June challenge: Use that sh&t up

June 4, 2013 Off By Jana

If you guessed from my spending freeze experiment that I like a good challenge, you’re right. I like to see what I can do when I really focus and try. I also think that challenges are good ways to work on changing bad habits, whether you’re looking to stop smoking, start exercising, reduce your weekly alcohol consumption, or eliminate frivolous, unnecessary spending.

It’s this last one we’re going to focus on for this special June challenge.

One thing I’ve learned is that I might have a problem buying things I think I need without actually checking to see if, in fact, I really need them. I’m not talking about conscious stockpiling. I’m talking about thinking I need lip balm every time I go shopping and wind up with 10 different types of it (note: I have a moderate addiction to lip balm. Even when I know I have enough, I still buy more if I think I’ll like the flavor, scent, or consistency. And, for the record, Bonne Belle Dr. Pepper has the best of all 3). Here’s just what I found in my room. I didn’t even look in my purse or include lipstick or my fancy lip gloss:

Some people do this with craft supplies or nail polish or food or clothes or kids’ toys or hair accessories or golf tees…you get the point. There’s a lot of unnecessary spending and accumulation going on.

But I don’t want you to fall into this trap. Or, if you’re in it, I want to help you out. To make that happen, here’s what I’d like you to do. Please:

Go through your house, focusing on the items that you believe you spend too much unnecessary money purchasing. Note exactly how many of said items you have. Based on that amount, ask yourself if you need to buy any more that item this month (Not want. Need.) If the answer is no, commit to not spending any money on just that thing for the entire month of June. Then, when you come back from shopping trip having not spent money on that item, put the money in a savings jar (envelope, piggy bank, shoe, coffee can under your porch…whatever you’d like). At the end of the month, add up how much money you’ve saved just by using what’s already in your house.

Then, treat yo’self (financially, of course). It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, either. Use the saved money to make an extra payment on your debt. Or contribute it to a savings account. Or start an emergency fund. Or use it as another step towards achieving any financial goal you might have. Just put it towards something productive and positive.

This is not a spending freeze. It’s simply a challenge to use what’s already in your house. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save when you just use that shit up. Because I don’t care how much money you have, there’s no need to keep wasting money on a collection of products that’s so vast you’ll never get around to using all of them before they expire.

Are you in? I hope so!