Save. Spend. Splurge.

Spending Journal: A month in the brain of a Shopaholic


I thought I’d try something new and keep a not-spending journal or a diary of what I thought about buying and/or did not spend this month.

In the past, wardrobe bans, and any kind of spending restriction on myself always made me want to (ironically) go out and spend MORE. I can’t put caps or restrictions on myself because they don’t work.

I don’t have unlimited income but I also don’t have major problems with income, savings and debt…. so it is hard to trick my little pea brain into a scarcity mindset when I know and feel that I don’t have a scarcity of resources.

So. I am trying something new, a mental rambling spending journal of how I think about spending money and shopping and hopefully something better than groaning about how I overspent this month without meaning to, will come out of this.

Enjoy! (And let me know if you did enjoy it..)


If anyone would like to do something similar and keep a spending journal (doesn’t have to be a month, could be a day or a week), please let me know!

I’d love to publish it, anonymously or not. I think it’d be interesting to read other people’s spending thoughts in a journal format.

Here goes!


July 1st

Got stressed & frustrated at home after Baby Bun was laid down for the night because he is just being a little monster.

Obviously things did not go as The Bun had planned because he was sobbing indignantly at the  injustice of babies having to sleep 10-hours a night at 7 p.m. while Mommies and Daddies played outside, doing whatever they wanted and did not have to be fenced into their beds at night.

To drown out the sound of his tears, I decided I would browse Banana Republic with headphones on.

Mommy needs some online retail therapy.

….specifically, to stalk this metallic gold dress because I like it but can’t stomach the idea of paying $200 for it.

Oh look! It’s on sale… and only $100?

With another 50% off? This sounds like a deal to me. Reviews are stating how nice it is, and I don’t own a metallic gold sheath dress that is work-ready.

Oh wait. I knew there was a catch.

This is not the Canadian website. It was the American one. At $100. The Canadian one is $157.

NO FREAKIN’ WAY. Ripoff. Not buying.

Deleting it from my cart. Let’s go see what else they have, this time in the FINAL SALE section….checked the rest of the site, the SALE section is pretty dismal for my size (XS – S) and frankly I don’t really want anything else but that dress.

SAVED: $90.27

July 2nd

David’s tea is the devil. Bought 100 grams of the ceremonial matcha green tea.



.. but it’s so good.

SPENT: $49.57

July 3rd

Returned stuff to Banana Republic. I found a few cute bangles but not for price, even 50% off.

I also picked up a leaf print dress but it was way too much fabric….

Saved: $244.18

July 4th

Baby Bun is on my lap. I need a mental break or a distraction. I actually still really covet this Simons dress I posted on Instagram a while back, but can’t pay $70 for it because of all the stupid cutouts (all over the torso).

What’s making me want it badly is the gorgeous porcelain print.


Still not on sale for lower than $70. I think my price point for this would be $30 or lower. Like $29.95.

Let’s face it, who is going to buy this dress as-is without having to tailor it or wear a tank all the time?

SAVED: $80.44

July 5th 


Of course, I had to spend like $200 to get 50 free grams of tea but now I know I am going to go for the expensive matcha green tea stuff.

Just 100 grams cost me $50. O_o


July 6th @ 10 a.m.

Am doing more laundry right now because we cloth diaper and only have 2 working diaper covers. Baby Bun needs more.

I have been slacking in this department, knowing that the day would come when the third diaper cover snap would break off, and the day of reckoning is upon us.

Browsed all the possible sites of where to buy this stuff, and settled on going to Bummis in Montreal to pick them up in person so I wouldn’t have to pay shipping. SCORE!

@ 3 p.m.

#%*#@(%*&#@(*%&#(@* curses in all the languages.

They’re out of business.

Bummis closed June 12th or whatever and I made the trek all the way downtown, took 2 trains and 2 buses and THEY ARE CLOSED FOR GOOD. They went out of business.

What’s worse is I see inventory in the stores, and I see the exact diaper covers I want. But they’re closed.


Now I am going to log online and find some diaper covers. After checking all the different sites, I settle on Snugglebugz who seems to be the only site online with any diaper covers in stock.

Ordered: 4 diaper covers, mostly to obtain free shipping and because they’re out of business so I better plan for Baby Bun’s bum to get bigger and to need the bigger covers.

SPENT: $57.54

July 7th 

Must. Not. Browse. Etsy.

Must. Not. Browse. Etsy.

Must. Not. Browse. Etsy.

Screw it.

Browsing Etsy.. oo! Look! Pretty lace rings. I feel like I really need a few more to stack… after buying this one last month:

This #lace #ring from #etsy is so #pretty it hurts. #shopping #shopaholic #shoppinghaul #jewelry #jewellery #accessories #ootd #chic #style

A photo posted by Sherry @ Save. Spend. Splurge. (@saverspender) on

It is so pretty it hurts. I am wearing it daily now. I want more. MORE LACE RINGS. PLEASE. Wait. Stop. Lace rings. Are they really needed considering I already went on a crazy shopping binge last month? No. No I don’t need more lace rings. Not with Greece acting the way it is and China possibly tanking. I need to conserve my money so that I can snap up index funds on the cheap. But still.. those rings are really pretty. If I get extended on my contract at the end of the year, I’ll treat myself and allow myself to spend a little. Yes. That’s the plan. OK I really shouldn’t browse Etsy. BAD. BAD!!!!   Going to play with my budgeting spreadsheet and listen to some podcasts to help me stay inspired and on track to not spend money. That has always worked in curbing my desire. That, and organizing my wardrobe. Just one quick check on that dress at Simons…. Nope. Still not on sale.

SAVED: $400


July 8th

Spent the whole day reconciling my business bank account with my Quickbooks entries and my Excel tracking. I’m off by a thousand bucks!!!! I must have accidentally double-paid myself for expenses, thinking I didn’t do it. Going to replace the money so that everything balances and can be reconciled from now on. Phew. That sure put a damper on things. At least now I have to be more disciplined in making sure I enter my invoices & pay myself the exact / correct amounts each month instead of doing it and then forgetting to enter it into Quickbooks later. Thank goodness I kept it all organized with my budgeting spreadsheet. I should also start putting notes in the entries I make in Quickbooks. Otherwise it’ll be a nightmare to reconcile when I do my year end books. Also.. wrote a cheque out to the government to the tune of about $8000. *sob* Taxes. *sob* At least I won’t mark it as “spending” because I didn’t buy anything, I’m just doing daily business transactions. I need a Starbucks green tea latte as a treat. I really do.



July 9th 

Recharged my Starbucks card with my Virgin Mobile members perk. I buy a $10 gift card and get $15 as the value instead. Sweet! …although this just enables me to go to Starbucks more often. I have to cut back / down on this habit. I should limit myself to eating their breakfast sandwiches only every Thursday and/or Friday, and getting a venti matcha green tea latte on those days as a treat. Otherwise, I always prepare a small cup of matcha green tea at home, to wash down these 2 fermented cod liver pills I take for my skin.

My #green #tea #matcha making skills are getting better and better. #yummy #drinks A photo posted by Sherry @ Save. Spend. Splurge. (@saverspender) on

Gotta say, my skin has never looked or felt better since I got on this matcha bandwagon.

I don’t care if it’s trendy, it WORKS.

But back to Starbucks. I need to get this habit under control. Should limit myself to $15 every 2 weeks.

$30 per month is reasonable, right?

SPENT: $15

July 10th

Nope. Ate more sandwiches in the morning and ..yeah, Starbucks card got reloaded again

3 x of this, every morning from #Starbucks .. I may be addicted #food #eats

A photo posted by Sherry @ Save. Spend. Splurge. (@saverspender) on

I was also going to return stuff to Sephora and get back $171 but… was too lazy for this. Will do this next week. I dropped off my tanks at the tailor to be shortened though. Going to cost me $24. Plus taxes.

SPENT: $25 with another $24 coming up for those alterations


July 11th 2015

Went online to The Gap because I heard they’re trying to increase quality and revamp their offerings. Ordered a few items that are on a ridiculous sale ($3 for a super soft long-sleeved tee!?).. and a lot of dark skinny jeans with a super high rise. Let’s see if they measure up to my Citizens of Humanity Poison Skinny jeans which I love and live in. I doubt it, but hope springs eternal. Damage? About $300 but I swear I’m going to return most of it, if not all of it. I am looking at the Gap 1969 resolution true skinny jeans in different shades like rinsed and dark scrape. Not sure who came up with these colour names but they sound very 90s grunge. I also desperately want this tote from Etsy but have to save my dollars because $300 is not chump change, especially not in USD when I am working off a 20% discounted currency (CAD).

SPENT: $321.97 with the full intention of returning most of it, if not all.


July 13th 2015

This weekend was great. With a baby who has turned into a little monster over night, refusing to nap, waking up at 3 a.m. again instead of 5 a.m., I am exhausted. I have a terrible headache from not sleeping, I am just.. TIRED. All of this usually means I end up shopping to relieve the stress of it all but I am literally too brain-dead to even do that. Thank goodness. What I did spend on, was about $97 in groceries this week, and realizing that I should go and gently nudge the baristas at my favourite Starbucks to give me a free drink because I have been buying all of these darn sandwiches and not getting the stars for it! Separate purchases and swipes of my card for each sandwich and drink. I should have 2 free drinks by now. Bosh. I also finally got some refunds back on the things I bought in June & returned.

RECEIVED BACK / SAVED: $250 (from items being returned to Simons & Banana Republic)


July 15th 2015

In other news, Baby Bun is sleep regressing and the stress at work is basically making me NOT want to do anything but sleep. Fun times. All good for my wallet though because I haven’t spent a penny thus far. I returned everything to The Gap except for these retro high-waisted light wash jeans ($60!) and that’s about it.

My partner is also starting work again so things have been VERY STRESSFUL lately in the household trying to get Baby Bun into daycare, managing the rest of the paperwork, getting organized in the house so that we don’t have to stress out when he starts.

RECEIVED BACK / SAVED: $261.97 (from items being returned to The Gap except for the jeans)

July 17th 2015

Still not shopping. Too tired. *yawn*

July 24th 2015

Picked up my tailored All Saints tank tops! Now they’re not so low cut and they can be worn underneath tops and dresses for modesty’s sake.

Love. Them.

SPENT: $24.00 for alterations

Bah.  BAH. No more spending.


And that does it!

Did you enjoy it? Hate it? Want to participate?

If anyone would like to do something similar and keep a spending journal (doesn’t have to be a month, could be a day or a week), please let me know, or leave a comment and I’ll get in touch!


  • Minh Thuy

    This is quite interesting to read.
    I have the same issue about setting myself a spending ban as well. As soon as I’ve set a goal not to buy something, it is often the first thing that I buy.
    Since I maintain a detailed monthly budget, I always record and date every purchase I make so it’s easy to see where I have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to spending. Often or not it’s food related because I blog about food, so I view it as a way to create more content. I’m trying to phase out eating out, and transition more to recipe ideas but it’s a bit difficult when so many new and exciting places and opening up and you just get the urge to go check them out haha.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      Food is a terrible money waster. I can feel myself just eating away my cash. I mean, $500 on eating out PLUS groceries? I am going nuts.

      Spending bans do not work on me. What works on me is to avoid temptation completely and to watch spending/debt shows to constantly keep myself on my toes.

  • Sarah Li Cain

    o.m.g…..I love this! I’m currently obsessed with matcha too, and there is this BEAUTIFUL ceremonial tea set I’m coveting. Alas, I need to watch where my money is going more. So far I’m spending too much on food but my stomach thanks me 🙂

  • linda

    Please keep this up, I’m totally the same way haha. Retail therapy is the most expensive therapy! I also shop when I’m stressed and spend money in spurts. My saving grace is I don’t have Internet at home so no unlimited browsing. And I am responsible with my finances so I can’t justify not buying stuff

  • raluca

    This is awesome!

  • K

    I love this idea – I’m planning on a shopping ban for clothes starting shortly, but I’ve been thinking about ways to focus myself – to be more mindful about how I spend and see my own triggers. I can easily talk myself into shopping:)

  • ST

    This is me, I have a daily struggle to stop myself from buying and it’s interesting to hear someone else’s internal dialogue/reasoning to either purchase or not.
    Mine can be very emotionally related too…and then there’s the remorse of course!

  • ArianaAuburn

    Wow. It’s fascinating how you can shop and go through the trouble of returning stuff. It’s fascinating because you must get a huge dopamine kick whenever you buy something.

  • Ali @ Anything You Want

    I really like this idea! Although I admit that even allowing myself to look at things I want to buy is often too much temptation and results in unwanted purchases. I find that if I’m trying not to spend money, I’m best off removing all temptation and not allowing myself to browse stores or websites. But I do like the idea of keeping track of things you want but don’t buy. In the end, you might see how little you actually care about any of the items you almost spent money on!

  • The Asian Pear

    hahaha. This was great. 😀 I don’t really shop anymore… I just buy food. LOTS of food. O_O;;

  • Rachel

    That was very interesting! I’d love to try it out this month, and I think it would be fun to see the variety of things people spend their money on 🙂
    I just got back to school so I would hope my spending would slow down…. ><

  • Yetunde

    I love it especially thinking about how everything I walked away from is a pseudo-savings ?

  • s

    keeping a spending journal is such a good idea! i may have to try that since i’m trying to rein in my spending.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *