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Not Too Many Cardboard Boxes: An Update

Back in February I wrote about accidentally curing my desire to shop online. You might remember that I put a plan in place that would help me save money and reduce the number of boxes I have showing up at my house.


"I had to stop scrolling the [Amazon] app out of boredom and I would resist the gadgets, cleaners, and doodads I came across on TikTok. I would also limit myself to one purchase a month. If there was something I needed that could not be obtained easily locally, I would drop items in my cart through the month and then revisit it all on the last day of the month, to deter impulse buys.


I would shop in person more often […] and finally, I would resist the urge to do another costly update to the house. I tried—and failed—to implement this resolution in early 2022 after deciding to repair the fireplace, and that ended up costing more than the initial estimate. […] I will return to sweat equity. If it’s not necessary maintenance or an aesthetic repair that costs more than a can of paint, it can wait.”


It's now June and I’m happy to report that I am still on track!


I did stop scrolling the Amazon app out of boredom, which has helped tremendously with being more thoughtful about the things that I could easily buy locally. I’ve made only six orders this year!


As for TikTok induced impulse purchases, those have come to an end. Any time I come across something on the social media app that scratches a teeny—but satisfying—part of my brain I either add the item to my wish list to consider later or add it to my cart for purchase at the end of the month—most of the time, I don’t even end up buying it.


However, these months have not been without temptation and the dollar simply does not stretch as far as it did two years ago.


June’s been a bit of a struggle. I’ve wanted a swimming pool for almost two years now. Had dreams about getting a nice little swim spa or in-ground pool. They’re much too expensive, but I’ve toyed with the idea of buying a smaller above ground pool just to float around in or hang out and have drinks with friends on lazy summer days. Above ground options are a budget friendly and cost-effective way to scratch my itch until I can afford something a little more permanent. But I’ve resisted the impulse.


Until TikTok started conspiring against me by serving up nice little videos about above ground pools. Especially this one about a woman who created a little Barbie pink oasis in her own backyard, which led me to think… I can do that. And just like that, I was seriously considering abandoning my pledge while pricing small pools on Amazon and Lowe’s.


This all happened to coincide with the realization that the backyard awning deterioration may be speeding up and need to be torn down by years end, and searching for a big backyard umbrella to keep the patio and my plants in shade until I can start the patio project—which will be costly and done in phases.


As I tried to convince myself that I could justify the purchases of a small pool and a big umbrella, I kept thinking about the goal I’m set to meet in August, if I spent this money, I would have to hustle to make up for diverting the money to two bigger purchases.


Failing to meet that August deadline is not an option, so I decided to wait. Classifying a pool and the umbrella as treats for being so dedicated for the past several months isn’t enough to deal with the stress that they would inevitably bring leading up to August.


So I’ve made a plan to purchase them a little further down the road. I may not be able to start my own backyard oasis this summer, but once the season is over both items should go on sale.


It also helps that TikTok inadvertently gave me a good idea of what else it will take to care for even a small pool. Chlorine or saltwater options, cleaning, pumps, prep for the ground where I put it and so on. There’s a lot that goes into it and I will enjoy it more if I take the time to plan and budget it all out.


I am happy to report that I remain on track to meet my goals and dedicated to the promise I made myself. Saving money or reducing spending isn’t a punishment and while it may take a little longer to get what I want, it certainly beats the stress of stretching finances too thin.

 

Perdita Patrice is a Texas-based writer and documentary filmmaker. She enjoys live music, reading, and watching TV. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @perditapatrice

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