When I used to work in a daily newspaper, we sometimes had off-peak days. To find something interesting to write about, you had to be really creative. I found a little trick. I discovered that every day is the day of “something”. We have a day of kisses, a cat day and a day of those who eat under the sink – I swear it exists. In my calendar, I noted between 3 and 5 atypical «holidays» celebrated in Poland or elsewhere for each day. It was very useful for times when there wasn’t much going on. Once, we came across “a day without buying”. It created a debate in the newsroom, and we said : easy, one day…. So we decided to do a day without spending anything. Then, frustrated by this one day, we decided to push the experience to a week… When I think about it now, I think we must have been really bored.
An irresistible desire to buy things
The first two days were not so difficult, but soon the situation began to get complicated. There’s nothing we missed… but it was very weird not to give in to the little cravings: an ice cream or a pack of chewing-gum (because we had left ours on the desk)… In fact, all of a sudden, everything became interesting, attractive, irresistible. The weekly magazines in the tobacco office have never seemed more exciting than this week. It almost hurt not to buy them. We were like drug addicts in rehab. However, these things were not “prohibited”. The magazines I didn’t buy, I read the same day at a friend’s house, but still – the discomfort remained. It was terrifying to see that we began to feel a real psychological malaise, only because we had impulses that we could no longer satisfy. We didn’t come out proud of this experience and we all cracked at the end of the week, collectively… To justify – it was to spend time together. We were just used to go to a bar or a concert and have a few beers after closing the week-end edition…
Small daily purchases that empty our bank accounts
Personally, this experience led me to dig a little deeper into my life. It was unpleasant to realize that probably half of my purchases were the result of a pulsion – but it was much easier to make this observation by looking at the composition of my closet. But since that experience, I decided to regain control over how I spent the money, especially not to let it slip through my fingers for unimportant things. I decided to decide of an amount of money that I should spend each week for grocery shopping and leisures. I also stopped buying without thinking.
4 tricks of compulsive buying – and how to avoid them
Changing the relationship to money changes life
Once I learned how to adapt to my new “limited” budget, I decided to go further – because, I have to admit, I saw a positive result on my bank account. I decided to put a sum of money per month directly into my account. In fact, I opened a secondary account, a deposit account – without the Bank Card – just to save money. I limited my spending a little more, without changing a lot of things in my life – so I had to be really “creative” to pursue a social life as rich as before. Thanks to these changes, a year later, when the time came to ask myself if I was going to continue with the newspaper or if I should leave, these savings allowed me to go to Paris and get my sociology research degree. But in reality, it’s not just the money that allowed me to go to Paris to continue my studies, but the fact that I became really resourceful. I discovered that the world wasn’t always settled by money… At the same time, I have become more connected with people – and that helps a lot in life.
You have to have a dream
The most important part to stop spending money money is having a dream, a project that you want to achieve. Thus, money becomes a “vehicle” to reach the destination and not the destination itself. And even if you do not have a specific dream right away, the day it crystallizes, it is reassuring to have the means to realize it.
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This post is also available in: French