Jaime’s No-Shop February: The Final Week!

Missed the first few No-Shop February posts? Click here and check them out!

Wow… I can’t believe that February is already over! This month has flown by and while it has definitely had its ups and downs, I’m so glad that I decided to take part in my own No-Shop February!

My final week was probably the easiest, and I ended up motivating myself to keep it up. I might not be as strict on myself, but I plan on keeping a budget and staying on top of everything that’s thrown my way.

What were my big successes over the month? I got caught up on all of my student loans (I was already on top of my credit cards, but now I’m trying to pay them off even faster) and I’m on a great track to get them all paid off by 2013. I stayed under/at budget in every area. And I stayed really motivated throughout the month… probably because of the first two.

With the beginning of March comes a new month, a new budget and new plans. I’ve been working to include my boyfriend in my budgeting more and we’ve added some different areas (like car expenses) onto the plan. It’s a challenge, but I think we can do this! It’ll be hard, but we’re ready to make this change a reality.

It’s been amazing sharing my failures and successes with you… I think it kept me from spending frivolously, knowing that I’d have to keep you guys updated with what was happening, so thank you! And, for those of you who also participated in a No-Shop month (Fashionista Lab and Pretty & Poor both did it, while 365 Fashion Rehab took it to the extreme for the entire year), I hope it was successful.

I’d also like to send a big, huge THANK YOU to all of you who emailed me saying that I inspired you to start changing your spending habits. My biggest tip? Baby steps. Change one little thing at a time, and you can see a full lifestyle shift. You really can do this, so good luck!

To see more of Jaime’s work, check out DenimDebutante.com.

Jaime’s No-Shop February: Week Three

Missed the first few No-Shop February posts? Click here and check them out!

Hey guys! Things have been very chaotic around my house lately, and I think it’s flowing into every aspect of my life. One thing that I’ve definitely been working on though? Kicking this debt to the curb and calming my shopping habit. For how challenging week two was, week three ended up being a LOT easier.

I’ve set up a payment plan for all of my debts, and we’re slowly working through them. Sure, it’s hard, but I’m really intense (in fact, I’m Gazelle Intense, for those of you Dave Ramsey fans out there) and I’m committed to getting this done. I only have one more week of not shopping at all, but I am happy with this lifestyle, and I really think I can change for the better.

What did I buy in week three? My big splurge was a bottle of sulfate-free shampoo which, with coupons, cost me $3.99… and it was pretty crucial to have that stuff, since you can’t use shampoo with sulfates on a Brazilian Blowout (and I want this hair to last a LONG time!).

There is something really, really painful about this, and I guess I never really realized that I probably have a shopping problem. My lifestyle, despite how well-dressed I am, was not right for me. If you’ve been hassled by credit card companies, you understand how I’m feeling; there’s just a peace that you find by getting them off your back!

I took week three, and it’s calmer demeanor than week two, as a chance to really clean house both literally and figuratively. I threw out a bunch of clothes, donated even more to my local Goodwill (which I’d highly recommend you do, if you’ve got a ton of extra clothes sitting around!) and am shipping some to my sister in Ann Arbor. My boyfriend and I sat down and created a hardcore budget and we’re committed to making a full-scale lifestyle change. Crazy, huh?

Have you been taking part in a No-Shop month (or are you going for a No-Shop year, you amazing chica!)? What has been the hardest part for you?

To see more of Jaime’s work, check out DenimDebutante.com.

Jaime’s No-Shop February: Week Two

Wow… let’s just say that week two did NOT go as smoothly as week one. There was some good and some bad news, and I’ll share both with you.

Let’s start with the good: I really didn’t fall into any big amounts of temptation. I bought the boy a pair of jeans (yes, another… he’s destroyed about $450 retail worth of denim recently, and I scored a great deal on some Loomstate jeans for him) for Valentine’s Day, but that’s pretty much it. I was a good girl.

Bad news? Well, I haven’t been a good girl for about a year now, and it’s starting to catch up with me. Namely, my student loans. I’m taking 100% of the blame for this one, but man… this bites. I don’t want to give you too many of my financial details (I love you guys, but there are some things a girl’s got to keep private!), but let’s just say there’s more money going out than there is coming in.

Oh, and I have to find $1,000 by the 26th. No big deal.

But, as for the whole “no-shopping” part, it just got a WHOLE lot easier, since I have no money to spend anyways.

I would like a little advice for those of you who have been here (or, some form of here… I’m not sure everyone in the world is like $40k in debt, and I hope, for their sakes, that’s not the case): how did you stay sane? I know I have to totally change my lifestyle, but do you have any tips or tricks that helped you stay motivated? I’ve been listening to Dave Ramsey a lot, and leaving little notes for myself (yeah, like I could forget how much debt I’m in!), but I’d love a little advice from an outsider.

Stay tuned for next week, where I hopefully don’t find any bonus debt!

To see more of Jaime’s work, check out DenimDebutante.com.

Jaime’s Shopping Challenge: No-Shop February, Week One

You know how they say that when breaking habits (or trying to create new ones), the first month is the hardest? I truly believe that now, and it’s only week two! This is my little recap of how week one went, as well as a few of my little slip-ups… because I’m not perfect.

No guys, this isn't my closet. I wish mine was this organized!

I’m so used to feeling like I have to buy something right when I get paid… and that happened on Thursday of this week. It was hard for me to try and switch gears and remind myself that it was more important to save a little (and pay off some on my credit cards) than it was to get a new dress. But boy, was I tempted at a few of the sample sales this week!

I did buy something: a pair of jeans for my guy, who has run through his faster than expected. With credit on Gilt, they ended up only costing me $4… and helping me calm my fevered desire to shop. But, other than food (and going out on Friday night… a very rare occurrence for us!), that was the only thing I spent AND I stayed within my budget!

So, here’s my big worry for week two: Valentine’s Day! We’re going out to dinner (with gift cards we’d accumulated since Christmas and the night before so we can avoid the crowds), but we said we weren’t going to do gifts… for the first time in five years. Instead, we’re putting money into a savings account to buy a house in the future. How does this idea fare with you guys? Have you ever decided to exchange something a bit more important (if you can even call it that) than just standard chocolates and jewelry?

Don’t get me wrong; I’d love to get something pretty and sparkly for Valentine’s Day. But a house is something that’s so much more… permanent.

Are you having an extravagant Valentine’s Day? Is your guy proposing (and if so, why do you already know?!?!) to you? Or are you having a more laid-back night of romance and fun without breaking the bank? Let me know!

To see more of Jaime’s work, check out DenimDebutante.com.

Jaime’s Shopping Challenge: Having a Shop-Free February

I’m prepared for a couple of you to go into shock (don’t worry… the boy did too!), but I’m making a big commitment to myself for the month of February.

I will not be purchasing any unnecessary items. NONE. For the whole month.

Don’t worry, I’ll still be spending money at the grocery store, but I’m interested in really trying something new. This means that you need to shop twice as much for me!

Yeah, I know that it’s the shortest month of the year, but everyone has to start somewhere. I’m looking to change a couple of things so I can make 2010 even better. The boy and I are hoping to save up enough to buy a house and I really want to get out of credit card debt. Plus, I’ll probably slip up and get something (though I’m trying hard not to!)… but I’ll make sure it’s something amazing. And I’ll tell you all about it. :)

Here are a couple of ways I plan on keeping my style fresh throughout the month WITHOUT buying more clothes:

1. Shopping my closet: I have a lot of clothes. I mean A LOT. And it’s time that I start wearing them, so I’ll be putting together outfits with items I already have or – even better – outfits I’ve forgotten I have each day.

2. Prepare outfit options beforehand: I’m the kind of person who chooses an outfit right as I leave the house. By setting up some outfit options, I can utilize all of the pieces I haven’t been taking advantage of!

Why am I sharing this with you guys? Because I hope that, even if you’re not participating, you’ll hold me accountable. I’ll update you once a week for the next month and let you know how I’m doing… and if you want to learn more about my Shop-Free month, email me at Jaime@TheFashionableHousewife.com!

To see more of Jaime’s work, check out DenimDebutante.com.