08 July 2010

How to Avoid Impulse Shopping

I pretty much love shopping. Who doesn't? Buying stuff is awesome. What I don't like though is having no money. Even worse, having no money and a wardrobe full of clothes I don't wear.

Since I'm on a mega-tight budget and saving like buggery, I thought I'd post up my tough love tips on how to stop impulse buying (and have an awesome wardrobe full of things you actually wear).

#1 Most important ever tip: Don't go near the shops.

At all. Ever. Harsh but fair. If you have BIG plans and BIG savings goals, then why put temptation in your own way. If you don't know about it, you don't want it. Shopping isn't hobby - well I guess it is but, if you want to travel or pay off your mortgage super early or build a mini-golf course in your backyard, then get a cheaper hobby.

Nobody ever just window shops. Companies spend zillions of dollars a year to ensure we don't ever just window shop. They know how your mind works and you are powerless to resist it.

This includes online shopping.

This also includes reading catalogues.

So, okay, you've slipped. You've got an hour to kill in the city and can't help yourself or maybe you've stayed away from the shops for so long your clothes are in rags to the point where you can't work and therefore this whole money saving scheme is becoming counter-productive.

Here's how to have control and save yourself:

1. If you can't decide if you want something or not, you don't want it. Put the dress down, walk away.

2. If you really want it, leave it and come back tomorrow. If it's still there, you were meant to have it. If you sit up all night obsessing that someone else might buy it before you get back to the shop, you were meant to have it.

3. If you really want it, and it's the last one in the shop in your size, put it on layby. If you don't obsess about paying that layby off stat, go back and cancel it. You obviously don't care that much. Sure you might lose a few bucks in processing fees but you should get your deposit back - and save the money you might have spent.

4. If you can't find what you need for a special occasion, don't settle for "this will do". You'll hate that outfit forever and never wear it again. Take another look through your wardrobe and if you still have nothing appropriate, beg or borrow from friends -- or friends of friends.

5. Don't buy anything on sale that you wouldn't pay full price for. Otherwise it's not a bargain, it's just an expensive duster.

6. Nothing you buy will change your personality -- or make you more popular or more loved. At best, it will help you feel confident and happy. For a brief while.

06 July 2010

The Trunk of Broken Dreams

For those who weren't readers of my previous blog, some background.  All my life I've been overweight then, about 4-5 years ago, because of health problems and being fed up with being fat, I lost weight.  Over about a year, I dropped 40 kgs.  I became the girl in the "after" picture.

Life was good and I lived happily ever after.

Except I didn't.

I hit the golden moment.  I won the prize.  I even stayed there for a while.  I ran a half marathon and attended reunions.  Lots of kudos, lots of compliments.  I was bullet-proof

Then I slacked off.  All the lessons I'd learnt, all the smarts I had disappeared.  I kept telling myself - I'll lose weight soon.  Oh that top must have shrunk in the wash.  Those jeans never fit right.  Lies and self deceptions.

On the weekend, as part of my ebay clean out, I sorted through my trunk of clothes.  Outfits I'd forgotten mocked me with their smallness.  They fit me once but that time was long, long ago.  Maybe this is shallow, maybe this is weak, but I felt like crying looking at those clothes.  The size 11 jeans, the tiny little mini skirt and my absolute favourite red and white polka dot dress.

They are just clothes.  Just clothes.  I can buy more and I have bought more but it feelslike giving up.  Laying down and meeting defeat.

When I started losing weight, I kept things very simple.  But, as time went on, I read more about weight lose, about running, about fitness.  My head got filling to overflowing with a glut of information, most of it conflicting.  I had to do more - eat more protein, eat less carbs; train with intervals, lift more, blah, blah, blah.  I felt guilty if I went to the gym and only did ONE class.  Some days I spent 3 hours or more at the gym.

My head nearly exploded with all the 'coulds' and 'shoulds' and trying to reach pefection.

I want to get back to where I was when I started losing weight. Back then, I had a few simple rules:

  • Log everything I eat.  I didn't count calories, I didn't analyse, I just tracked.
  • Exercise every day.  It can be pilates or yoga or a walk.  Those types of things are good too.
  • Water.  Drink it.  All the time.
  • Before I eat something, think about if I want it.  If I REALLY want it.  Most of the time, I don't.
That's it.  No bullshit.  Keeping it simple.  Keeping it real, kids.