This is a no shopping challenge update. To read part 1, of the challenge, click here.
Day 1. I accidentally shatter my Chemex glass coffee maker. I have to buy a new one, I think to myself. There’s no way I’ll survive a month without it. An hour later I watch my husband improvise with filters and an oversized water bottle. My sister lends me a dripper, and my neighbor offers one as well. Coffee is served.
Day 2. My husband takes the kids to the park for a few hours. Then he buys them ice cream. That’s an off limits activity, I tell him. Meanwhile, I toss two garbage bags full of stuff. I move another three boxes of toys, electronics, DVDs and books into storage. Nobody notices.
Day 3. We’re about to get hit with 10 days of rain. I want to take the kids ice skating or to the movies or a museum, but I can’t. I look for free things to do. We go to the library.
Day 4. There’s a reference book I want for the book that I’m writing. It’s not available at the library, but Amazon has it for $.99. It’s only 99 cents, and I do need the book, I rationalize. I don’t buy the book.
Day 5. I’m waiting in line at the Walgreens Pharmacy and think of all the nice things that I want to buy at Walgreens. And on Amazon. I’m annoyed. This challenge sucks.
Day 6. My sister in law reminds me that I’m the only person who has not put a deposit down for our family summer trip. Crap, I forgot. I ponder my situation and consider holding off until February. My husband glares at me. I call the resort and hand over my credit card. I’m grumpy for the rest of the day.
Day 7. I take my daughter to a birthday party. I have a stash of kids books I’ve got reserved for birthday presents so we do not show up empty handed.
Day 8. My husband spends a $100 on a birthday gift for his dad. He tells me after the fact, and I am upset. Later that evening, he picks up Chinese takeout for dinner.
I’m going to pause here because I spent much of day 8 frustrated and disappointed with my husband for not being supportive of this challenge. He acted knowing that it went against “the rules”. I felt that by not supporting the challenge, he wasn’t supporting me.
Then I began to realize that perhaps I was the one at fault.
You see, I chose to take on the no shopping challenge. I wanted it and I was excited about it. But because a challenge of this nature requires the participation of the entire family, he became an automatic (and only partially willing and woefully unprepared) participant.
I asked my husband to change a behavior that he felt ambivalent towards. On one hand, he wanted to support me and agreed that there are areas where we absolutely needed to cut back on spending. On the other hand, he didn’t agree with or anticipate how drastic the challenge would be.
Day 9: I cut my husband some slack. I thank him for all of the restraint he has shown (like not purchasing the Japanese Soul Cookbook, an Amazon deal of the day), and I agree to several activities. I don’t even comment when a charge appears for an annual sports radio subscription.
Day 10: The urge to spend and shop has subsided, on my end at least. Maybe it’s because I get a kick out of looking at bank statements that show more deposits than debits.
I end the first 10 days feeling conflicted. I know that come February, I’ll absolutely be more mindful about the things that I put into my shopping cart. I’ll be happy about the money we saved, how much stuff we got rid of, and proud that we made it through the challenge. But I’ll also be busting out the credit card for the list of things that I’ve allowed to pile up. And there are many.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I still have 20 days left.