Monday, January 27, 2014

Stick-to-itiveness


Don't you just love that word?  It implies that one has gumption and better than gumption, a plan...




I wish I could claim that my stick-to-itiveness would result in my lighting the world like Mr. Edison, but I will say that the small changes I put in place in early January are paying huge dividends already.

Food:

Our grocery management has greatly improved things and we are $200 less than our budget (which is about $400 less than our regular expenditures!  This includes a couple of dinner parties, so well done us!  We can't claim a bill like our Janet, but for 5 people (as the girlfriend is here a lot), we are feeling very pleased!  We think we can do even better next month!



Health:

I have done yoga every day this month and I have meditated for 20 minutes each day.  I feel wonderful!




I walk regularly and have been tracking my steps on my pedometer.  I am not dieting, but I am upping my fruits and veggies and no eating between meals.

What has also made me feel wonderful is only having alcohol once a week.  No more nightly wine for me.  I sleep better and I seem to feel better.  It is also saving us money!





Shopping:

No shopping for me.  As I mentioned earlier this month, I want shopping to become a special occasion kind of thing, something only done when I actually need something.  I haven't visited an online shop all month.  I have avoided shops here in town, except my local bookshop.

I cannot tell you how happy this has made me.  I only know about sales because I see others' blogs, but honestly, I have no interest in them.  I feel as if I have reclaimed a normal relationship with shopping again and I couldn't be happier.


The best thing is that I am paying more attention to my own closet and enjoying my own clothes.  No more adding and subtracting for me.  For me the big question now has to be: will buying this ___ really add to my joy or am I just buying it out of boredom, wanting to be like others, or something else?  My experience with shopping frequently is that one buys the item and then is simply on to the next thing.  And there is always a next thing.  So stopping that cycle has been blessing.

There is beauty everywhere and for me, for a while, it won't come from a bag...



When I started all of this in early January, it was about putting my money and time into things that REALLY mattered to me and stopping engaging in behaviours that didn't support my happiness.  They say 3 weeks makes a habit, but I won't be sure this has completely taken hold until the end of February I guess.

And I am not being overly silly about it.  Wine, clothes, other things, happen. 

I will be going to Florida in a few weeks and anticipate that some money will be spent there, although I don't really plan to purchase clothes, but determine sizes for my springtime purchases!

I am truly putting my intention and attention on my writing, my learning, and my inner self.  Spending less and spending smarter is one way to do that. 

So four weeks in, I am feeling pretty proud of myself!  Hope this helps anyone who is thinking of doing something similar!  Have a great day out there!



 

53 comments:

  1. Your desires and your actions are going in the same aligned direction. That IS such a great feeling! I've had a no-shopping month, too; trying to pare down all around. It's nice not to even WANT a bunch more stuff.

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    1. Lane - that is the secret, isn't it. Or to quote the much maligned Sinead, whom I have a soft spot for: "I do not want what I do not have"!

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    1. I'm channelling my inner Tabs! Soon my drawers will be simplicity itself!

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  3. Well done Wendy! We've cut out alcohol as well this month - apart from the bottle of vermouth in the cupboard for cooking. We haven't really cut our grocery spending too much (we run a pretty tight ship anyway) but we are taking a closer look at it each week and becoming more aware of what we do spend.
    Did you continue with the January Cure? I have painted a bathroom and cleaned out cupboards and drawers in the kitchen and bathrooms, plus we changed an ugly light fixture (that was long overdue). I haven't been following it slavishly, but it's a good way to kick-start things.

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    1. I have been doing the January cure as well and it has been really helpful. Some things I have put aside till spring as they are not in the budget, but the cleaning, reorg, changing stuff has been SO helpful!

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  4. Congrats on your changes! I have made similar changes this month, though am not as disciplined as you. I wish I stay away from online sores. I peak at them when I'm bored, though haven't purchased much this month.

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    1. That was my problem, too! Once I left them alone became so much easier to avoid temptation!

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  5. Well done, you! I'm not surprised in the least...:)

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    1. Rebecca - you have more faith in me than I do!

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  6. We are trying to NOT be wasteful with our food. I have a large pantry with a ton of dry/can food so only perishables will be purchased for some time. Okay, and maybe some liquor. My shopping is fine but my fear is all the lovely spring stuff will be coming out and I am desperate. Our winter is definitely the worst I have experienced in 20 years living here.

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    1. I hope it warms up before I get south! We are so far from being able to wear spring clothes (except for Florida) that there is no temptation...

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  7. I am working really hard on my grocery bill, but temptation in the store is high! I have been trying to buy less of the berries and fetus and veggies as they go bad fast and we don't always finish them all.
    I am inspired by all you wonderful women:).

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    1. A- I had to reread your sentence twice till I realized that autocorrect made fruits fetus, which was very disturbing! I go get my fruits and veggies every 3 days now for that reason, because they do go bad so quickly!

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  8. Oh YAY for you!! Oh, I wish I could block websites not only from my kids but also for myself! (But I don't wish it hard enough to actually do it, unfortunately!)

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    1. Audreys - I think when you want to, you will. For some reason, all last fall I was getting sicker and sicker of accumulating stuff, the weeding it out and replacing it again, so I think I must have just hit a wall!

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  9. Well done you! Must be a great feeling yo be on track. You seem to be hitting all your targets. But yes sticking to it is key!

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    1. Yup and every day is another temptation! I almost gave in and looked at Kate Spade's sale, but hung tough!

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  10. bravo wendy. so so refreshing to hear this. x

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  11. HABITUALLY GOOD Way to go WMM! I have started tracking every dime closely and it is actually freeing versus frustrating now I actually have a system in place and will be auto-sending to vacation account this Friday.

    I think the biggest thing I am gleaning from your change posts is "just do it and keep at it." Realization I was making a lot of excuses re. time, money, weather.. But revitalization is a nsnowball, and I am rolling (hopefully not downhill.)

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    1. Yay GF! I think you have to know your priorities as well and we really make this a priority - we tracked our money last year and stayed within budget, but truly managing it is a whole other thing! I find it really freeing, just like I find now seeing the "deals" very freeing!

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    2. Think you got it. I was "good" about covering the basics, but wasn't really making our money work for us, which no one else is going to do, or prioritizing for some of the "bucket" experiences, goals. Carpe diem. And when you limit/ stop spending/ frittering on whatever your "latte factors" are it is quiet eye-opening how much funds, time and energy you can find for the "big picture."

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  12. Great job! I'm glad you are feeling happier :) I've just quit Diet Coke (but not caffeine) and feel much better already. I'm trying to set aside time to read something that is not on the computer. Those are my current self-improvement projects. Also I got one of those FitBits for Christmas and I'm always trying to hit the (default) daily goal of 10,000 steps. I'm hitting it about half the time, which isn't bad considering the weather and the knee.

    I keep thinking of trying yoga, but I have never done it. Can a beginner pick it up if that beginner has zero flexibility, a bad knee and no grace whatsoever? lol! I like to move (relatively) fast when I exercise so I've always thought I'd have no patience for yoga. Would I feel like an idiot attending a yoga class? I know I could do it at home but I doubt I'd bother. Plus I think I'm a person who would need a lot of instruction.

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    1. I do it at home now, but I have been to classes and all abilities are welcome and you are looking for a gentle yoga - those instructors are wonderful and will treat you like a baby! Yoga instructors are wonderful!!!!

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  13. Sounds like you are in a great place! Look forward to hearing more from the new you.

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    1. Thanks Jen - actually is more like old dog playing new tricks!

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  14. You've had a great month, yay! The only way to break a shopping habit is not to look, when I gave up my JCrew sale buying habit I became a much happier person. Now I don't intend to give up my Brora sale shopping habit though it looks like it will be curtailed this year, mostly due to my organized and edited closet and our low dollar. I did order a second pair of my ivory trousers as well as those jumpers in blue and pink (replacements), some cashmere gloves to replace mine that were "Borrowed", and a blouse and dress. Not sure if the dress will work. I was thinking of not ordering anything from the sale but I get so much use of of my cashmere and silk things from Brora. And I had to order some things for Gab, who decided to use some of her clothing budget for the year on a dress and jumper.
    As far as the alcohol: good for you, I have limited experience with abstaining but I did give it up in 2012 for nearly 3 months and it changed my intake forever. I never did go back to red wine (and hangovers), I'm pretty limited in what I drink. Will you have wine on holiday? I love buying wine in Florida as it is much cheaper and the selection is amazing!

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    1. Dani - I think your Brora habit is fine because it is thoughtful and is very limited in that their prices are very rich for us and so sales are necessary! I have no issue with shopping sales for things that are loved. Of course, right now still not sure what it is I am loving! Oh dear! I feel another transition coming on!

      Oh I will DEFINITELY drink wine on holiday! That's why they call it holiday!

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    2. I can't wait to get to Florida: wine at lunch! I bought something else this month: new aprons, linen, full coverage and pinafore style. Will review as soon as they arrive which can't come too soon as I am house-training a puppy!
      Today I edited my shoes and thought of you: the Kiki flats all stayed. :)

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    3. I think the Kikis will survive the flood! Good for you on aprons! I am really struggling to figure out my new style. This winter I have just been all about cords and sweaters at home. Maybe that is the new style! But then what will my spring summer style be???? I would love some new linen napkins - since linen is all we use they get worn pretty quickly!

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    4. You two are a "terrible" influence, one of the few things that brown boxed their way to me this month, the leopard Kikis on super sale. They are comfy, easy to run in and jazz up all the black stuff. Ah the days of JC leather soles as a given, think that's my thing like your silk-lined dresses DBP.

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    5. I love those shoes! I've worn them so much!

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  15. Well done Wendy and keep it up. My only change has been eating 1 orange pepper per day (per Tabs) but really should go a lot further than that on the nutrition front and this brutally cold January has gotten me lazy about the gym.

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    1. I should try the orange pepper a day! I love them! You are right about this awful weather! I have not been so good about things out of the house...

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  16. Well done Wendy! It sounds like you really are enjoying changes in both mind and body. Keep up the good work.

    It wasn't Edison that lit up the world !
    The only thing he lit up was stray dogs and an elephant.

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    1. Curator - you made me laugh out loud! You are so right! Can you tell I wrote that early this morning!

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    2. Cor blimey, I can't believe my bad English. You'd think I was a chimney sweep from Marry Poppins! Oh the shame of it.

      Will force myself to speak only in Cockney rhyming slang for the rest of the day as penitence.

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    3. Dying laughing Curator. If only I were a fly on the wall at your place today...!

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  17. Very good job!! I'm so inspired. Meditation every day would make an enormous impact on my spirits, but I allow every excuse in the book to get in my way. Yoga at home!! What a concept! If I don't get to a class, I don't do it, which I now realize is silly. You sound so wonderfully happy. I'm thrilled for you. After seeing Janet's pantry post I was shamed into committing ourselves to not shop, and just eat what we have. Could be weeks and weeks worth of food in there. Shameful really.

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    1. Jennifer - we were the same way! Honestly - we had one week where we only spent $75, which is not much for a family of four, as we had lots. We are not quite in the same situation now, but I may never need baking chocolate again! I swear the meditation is the gift of all gifts! Well so is yoga. I didn't go out to a class as frankly, as saving for our Florida trip and then for being on a greatly reduced income come May. This gets me practising!

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  18. Hi Wendy,good for you to stick to your resolutions!
    I dont have a shopping resolution,but i learned to tick to my needs,as here in the US there is so much to buy:)
    Foodwise i feel i need to make changes and change up my cooking rut.It is easier to cook what the kids like,than trying new dishes!
    My workouts are als stuck in a rut and i feel lke i am not moving forward.
    Maybe i have to talk to a personal trainer and add somethiing new to my boxing.

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    1. I always found it so hard to cook imaginative meals for little ones as they are so picky, so good luck!

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  19. Great job!!! I am super impressed that you have been sticking to all your goals!

    My great weakness is shopping for clothes, so I have been trying hard to cut back and also, to change my approach to my wardrobe in general. The few things I have bought are at a much higher price point than what I have previously been used to, which automatically puts a limit on my spending. I have been looking for good quality classics that will last a long time and I have also been purposely buying things that I know I will wear immediately, as opposed to things that are for a fantasy life (a bad habit I am trying to break).



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    1. This is my problem too Louise. In my fantasy life I am always going to cocktail parties. The reality is life with three little children and no permanent Staff! Cocktail dresses are not the most useful items in my wardrobe (sadly).

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    2. Hi Louise and Heidi! Louise - hope you post on what you are doing - would love to see! I was always buying for fantasy event, but lack the chutzpah of our Tiffany Rose to wear it all out! I have enough fancy dress stuff for awhile. I am now trying to figure out how to dress for my 50s as the last couple of months I am dressing like I did at uni!

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  20. I am trying to eat what is in my cabinets and freezer. I forget what I have and buy more and it's a terrible waste. Unfortunately the kids and hubs are picky so it's limits how austere my plan can be. If it was just me I could be way more creative. Pancakes for dinner every night. I am also trying to use up toiletries. My bathroom closet is overflowing. Even if it is not my favorite I am trying to use up before I buy more. This way I have more cash for clothes and shoes!

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    1. SC - I hear you on picky eaters!!! I would some weeks eat only cereal and salad! And we do have to have our priorities!

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  21. I'm certainly glad that you have persevered and met so many of your goals. I was doing better with my shopping ban - until last weekend. Now I will be receiving the brown boxes, final sale, all week. Boo! I've been able to make some returns at stores and walk out empty-handed. But I succumb to the sales on the internet and rely on them to combat boredom, and cabin fever. I didn't want to accept it but I recognize that I too must skip the shopping sights in order to stop sabotaging my efforts to break the shopping habits that are ultimately painful. Thanks for your reports. It helps remind me to do better tomorrow and how rewarding the success will feel.

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    1. Hi Teacups! It is hard to give up the sites in some ways, but now I do feel much happier. The way of social media today, you never really give them up anyhow! I have seen a sneak peek of Tory Burch and J Crew's new rollouts on Pinterest and have created a new board called Spring 2014 possibilities. I think it was Dani who said once that when she "captures" and image on Pinterest it is almost that same feeling we all get when we hit "buy". So if you check out my board you will see I have already "found" a few things to consider!

      The biggest issue is not to beat ourselves up. This is working for me, but really, what I wanted was some peace. Others may have more money and closet space than I or may have shopped for different reasons (though it sounds like you and I were the same!) and it works great for them! I am actually excited by my May purchases (whatever they will be!) - it will be organized and not driven by "I need to buy this because it's on sale"!

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  22. Well done on sticking to it. Frankly, that is really what makes the biggest difference in life. I have always told people that studying Architecture was an endurance degree - we had 2/3rds drop out over the 5 year course at Uni. So I was one of the 1/3 that stayed, and I wasn't necessarily the best or brightest in my year level - just stuck at it, even when being mentally beaten to a pulp by all the damn public design critique sessions in front of the year level by the lecturers (soul destroying, and probably what caused a lot of the others to leave. This is very common in Architecture courses as you supposedly need to get used to criticism). I think it's true of everything in life though, and it's stood me in good stead.
    I'm in great admiration of the diet and spending changes - you've really changed a lot in 4 weeks, and you should feel really proud of what you've achieved. xx

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    1. Heidi - I always said that about doing my Masters or getting to the level in the organization I was at before I left. perseverance is everything! As for changing a lot, not so sure, I feel like I am one slip up away from having to stand up in a meeting and hang my head!

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Kindness is a virtue...