I did pretty good last fall. I pretty much quit buying things, anything, cold turkey. I haven't purchased a shirt, a piece of technological equipment, a new book, any kind of extravagance like flowers for the table or an expensive dinner out -- shit, I didn't even buy Christmas gifts this year (sorry fam). I've even cut my beer/entertainment (including the occasional case of coffee syrup) expenses by about 80%.
But to ease the withdrawal, I've been slowly making a list in my head of the things I need/want, and now that I have a teeny-tiny taste of money in my bank account, I'm bursting to run out and buy a ton of shit. Here's my list, in no particular order (certainly not "need"):
>> A haircut. omg I need a haircut. It's been, let's see, August, September...almost six months! ($200)
>> A new pair of jeans. I "grew out of" my good pair of jeans months ago, relying solely on the good people who grow cotton in the shape of winter sweaters to keep me from displaying it to the public en masse, but sadly, not from suffocating in them. (~$100)
>> Eye doctor appointment and new contacts. I'm so fucking blind, I can't even read this. What? ($200-300)
>> Prime lens and speedlight. Guess what? I'm shooting another wedding! I know, my friends are all crazy, but I love them. ($400)
>> Trip to California. I haven't seen my family in forever. :( ($300)
>> Artwork for my office. Really I just want to buy a bunch of prints from my awesome Flickr contacts and frame them, but that's still a buttload of framing. (maybe a few hundred)
>> A real piece of art. I think about this one a lot. I know exactly what I want and who I want it from, and I can even consider this one a little bit of an investment (sort of, at least in the respect that it will appreciate, but not necessarily that I will (or will be able to) sell it later), but we're talking a ton of dough for a totally non-functional thing. I want. (a few thousand)
You know what's not on that list? Um. A backyard fence ($3000), a kitchen renovation ($5000), a bathroom renovation ($10,000), and approximately eight thousand more trips to Home Depot (a million dollars + my empty black soul).
So I continue to not buy. But I did invest $200 into my brand new ING high-interest savings account today. Woo! And I'll be deducting $200 automatically from every paycheck (though I worry that's a little too much).
I'm going through the slightly agonizing process of refinancing right now, and it's looking like my mortgage payments are going to drop by ~800-900 big ones, thank the sweet baby jesus, and I'm still waiting for my tax refund and annual bonus.
Hello flattering jeans!