Hey, where's the collage picture of all the things I bought this month?
Oh, that's right--I didn't buy anything that would count against my shopping budget! WHAT THE WHAT.
I was able to let my financial situation dictate my shopping, rather than letting my shopping dictate my financial situation.
(Full disclosure: I also started taking a medication that helps with impulse control again, but I don't think that's the only reason why I was able to rein in my spending.)
I think committing to a budget and getting real about how much I can actually afford to spend right now made a big difference. The shopping budget of $170 that I set back in 2014 really is not feasible now that I have a car, yoga teacher training, a higher healthcare premium, a more expensive therapist, etc. Right now, I'm lucky to have $100 left over from a paycheck after bills, and that $100 needs to cover food/eating out and anything else that I didn't preemptively budget for. Not a lot of room for shopping.
This month, I took that "extra" money out in cash for a change, and being able to see just how little I had to work with made me less inclined to spend it immediately.
So I basically used the principles of YNAB (give every dollar a job), but on paper and in cash, which seems to hold me accountable more than using the YNAB app and debit/credit cards.
But it was also important that I allowed myself to have a little extra money, rather than overextending myself financially (as I usually do), because it’s unrealistic to think that unforeseen expenses won’t crop up over the course of the two weeks before I get paid again. I often think that it's ok to spend beyond my means when that money is going toward something "positive," like an extra therapy session, but I'm starting to see how I use that as an excuse to be irresponsible. "I have no money anyway, so what the hell? What's a few more things from Target?" I usually feel like I have no option but to start charging things or tapping into money I haven't even been paid yet, but there is another option: I can avoid setting myself up for failure by starting each month in the black and keeping in mind that that little bit of money needs to last for two weeks.
Well, that’s what’s been helping me! What helps you guys?