It’s been 6 months and 20 days since I started my yearlong shopping ban. That’s 204 days of not buying clothes, shoes, books, notebooks, electronics, household items, nail polish… or takeout coffee (other than when I’m travelling). I’ve purchased a few of the things from the approved shopping list I created at the beginning, as well as groceries and toiletries – and that’s it. Even though I’ve only recently crossed the halfway mark in this 365-day journey, I don’t think it’s too soon for me to tell you: it’s changed me forever – and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to being the type of consumer I was before.
My brain was scattered this week. The results of the private MRI I paid for last month came in (“Orthopedic surgical consultation is advised.”), which caused me to tailspin – not out of control, I just haven’t been able to focus or tackle my to-do list. I caught myself jumping between subjects in conversations, losing my train of thought and forgetting what I was doing altogether, more than once.
But I was conscious of these things and, therefore, I actively tried to get back on track. I still got up each morning, made coffee and wrote in my journal. I did some batch cooking, cleaned my place, folded and put away all my laundry. I spent some time with friends and made fun plans for the weekend. And I slept. (Seriously, I slept for almost 11 hours on Wednesday night.)
It’s been a while since I’ve written a post like this, but there are a few questions that keep popping up in my inbox and in comments: Do you budget monthly or per paycheque? If you have money leftover in your account before your next payday, what do you do with it? Do you keep a buffer in your chequing account? And how do you really track your spending?
When I first started reading these questions, I thought, “haven’t I already answered these!?”. But in looking at my budget template and posts on how to write a budget, it doesn’t look like I have – at least not in one post! So, for those of you who asked, I haven’t been ignoring your questions; I just decided to answer them here, for all first-time budgeters (and financial voyeurs) to read.