Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shopping Challenge

I'm finding it harder and harder each day to ignore the craptastic economy and the fact it's starting to hit close to home. Very close to home. Although i'm probably in a better situation than other young associates in that my firm is smaller, structured differently, and Texas-based, i'm also fully aware of the fact that i could lose my job at any moment. Enter - the Stiva Shopping Challenge 2009.

My friend Stina and i have decided it's time to really slam on the brakes when it comes to our shopping tendencies. Both riddled with debt and $1000+ monthly rent (that's a lot in TX... NY and DC - ers, i'm sure your jaw is on the ground!), we have decided to begin this challenge with the purpose of helping one another spend less, save more, and basically become better people. (FYI - The term "Stiva" comes from a combo of our college nicknames.. hers = Stina and mine = Diva [do NOT judge moi, it was given to me by my dear friend Laoura back in high school and i love it].)

Step 1? Accomplished. As of Monday, March 16, 2009, i will no longer have cable. Or DVR. I must admit the realization is more painful than i anticipated, but you guys are SO RIGHT. It's UNNECESSARY, and i will probably spend my time doing much more active, productive, and inspiring things. Btw, does cost money??

Step 2? The shopping. Here are the Stiva Spending Challenge Rules:

1. Set entertainment budget for the month and use CASH ONLY.

2. Set grocery/dining out budget for the monthy and use CASH ONLY.

3. Absolutely no shopping for non-necessities - i.e. clothes, shoes, accessories, makeup, magazines, home decor, etc. (Rare exceptions MIGHT be permitted, but only on a case-by-case basis and at a max of 1x/month.) [This one is killing me already as the new issue of GQ has my love, Rob Pattinson, on the cover. Be still, my heart...]

I'm sure there will be more rules once we get into the swing of things. Any suggestions? I'm thinking we'll start on Monday, March 16 (Monday's are always a good day to start these things, n'est ce pas?). I know it may seem like cheating, but my sister and bro-in-law are in town this weekend, and i don't want to spoil the fun. Then again, my sister is probably treating me to a pedicure at Milk + Honey on Saturday, so technically i'm not spending a dime. ;-) Plus i plan on spending this weekend perfecting the rules and calculating the appropriate entertainment/food budgets. :-)

P.S. If you're like moi and feel the need to severely curb your spending, i invite you to join Diva and Stina in this challenge!! I will DEFINITELY be blogging about my struggles and temptations (i feel some low moments coming), and you guys can comment on your journeys as well. Yay!! :-)


Anonymous said...

Awesome plan! By the way, this was one of my New Year's goals. No shopping (outside of groceries and the occasional, very rare, dinners out with a few friends). But, no shopping at all. None. Zero. Which was TOUGH especially considering I just moved into my new place and I needed so much stuff (like a couch, among other major things that apartments tend to need).

But, sadly, my two month time limit has ended and since I have been spending like a maniac. Which I need to end. Quickly.

So, mind if I join you on this challenge?

And yes, is free :)

Carolyn said...

YES JOIN ME!! Actually i meant to put that in the post, and then we can all commiserate together. :-)

Lauren T. said...

Hi Carolyn! It's Lauren Thompson! Thought I'd delurk and tell you about this This is one of my favorite blogs and she's also on a spending hiatus right now, so she blogs about the things she does that don't cost money, how hard it is not to buy things, and even the times she cheats.

I hope you're doing well! It sounds like you're working for a good firm and having fun in Dallas. If you ever come to San Antonio, let me know, I've got a spare bedroom!

Anonymous said...

Yay, I will start Monday too! I haven't yet decided about cable...but I will keep you posted.

I'm starting my own blog, been thinking about it/meaning to for months now. But, I'm gonna do it this weekend!

I will send you the link by Monday!


Anonymous said...

i'm in austin too :) greatest city, right?

Anonymous said...

i do understand where you're coming from in wanting to do this, but a lack of consumer spending is one of the things that's contributing to all of the economic problems. if all the people who can afford to keep spending stop, then it will actually make things worse. sure, cut down a some and pay attention to where your money's going, be prepared for the possibility of layoffs, but if you're generally financially secure, then it would actually be good for the overall economy if you continued to go shopping, keep your cable subscription, etc.

Carolyn said...

Dear Anonymous #2,

I'm really glad that you left that comment because i DO agree with you. I completely agree that people who have the disposable income to shop, eat out, etc. should do so. The thing is (and this may not have been clear from my blog, understandably), i absolutely cannot afford my current lifestyle. Without getting a bit too heavy here, i've struggled with my shopaholic tendencies, debt, etc. for the past decade of my life, and this is just a way in which i hope to start seriously thinking about where my money is going. In the end i hope to find a balance (and get out of debt!). :-)

Pink Heels said...

Paying in cash has been a great strategy for me. If I don't have the cash on me, I stop myself from grabbing my bank debit/credit card even though the $$$ is in there. I also have established a new rule. If I want to buy something that costs more than $75, I have to wait one week before I make the purchase. It sounds silly but I have only gone back to buy about 10% of the items that I would have snagged without thinking.

Bonjour Madame said...

Bravo for your plan! I'm a huge fan of saving money and living below your means. You can do this. Before your spending hiatus starts you may want to grab Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover". I also recommend "The Automatic Millionaire". You might can get them at the library also (this can become your new bookstore) :)

Melita said...

i have already been doing quite a bit of the non-spending. in ways it sucks, in ways it's thrilling. my main financial goal of 09 is to knock down (or preferably out) my credit card debt. and i am happy to say i am well on my way to that goal but still plug away at it in every way i can. i am going to nyc next weekend and do plan on spending some (not much, no BIG shopping sprees or anything). i will join you not this upcoming monday the 16th but on the 23rd. i will keep you posted of my spending or lack thereof :)

Carolyn said...

Merci for all the GREAT tips. The $75 is genius, and i am def. going to implement that in the future. You guys are a wonderful support group!

Oh and Melita - feel free to facebook me anytime!! We can discuss out debt challenge ;-)

City Girl said...

hey - just catching up on your blog - I have to say, just reading Above the Law and the law firm layoffs has me wanting to spend less all the time. good luck on your challenge :) one tip: meal plan and pack lunch - it's amazing how easy it is to do once you get into the habit.