Me, than 2010 it was. If there ever was a year to start changing, than 2011 it is.
To take it a step further, how about if we help each other out and do this together? If you're interested, I'll create a "linky party". But can we change the name of it to something else, I strongly dislike the term linky party, it sounds so festive? You could do it for one month or all year long, whatever you're feeling in the mood for. Perhaps we can both inspire and encourage each other along the way.
To help myself learn healthier spending habits, I spent some time making a list of the common pitfalls I fall into, and subsequently, some tools and rules to avoid those pitfalls. The areas I'd like to affect are:
- Clothing Purchases: Focus on buying higher quality items that may be a larger investment upfront, but will last longer therefore I'll spend less money in the long run. Watch out for trendy items, remember I'm turning 35 this year. Avoid "running in" to stores at the local shopping center. I will always find something to buy. For the kids, buy fewer items but more frequently so they don't outgrow clothes by the time they can wear them (i.e. don't buy fall clothes in the summer), and be mindful of their quirks and sensitivities - I can no longer force them to wear certain clothes! They have choices and opinions. Lastly, avoid those attractive discount events like Friends & Family and Give & Get as a time to stock pile, but instead use them as a time to buy a couple of key items that don't usually go on sale.
- Toys & Games: Purchase toys and games during birthdays and Christmas time only. For "rewards", focus on special outings and one-on-one time, instead of material purchases. Also, create an ongoing wish-list (try Wishpot for example) for friends and family so they can receive items that they want and need. Focus on quality vs. quantity.
- Home Improvement & Craft Projects: Plan ahead, take inventory of supplies and materials already on hand, consult the sewing pattern so I determine the correct amount of yardage needed and don't just guess. Guessing is a time and money waster. Use what we have in the arts and crafts closet first before I buy more supplies.
- Target: Yes, Target deserves it's own category. Make a list and don't deviate. Plain and simple.
Tomorrow I'll post the second part of the Project 2011, the GIVE part. I think for now I've written a long enough novel.
Before I end this post, I wanted to take a minute to thank Jules from Pancakes & French Fries for her help in the planning of this series. It was very important to me to avoid coming across as just another "suburbanite" trying to "live intentionally." I knew I could count on Jules to honestly tell me the truth and she did, and in the process she gave me some invaluable advice and organizational tips that I would have never considered. Only someone who takes blogging as seriously as Jules would take the time to tweet and email back and forth with me on New Years Eve. So thanks Jules, you are the bees knees!
While in reality I may just be another suburbanite trying to live intentionally, I can accept that. I know my little project here is not going to change the world or save lives, but if it changes a bit of me, my family, and my community, I'll take it. I hope you'll come back tomorrow for Part 2.