I haven’t given up a lot on my debt free journey. I don’t drink coffee daily. I don’t get my nails done. I haven’t had my hair colored in two years. The only things that changed is how often we eat out and how often I shop.
Eating out hasn’t been a huge deal. Honestly, it makes it more special because when we do go out, it’s date night or we’re celebrating. Also, eating out less often has expanded my ability to cook. We’ve reached the point that I say, ‘We have food at home!” whenever temptation crosses us. This year, I’m shooting for trying out 30 new recipes and I’m 8 recipes deep. Eating at home introduced us to Wal Mart’s brisket burgers which I highly recommend. They are delicious and way better than eating out if you have a grill. Throw them on some onion buns and call it a lunch. We also tried a fajita marinade that is top notch and has become a staple.
The only thing I really miss is shopping. I love shopping. Sometimes I meet people who tell me they hate to shop, and I just don’t understand. Shopping has always been associated with good times for me. When I lived in my hometown, the nearest shopping was a little over an hour away. So my mom and I, and sometimes my grandma, would make a day of it. We would leave around 8 am, arrive when the stores opened, and shop to our hearts content. Then we would have lunch at Olive Garden which was a treat because we didn’t have one anywhere near my hometown and it used to be my favorite place to eat. After lunch, we would go back to shopping for a couple hours until it was home to go home, fat, and content with our purchases.
Now I shop much less frequently. It’s on a ‘needs only’ basis. I buy work slacks as they wear out because I need to look professional. I bought new jeans last year because I have thick thighs and my old ones had worn out where my thighs rub. I used to shop exclusively at Buckle for my jeans. The last pair I bought was $30 at Target. I’ve realized that I don’t ‘need’ anymore clothes. My closet is overflowing, and I have plenty of work and workout clothes without having to do multiple loads of laundry per week. It helps my restraint.
But it doesn’t make me love shopping any less. Recently I went shopping with my mom and had a great time. It’s still a daylong event because she lives two hours away. We met for lunch and shopped all day. It was great and I spent about $150. $100 of it was to buy new bras honestly. The other $50 was spent at Ikea to buy shelves for the cat shelves I mentioned last month. I don’t regret any of it. I had a good time with my mom and didn’t buy anything that wasn’t planned for.
I hope that I won’t go back to my pre debt free day of spending $200 a month on clothes I don’t need. But I foresee myself always loving shopping and I look forward to including more shopping in my budget once I’m debt free, whether it’s clothes, or a metal shelf for the garage.