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Once upon a lifetime, I knew all about splurging. I don’t have to look far (past budgets) or search for long (also past budgets) before I feel the cringe creep. It’s an automatic reaction to bygone eras and bygone stuff.

There is plenty of spilled almond milk to cry over, but I’d rather turn the cringe into something better, lighter, and less awkward.

These golden nuggets are ways I’ve went from splurge to purge the urge with cheaper alternatives.

Flavor Savor

Just like a 1990’s commercial, I used to drink soda.

It was a little habit that was barely noticed until it was removed similar to removing sugar, color, and flavor from 8 ounces of water. My frequent sugar habit was subtle but enough to cause various tooth decays which led to various cavity displays.

Eventually, I kicked the syrup habit by accident, not with intent. I was overseas, traveling aboard a non-cruise ship (aircraft carrier), and the new stock of sodas was from an overseas distributor. The can had subtle marketing differences, but the flavor was more distinct, different, and disgusting.

I couldn’t stomach the flavor, so I ditched the habit. The options were limited, so I was left with water. After a 6-month deployment with no soda, the cravings were lifted like my future savings. As a boon, I haven’t added to my cavity collection either.

Trim the Gym

For years, a gym membership was a standard budget line item.

Fitness was to be bought with an onsite shower and towels washed by someone else. Then the rona hit and threw that habit out the window along with supply-chain confidence.

Truthfully, the gym is the one that dumped me. When things started turning ugly, questionable, and closed, I paused the gym membership. When things started to ease up and the membership was going to renew, I asked for another pause.

They paused it alright, permanently. They canceled me.

I was a bit shocked but then relieved. I had gotten used to workouts from home where I didn’t need to worry about a commute cost, questionable sweat marks, or staph.

Working out from home is much easier and cheaper, the biggest cost is self-motivation. Sometimes a nap sounds better than a walk, but I leverage Mr. BuLL in those instances. As soon as I mention I want to go for a walk, he tucks that away for later and circles back with enthusiasm typically found with puppies and ponies.

Sometimes the splurge to purge involves leveraging teamwork.

Keep Calm, Declutter On

I like stuff, I swear I do! Even if my house with its empty walls, floors, and shelf space seems to suggest otherwise.

I have less stuff because the stuff I have is a legacy of love. Plus, I prefer to spend my time reading, juggling, and exploring not cleaning, maintaining, and replacing.

In the bygone times, I used to frequent décor stores like a hippo frequents water, often and with relish. I loved the displays and crafty arrays. The stores always had exactly what I was looking for, if not something better. It was easy to say this pretty box is for organizing or this basket would look great on the TV stand.

I was busy chasing an image straight from a magazine. I didn’t stop to ask, if this reflects how I want to spend my time, energy, and finances. Do I want to be someone who brags through my perfect stuff about the perfect life I lead?

Things cost more than money. They cost hours of your life – hours you can’t get back.  

Maximum Gratitude, Minimal Stuff

It wasn’t practical, healthy, or financially sound.

Slowly, I shifted from chasing cheap décor to decluttering more. Soon, the space and savings became addictive. All the money and time spent chasing stuff was replaced with money and time spent chasing experiences which take up less space and accurately reflect my values.

Paid TV to Free TV

The irony of ironies is that during college, paid was a priority. At a time when all other expenses were cut to the basics. Yet, there was paid TV.

After college, I started working as a seasonal park ranger where housing was questionable even when it was an option. TV wasn’t even a random thought. The concerns over lead paint, mouse infestations, and questionable dish hygiene were more concerning.

After far-flung seasonal stints, when Mr. BuLL and I were settling down for a normalish life, we bought our first house. The previous owners didn’t have an installed satellite or hookups for paid TV. So, we started a social experiment.

How long could we last without TV?

Seven years later, the experiment continues!

We have moved two times since then, ironically to more homes that don’t have satellite fixtures and have yet to feel a desire to clutter up our budget or free time with TV.

Splurge to Purge

The splurge to purge feels like a lifetime of lessons from less to more back to less. The most recent round was by intent, not accident. It would have been easier to start with less and keep the momentum, but easier doesn’t mean better.

I have a full spectrum of experiences to bolster my future for the coming crests and crashes. I can’t predict what they will look like or how I’ll feel about minimalism, but I feel confident in my skills because of the miles I’ve traveled, and the lesson learned along the way.

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