I've never really been one for making New Years Resolutions. I always thought that if I wanted to do something, I'd just set my mind to it and do it---why do I need a special day to resolve to do it? But my mind has changed a bit. There are some things I want to accomplish this year and I thought the beginning of the new year would be as good a day as any to put the gears in motion. It seems like a proper starting point.
Jay and I have, as a couple, decided to put an immediate halt to all (ok, most) credit card usage. I honestly have mixed feelings about this one and am not quite sure how long it will last, but we are going to do our best to last as long as possible. But even if we do succumb, I think that we have a different mindset about spending than we did in the past and I truly believe that we will never go back to the way we were. In the past, if we were bored we'd go to the mall. Or go buy a video game. We'd get that instant high and then be bored again once it wore off. Then the cycle would start all over. We are aware of our mistakes and are learning from them.
We are big sale shoppers. Sales aren't necessarily bad things, but they can be if you find yourself buying items you wouldn't normally buy if they weren't 75% off, which is a trap that Jay and I fall into a lot. We tend to stock up. Oh, these tee shirts are $6.99? Buy one in every color! J. Crew has an extra 20% off already clearanced merchandise? Buy it all! You get the idea.
Another snare that tends to get us is that when we internet shop, we can't buy just one thing because the thought of paying shipping and handling on one item really irritates us. So we end up clicking around the website until we've found $150 worth of merchandise or whatever magic number gets us free shipping. This is silly. If I only want to buy a $25 item, that's all I'm going to buy.
To go along with the personal credit halt, Jay and I have vowed to not buy any new clothes for ourselves at all in 2009. (Possible exceptions being undergarments and socks.) Because of the bad behaviour mentioned in the above paragraphs, this shouldn't be a big deal. Neither of us need anything. On the off chance that one of us wants to revitalize our wardrobe, we're just going to have to schlep to the Goodwill or a thrift store. Thrifted and used items are allowed.
As much as I'm scared by the idea of not using credit, I'm also beyond excited about it. I think it will do us some good to really think about every purchase we make and decide if we truly need it.
Of course, I do have some more personal resolutions that aren't related to money:
*I want to continue reading a lot. I'm setting my goal for this year at 35 books. I think this number is challenging, but will also give me enough time to actually enjoy every book I read.
*I really, really want to make the nutcracker doll on the cover of Stitched in Time:
I would love to be able to give these dolls as gifts, especially to one little gal in particular who lives in my house. At the beginning of Stitched in Time, Alicia Paulson writes, "Most of the projects in this book can be finished in a weekend or two by anyone with a basic knowledge of sewing."
So yes, I figure giving myself an entire year to complete the doll is probably the correct amount of time.
*Finally, I want to say Yes to the kids more. Not like, Yes, I'll buy you that toy, or Yes you can have 12 cookies. More like Yes, I'll paint/color/play a board game/go for a bike ride with you. I've noticed I say No a lot. Or maybe later. I really should be saying Yes more.