When I started this project a mere four weeks ago, I pictured a completely different experience. I thought by now, surely, I’d be rocking back and forth in a corner, flipping through mail order catalogs and slyly clipping pictures for my “Buy Next September” stash. I doubted that I could really enjoy my year (this early on, anyway).
I assumed I’d blog about the money I saved every day. I planned on averaging out expenses from the same date over the past three years (meticulously tracked by Harv in Microsoft Excel), adding in what my shopaholic heart would have purchased, and posting the Grand Total of Savings in my daily report. I’d then juxtapose those embarrassingly high figures with the modest amount I did spend on personal necessities, husband and daughter related expenses (both are not on The Project, but they wish me the best of luck), and Monday Dare experiences. I feared I would whine constantly and feel bored.
Thank goodness even the best laid plans leave room for a different reality.
I find myself cataloguing all the marvelously funny and delightfully simple pleasures I ignored in my everyday life.
When I stopped spending needlessly, I gained time. So. Much. Time. Instead of obsessing about buying, I felt a sense of relief. I no longer worry about missing a sale altogether or waking up at the crack of dawn to be first in line for a sample sale. I don’t spend hours scouring store after store for shoes in my impossibly difficult size 4 1/2. I don’t throw magazines into my grocery cart while I’m standing in the check-out line. I usually end up tossing these magazines that same evening after reading them. Just a few plusses in a very long list.
It’s obvious to me that The Project is no longer just about the numbers.
I’m grateful for all the kind words of encouragement. My friends and family make this small project seem like a big hurrah. I’m surprised by (and thankful for) all the lovely notes and messages I’ve received from friends I’ve never met but know through common interests from the world wide web.
4 weeks down, 48 more to go. I’m looking forward to it…..really.
photo: Bonnie Tsang