START TRACKING YOUR SPEND
Get to know where you spend, how it makes you feel and what really matters when it comes to your money!
Let's stop pretending that being good at money means you need to be good at math. Instead, let's listen to our body and our mind.
Credit cards can be valuable financial tools if you use them correctly. But, on the flip side, if you don’t understand a tool before you begin to introduce it into your routine, it might not always work in your favour. That was my relationship with credit cards for most of my 20s.
In college and university, I was the girl who would head to the mall every Friday after my classes – if I made it to my classes, that is. I always had plans to go out that night or the next day, and I certainly couldn’t be seen in anything I already owned.
After all, if I could buy a new outfit at Forever 21 for $20, then why bother putting together an old one that I had already taken a photo in? Keep in mind; this was before Instagram blew up. So, if you’re out there, ‘girl who’s following in my footsteps,’ I totally know your mindset. But, I really insist you keep reading.
Looking back, I can come up with many reasons why frivolous spending was an everyday part of my routine. I used to make most of my purchases to impress others, keep up with trends, and afford nights out that felt like an essential.
Shopping and buying new clothing items felt like the one way to feel more confident in my own skin. Maybe I needed to spend to overcompensate for another emotional issue. Perhaps it’s because society pushed me to that shallow of a level. Maybe this, maybe that.
The reality? I was full of excuses for why spending money I didn’t have was okay. Justification is the enemy of so many people battling debt – at least, it certainly was for me.
In my early 20s, I thought it was more important to look fashionable than pay my bills. My shopping problem got so bad I had over 40 pairs of jeans at one point. I had so many t-shirts and dresses that I didn’t even know if I’d worn them before. Some still had price tags attached. I wouldn’t think, “do I need this?” at the store. I wouldn’t even bother trying it on. If it was my size, it was in my closet.
It happened quickly. The day everything changed with my shopping addiction. My then-boyfriend, now husband and I had to move to a small town outside of our city and share one bedroom to cut costs on rent.
“Share a closet? You’re kidding, right?” were probably my exact words when I walked into our new living situation. I mean, where was I going to put all of my shoes, sweaters, and skirts? That day I had to sit down and sort through my clothes — something I hadn’t seriously done in over five years. If I had taken inventory on that day, I would have made a few of you sick thinking about my clothing collection. A collection that had almost become a hoarder’s dream.
Not only did I have high-fashion items and budget-friendly pieces, but I also had an unexplainable amount of workout clothes. My soccer wardrobe was more extensive than any other girl’s entire assortment of outfits. At that moment, I realized that it was time for me to purge almost everything.
Why did I have five white soccer shorts, four pairs of skinny black jeans, and six little black dresses? Only old Alyssa knows. And only old Alyssa knows why I made so many irresponsible financial decisions that still affect my current journey. Yes, still.
Even though I’ve since repaid my five-figure consumer debt, I’ll never be able to buy back those years lost with no savings and no investing.
Since that day, I have cleaned out my clothing collection over ten times. I am continually removing pieces that I never wear and donating them to those in need. For one entire year following that day, I did not buy a new outfit (besides one bridesmaid dress and one new work skirt).
Going to the mall used to be one of my favourite activities to pass the time – and now, I dread the days I have to pop in for even 20 minutes.
Growing up, my mom always took my sister and me to the mall to treat us to something special if we hadn’t been together in a while. It felt good to reward myself by purchasing a new outfit. Now, it feels like the best times to buy myself new clothing are when it’s necessary. A hole in my jeans, a worn pair of socks.
My thinking now is that if it’s not in my budget, why put myself in that position? Are you going to the mall to fulfill yourself emotionally, or do you truly need something?
I used to provide myself with multiple excuses regarding why I had to spend the money I was spending. But when it comes down to it, justifying your spending is never the answer. And if you have to explain it, you should automatically be aware that it might not be an appropriate purchase.
What are some old spending habits that you’ve kicked to the curb? How did you do it? Let me know in the comments.
Oh no, you missed the live webinar! But, good news: Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone planning for a future child or family.
Mixed Up Money is pleased to share a free resource for anyone looking to cut back on non-essential spending. My most-requested product is these monthly calendars to share on your Instagram story, use as a phone background, or print off to track your spending habits.
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