WalMart

WalMart may be my undoing.

I did go yesterday because we needed some necessities. I swear, it involved underwear and sheets, that's all you need to know . That's when I came across this beauty.

Isn't she lovely?
And totally unnecessary.

It's just so cute I can hardly stand it. Why in the world would I need this? Well, it is over $5, if you will notice. Plus, I can make my grocery list and have it hanging on my fridge! Then, look! It has a little place to write out my menu!
This product promises me that I will be organized. I will be one of those awesome moms who does everything so well and looks cute doing it too. That's what I'm trying to buy here.


That isn't me. That isn't anybody real. Whether my grocery list is on a piece of notebook paper or on a cutsie preprinted pad, it doesn't matter. I will still buy the same groceries. I will still look at my menu and sigh because I don't feel like cooking that night.
I will even probably still tell my kids to fend for themselves while I crawl into bed, eat too many carbs and feel pathetic because I'm not one of those moms who has it all together.

Great, now I'm depressed.
I didn't buy it, by the way. Now, I actually glad that I didn't. After only one week, I'm beginning to see where I was sabatoging myself.
What items do you buy that end up mocking you and making you feel inadequate?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cheater Cheater, Pumpkin Eater

No, I haven't cheated yet, but yesterday I really wanted to buy something. Already!? Come on! I haven't even been doing this a week.
I'm sure that this is my brain going on the assumption that if I want something, I just go out and buy it. It obviously hasn't been reading my blog. Stupid brain.

I went outside last night to water my dead struggling garden, trees and lawn. With such oppressive heat here these past few weeks, anything that used to be green is now a lovely shade of brown.
I hooked up the hose and turned it on, then suddenly, I was soaked. The yard was dry, even though I was pointing the sprayer at the yard.
What the hell?
There seems to be some sort of malfunction with my sprayer. All of the water shoots out of the bottom instead of out of the sprayer nozzle where one would think it would come out. I bet I paid $5 for this piece of crap. So I turned off the water, wrung out my jeans and went off to find the nozzle from the backyard.

Stuck. This baby isn't budging.
Next, go look in the garage for something, anything that I can use. I'm determined now to water the lawn. It's a matter of principal. A quest to prove to myself that I can do it.
I found an old nozzle nestled in the garage. I attach it to the hose and turn on the water.
Well, it's more of a backwards shower than a deluge, so this will have to do.

I want a new nozzle. And soaker hoses.
How are these not necessities?

What if my foundation cracks and it looks like my house is a set piece from a terrible disaster movie?

No, I cannot just stick my thumb over the hose. That requires a certain amount of coordination which I seem to lack.

I want a new nozzle. Not just a nozzle, one of those wand kinds. So I pretend to be a fairy princess as I bring life to weeds small plants and dehydrated trees.
Okay, would you believe an Evil Queen?

I am currently re-reading Not buying it, My Year Without Shopping. I actually recommend it for anyone who is curious about this subject. Judith Levine gives you lots of facts and figures that you won't find here, but she also talks about how the entire process makes her feel.
Their project was more strict than mine is. Mine is about the clutter, so I am still allowed to consume experiences, classes, dinners out and even entertainment. They did not, however since this is such a personal experiment, I did tend to disagree on some things that they deemed necessary as I am sure they would disagree with mine.

So here I sit. Dreading the moment when I have to go outside and attempt to water the lawn again. Knowing that Judith would suck it up and just use a hose.
No, I still haven't thrown away the three nozzles that don't work.
I did get rid of 13 of my bags and purses! That surely is worth celebrating with a trip to Lowes!

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Girl Has Baggage

We are going to talk about bags today.
Not the bags under my eyes, thanks a lot for that.
Bags that you put stuff in. Lunch bags, grocery bags, messenger bags, homemade bags, book bags, gym bags, overnight bags, tote bags, bags that go inside of bags, make-up bags, break up bags, any bag that you can think of, I probably own.
Mt. Bagmore

I stopped counting at 67. That does not include any suitcases. These were only the ones that were easily accessible.

Everyone that I tell about my challenge makes the same face.

And asks the same question. Why? Why would you do that?
This is why.

It's embarrassing to bear my soul like this, but this is one of the gigantic pile of reasons. Seriously, this isn't even all the bags that we have in the house. These are just mine. This pile does not include any bags from Mr. Challenge, Mr. Mister (our 17 year old son) or The Boss (our 9 year old daughter).

I have made calculated purchases before just to get the "free" bag. Bags are so useful. You can carry things in them, hide things in them, you can take things to your car in them and bring things back from your car in them you, can put cats in them and then laugh at (stupid)silly kitty trying to get out.
What? Like you've never done that?
So now, after showing off all my baggage and mocking myself, I am feeling depressed cleansed, so I think I am going to go put a bag over my head make a pineapple upside down cake.

Here kitty, kitty.

My entry into Blissful and Domestic's Feature Friday Link Party sponsored by Appliances Online.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My name is Suzan and I'm a $5-aholic

 My beautiful Mom (I have to say that, she reads my blog) thinks this project is a terrible idea.
I told her my plan over lunch before we launched our marathon shopping trip yesterday. Between sips of sangria and chips and salsa, I explained that my stuff was suffocating me and making me miserable. That I have too much of everything, I don't want for anything and I'm tired of sifting through mountains of crap and losing things that are really important to me.
No, the irony is not lost on me.
In all fairness, my mom is usually right about these things. Here is what she said to me:
My dear, fantabulous, talented, smart, witty (why are you laughing!?she totally said this!) daughter, it sounds to me like you do not have a problem with buying things. You have a problem with buying $5 things.
She's completely right!
She also said that I have an attitude of poverty and therefore, when I see items that are only $5, I tell myself that I can afford them so in order to keep myself from feeling poor, I buy said items which really only reinforces my feelings of poverty.
She is seriously deep.
And she hit the nail on the head
But, don't worry faithful readers, I'm not giving up that easy! I'm still going full force into this challenge. What better way to change my attitude of poverty than to examine every purchase that I even want to make for an entire year?  I can stop myself before I purchase those evil little $5 treasures that seem to multiply like cartoon bunnies all over my damn house.
I'm getting carried away again, aren't I?
So, the burning question that you really want to ask is...
What in the world did you buy on your last day of shopping for an entire year?
Well, here it is.

I had a hard time finding things to be totally honest, do you know how many $5 items I could have bought? Do you? I could have filled my trunk.
I bought an awesome 2.5 gallon drink dispenser.(please email me your best sangria recipes) True story, I bought one of these at a garage sale for less than $5 a few years ago that leaked like a sieve. Ask me if I still have it. Ask me. Go on.
Man, this sucks, but it is going to be the cheapest therapy ever.
This may be the  longest post I write,  but I have to tell this story to the world because it kind of sums up my life.
I left all my purchases on the dining room table overnight so that I could take a picture of them for the blog. I had to run out this morning for a few hours, so when I returned home this afternoon to take the picture, I discovered that my cat had thrown up all over the super cute sundress.
Don't 'cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
p.s. No, I do not kiss my mother with this mouth.
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Friday, July 1, 2011

The Last Supper Shopping Trip

Today is my last day as a casual consumer

I do need to go into why I have waited until July 2nd.

My Mom is coming to see me today and take me shopping for my birthday since this was planned before I got this hair-brained idea to take on this challenge, I decided that this day would serve well as my last hurrah. I'll be spending the entire day shopping in one of my favorite malls. With outlet stores, oh! My little heart is beating so fast with excitement! My arm muscles quiver with the anticipation of holding shopping bags. I can almost smell that new clothes smell.


That was good.

Retail Stimulation?

Anyway, I am getting off subject.

So, when I return this evening, I promise to take pictures of my loot and to dissect my final recreational retail trip.

Where would you go if today was the last day of shopping for you? What store would be on your must hit list?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The High Cost of Low Prices

3 more days until the start of my challenge.

We went to WalMart today.
I thought that it was important for a few days to capture my normal spending habits so that there would be something to compare to when I am cheering myself on for only getting what is on my list.

We went in for two simple things.
Diet Mt. Dew
toilet paper

We came out with

toilet paper
turkey jerky
a pencil sharpener
a manual lemon juicer
sugar free hazelnut syrup
and a large $13 stuffed bird

Do I even need to write more today? Bear in mind that I positively despise walking into that place. Everything about it overstimulates me. The lights, the overstuffed shelves, the crowded aisles. Even as I type this, I can feel my blood pressure rising and butt starting to clench.
I will not miss that.
I doubt I will be missed by the locals.

Can you get in and out of a store with only the items on your list? If so, what is your secret? Better yet, what's the strangest thing you have walked out of a store with after going in for something specific?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Have I made a HUGE mistake?

I'm getting nervous today.

I am making plans. I went and stopped my subscription to emusic.com because I just can't figure out a way to validate that cost.

It's truly only $6 a month, but you see, that's my downfall.

but it's only...

That's how I get into trouble. I wander the thrift store, consignment shops, the "free take me" tables at garage sales. I can't seem to say "no" to a bargain.

I only paid $6 for my bread maker. Six dollars! And yet... it rarely gets used.

I adore walking into Forever21 and stand in awe at all the beautiful jewelry. "I have to have this necklace with a scotty dog on it! I dislike those yappy little dogs and I can't imagine where I will wear it, but it's ONLY $1.50!"

So, I have some decisions to make. I really love my magazines. Nope, no subscription to In Style, that would be too easy. Do I hurry and get a subscription really fast before I start this challenge?


That would be cheating.


I have to remember that it isn't about the money for me. Mr Challenge doesn't ever gripe at me about the money I spend. He nods in appreciation at my bargain hunting.

This is about the stuff. That drowning feeling that I get when I walk into my office or try to open a closet door.

My stuff is trying to kill me. It watches me while I sleep like that creepy ex-boyfriend I had.


Yesterday I received a package on my front door. From Victoria's Secret. Ahhh...

New items, wrapped in beautiful plastic, lovely paper tags, the entire experience makes me giddy.

I had ordered some new yoga pants since my old ones had holes in special lady places and bleach spots from where I had attempted to clean my bathtub while wrestling an imaginary beast that wouldn't hand over the Comet.

anyway, back to The Yoga Pants.

How they fit! No holes (yet), so comfy that I may never put on jeans again.

I immediately went to my computer to order another pair. I deserve, no, NEED to have another pair of these amazing pants! They are on sale, for crying out loud!

Why exactly do I need another pair? I can't wear more than one pair at a time? (or can I? this may be an experiment for later when I am bored and can't go shopping, take a note, Jeeves)

So, I stopped myself, I tossed the catalog that came in with my order and spent the rest of the afternoon crying making lists of things that were acceptable and not acceptable.
This is hard and I haven't even officially started yet.

What do you think is acceptable/not acceptable? What do you think you would miss the most?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Plan

The plan is to not buy anything other than necessities for an entire year.

July 2, 2011 to July 1, 2012

Now, some questions you may be asking yourself:

Are you crazy?

Probably, mostly just curious, I did a 30 day shopping challenge and found it quite rewarding. I noticed that I had more money in my pocket, more time on my hands and a lot less to stress about.
You see when you have less stuff, you have less to take care of, clean, worry about breaking, etc.

Are you going to buy ANYTHING?

Of course. Let's not go all psycho and assume that I can't EVER enjoy the Starbucks again. This isn't supposed to be torture. It's actually supposed to be fun, a challenge for me to think outside the box and maybe even learn a few things about myself (for starters, I may no longer be embarrassed stand entirely too close to you if you are holding a fancy coffee or even ask to try on your new shoes) .

What things can you buy?

Anything that I deem essential. That's the fun of making up your own game, you get to make the rules.
I will give myself leeway and room to learn. This is no longer a 30 day pledge. I am willing to go whole hog.

What about your family?

I will not force them to do this along with me. I promise to try not to buy things for them in order to appease the bargain beast inside of me.

Why, oh why would you do this?

So many reasons. The reasons are stacked on my bookshelves, stuffed in my closet, begging to be let out of space bags and boxes, straining against drawers and cabinets.

Stuff, so much stuff.

I'm tired of all the stuff.

I have too much.

I have an obscene amount of stuff.

and it makes me tired.