Frugal February: How Did I Do? What Did I Learn?


So, after what felt like the longest February ever, March is finally here and my self imposed shopping ban is over. My original post about Frugal February can be found here. The summary is basically this: I gave up on unnecessary spending throughout the month of February in the hopes that I could prove to myself that I do not need to shop, that I can go without it and save myself a lot of money in the process. Let's talk about how successful that was...

The short story is: I really wasn't successful. 3 days into my ban, I bought a nail polish. After that, I was very well behaved. My phone contract and contact lenses payment left my bank account and that was all for two weeks. Fast forward to the last week of February, and the cracks started to show. It all started when Wednesday 13 announced he would be releasing a limited number of Meet and Greet tickets for his UK shows in March. These were on sale for a few days, and ended on 25th February. No way in hell was I missing out on this just because I was trying to prove a point to myself! That was splurge number one. Tickets, Meet and Greet, his new album and train travel paid for meant a large chunk of the money had already gone. In all honesty though, I don't really class this as a totally breaking the ban - I believe the limited edition of the Meet and Greet was extenuating circumstances and meant that I was allowed to spend the money when I did. A few days after this, I went into town with my mum and sisters, and came back with a brand new coat for Spring and after biting all my nails off again, I decided it was about time I got round to buying my own bottle of OPI's Nail Envy as well. On the last day of February, I randomly resubscribed to Graze boxes because they sent me a half price offer...

OK, so, good things: I did spend and shop significantly less than I normally would. On March 1st, my bank account, both current and savings, were looking a lot healthier than they have done since I was a student rolling around in her various loans, grants, bursaries and ridiculous "part time" job wages. My splurges were not excessive. Two nail products and a coat is hardly shocking, and considering one of them was limited edition polish anyway, I think it falls firmly into the category of extenuating circumstances just as the Wednesday 13 Meet and Greet's did. The Graze boxes are good for my health. Even the coat could be argued as necessary because I only have skimpy dresses or massive winter coats with nothing in between!

It's what happened on March 1st that made realise this ban had ultimately been a little bit pointless. March 1st came rolling around. Over February I had carefully planned out a list of things that I desperately needed wanted, I had placed them in the order of which they were most important to me, and then decided I was going to buy them in that order. The first items on my list were things I could purchase at work, but on March 1st, I was feeling way too rough to even think about going to work, never mind doing a full shift and having a big shop afterwards. In my little bed of pain, I managed to switch my laptop on and promptly go online shopping. 4 dresses, a new coat and a box goodies from a blog sale later, I've satisfied the shopping urge but not bought anything on my lists! March 2nd, I log onto Facebook to see E.L.F had a 50% off offer, cue me madly rushing and ordering a ridiculous amount of items just before I had to go back to work. I'll be doing a haul video about this, and believe me when I say I am genuinely starting to think I may have a problem.

My attitudes towards shopping haven't changed one bit then. I still do it compulsively, shamelessly and excessively. I feel genuinely happy knowing all this stuff is making its way to me. I still want more. Not spending over February has essentially taught me nothing. If anything, it has led to my insatiable hunger for consumerism to get even worse. Deep down, I know what I'm doing, I know why shopping is such an important thing for me right now. Perhaps then, I attempted my shopping ban at the wrong time. Shopping is a comforter for me at the minute, it's a coping mechanism. It fills a gap in my life. It gives me something to look forward to. As long as I feel like something is missing, I will always want more. In a similar vain, I attempted to give up fizzy drinks for Lent this year as last year I did this and it has enormous benefits for me. Yet, I've failed here as well. I think I'm at a time in my life where I just need to be entirely self indulgent and frivolous without really thinking about the consequences. In a month or two, I'm hoping I'll have settled down again, and maybe then, I'll try a shopping ban/fizzy drink/generally destructive habits ban again!