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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Rounding Third and Heading Home

Day 277

75%. 3/4 of the way. Rounding third, on the way home. Fourth quarter. Home stretch. I have officially completed 9 of my 12 months of the no-buy challenge. I feel very differently about this milestone. I think I was revved up in the first quarter, in pain for much of the second and resigned during the third quarter. There is so much to work out in only three months.

I look at this like the Friday morning of a seven day vacation in which you go home Saturday. On Friday morning, you are acclimated to your surroundings. The hotel is familiar and you recognize some of the staff. You probably have a favorite chair by the pool. But with just a bit more time left, what can you fit in? Daylight's burning, no time to waste. How best do you end this vacation with a bang?

How will I conclude this one year challenge? My fear going in was that I would reach the end, set out very early on January 1, and make up for lost time. I don't believe that will be the case. In fact, I recently found out I will be traveling to a tropical destination very early in January! I feel like I'm on some Survivor-type reality show. How can I choose a vacation wardrobe, in January,  likely online, and have it shipped and sorted out in just a few days? The answer? I probably have most everything I need. So, yes, there have been big changes.

The bigger question is how will out move forward. Even after a year, I feel like the need to shop could tug at my subconscious. I will definitely need strategies. I have determined that if I make hard, fast, defined, realistic rules for myself, I can follow them. So defining my shopping limits will be very important. I am considering monthly dollar or item limits. A different idea occurred to me recently. In addition to limits, I think I am going to impose a rule on myself in which I can only buy clothing with cash. It is so easy to swipe a plastic card and forget about it, or add on a few items since I am buying anyway. With cash, the buying feels more real. And if a store has a special, credit card only offer, I will use the card, then trot on back to customer service and pay the bill. In Cash. 

I think the strategy list will be a compilation, a mix-tape, a best-of combination of everything I've learned. 50 years of compulsive shopping has left some very difficult habits to break. I have the entire fourth quarter to work it out.

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