As I organized and cleaned the kids bedrooms in the last week of December, after we returned home from Christmas vacation with toys and the ‘stuff’ kids accumulate for Christmas, it dawned on me – Wow, our kids have too much stuff.
Two years ago…
We purged half of the items in our house – profiting nearly enough to cover the cost of the vacation to an all inclusive in Cuba for the entire family. That’s nearly $3,000 from selling the things that we no longer used on the swap site, from old clothes and toys, furniture that didn’t have a purpose and the baby-gear hoarding that I was saving for a future child, but then realized there are actually so few things that we need.
We’re back there! Every time I leave the grocery store I’m leaving with random things for the house, and our bedroom and the kids bedrooms are filled with things. The closets need to be purged and I feel like I’m in a constant cycle of buying something – as it feels like there’s constantly a kid that needs something, as I’m sure you ‘get’ if you’re a parent.
Jumping on the ‘NO SPEND’ Bandwagon
This year, I’m jumping on the ‘No Spend’ bandwagon and not shopping in January. I’ve unsubscribed from all of those favourite sale alert emails, have adjusted the kids clothing budget, and our own clothing budget, to zero. I finished the Christmas shopping clearance early, and picked up wrapping paper, advent calendars, gift tags, Christmas crackers, decor and ornaments and stashed them away for next year (Future me is going to be thankful, for that!)
This month, in a quest to get back on the ‘spending money on experiences not things’ track, I’m not going to ‘browse’ at Homesense. I’m not going to open the ‘we made too much’ section at Lululemon. I’m not going to stop for a bagel on those mornings that we’re late for school, just because it’s fast and we probably have bagels at home. I’m going to skip the sections that don’t have food at Costo. I’ve deleted the Skip the Dishes app from my phone, and if we’re going to take the kids to a restaurant it’s going to be with the pile of gift cards in the drawer, rather than out of our spending budget. I’m not going to browse the aisles at Wine and Beyond when I stop in for wine for an event. I’m not going to escape the kids by browsing at Anthropologie.
Why $2,000? Tallying up clothes, entertainment, extras and restaurants, I estimated that we could save a minimum of $2,000 reigning in the spending for one month. There’s nothing like tallying up the ‘extras’ to get you back on track with spending. Right?
What better place to put it than the travel fund? After all, it’s on the list this year to plan a kid-free Europe trip, a vacation to somewhere warm, spend Christmas in the mountains, and fit in a last-minute hot flight deal to explore somewhere new.
It’s day two and I’m fighting the urge to go back to find more ‘post holiday deals’ but the boosted savings and the promise of a trip somewhere warm next month will be worth the sacrifice – and just might help to get me back to ‘experiences > stuff’.