In February I will, inspired by a Swedish journalist (tweeting with #shopstop13), not over-consume. I have to say that determining what is consumerism and what isn’t is harder than expected.
One of my 7 things to do for 2013 is living on a budget, and I can say that this far in January I haven’t done a very good job at it. The main reason for this is that my budget is off, I have underestimated in some places and overestimated in some, and some stuff just isn’t in there at all. Looking at what it is that I have bought this far, I realize that I have a task to determine what to allow myself during the month of February.
What I have done this far is to cancel my Gym membership, I haven’t been for I don’t know how long and since my Favorite Latte Mum told me today that she had cancelled hers, I knew there is no point of keeping mine. I pretty much only managed to go when we had agreed to meet. And seriously, having a membership in a gym that you never go to must be consumerism, right?
Something that I do spend plenty of money on, however getting something back for, is take-away coffees and eating out. I would say that take-away coffees and buying take-away because you are too lazy to cook; that is consumerism and have to go. Going out for dinner or lunch with friends and family, that I call quality of life and will be allowed (something I had forgotten to calculate for in my January budget).
Then it comes to those couple of beers after work, well I don’t work at the moment but my friends do! Are they consumerism or quality of life? That is a though one!
I know for sure that the clothes are out, there is no way that I will have to buy any clothes in the month of February. I have too much of everything already so even if something breaks I will have something else I can wear instead, come rain, snow or heat wave – that has been taken out of the budget for February.
Going to the movies are something that I absolutely love, and in my budget I have four visits a month included. Is this consumerism or quality of life? I know that I can live without it, it’s not a must, however; how much fun would life be if there are only musts and no fun? The movies get to stay.
February also brings mine and my sisters birthdays, for mine I want to hold a party where I will purchase snacks and decorations – where does one draw the line for how much and what? For my sister I would like to buy here a birthday present, if I buy her something that she really needs can I then spend unlimited funds? If I want to buy something fun or goofy is this then consumerism and out-of-bounds? I will not go empty-handed to my sister on her birthday, I will however have to sit down and take a think about what I will bring.
Another love of mine is reading and there is a post in my budget for books and magazines, I also realize that I have a tendency to purchase new books even though I have books at home that I haven’t read yet. And I do think that even if I don’t do many other things to do but reading in February I still wont finish them all (they include Crime and Punishment amongst others), so books and magazines are out for the next month. I should probably make a rule for myself even in the future, it’s just that when I find a book that I find interesting I just feel that I have to get it straight away or I wont ever have it.
That became a very long blog post with a lot of text and questions in it. I have adjusted my budget a bit, however it’s more of the mindset rather than numbers in an excel sheet that needs to be adjusted. Keeping track of every penny one spends does make you think a bit more about what it is you are spending on though.