Growing up, we didn’t have Black Friday here in Canada. It just wouldn’t make sense; our Thanksgiving is in October. However I’ve noticed a weird phenomenon happen in the past 5 years or so; along with all other symbols of unabashed capitalism (like Wal-Mart and Costco), Black Friday has trickled its way north of the border.
In the past, we would don our lumberjack shirts, sit next to our pet moose and swig maple syrup while watching the Black Friday stampedes that were going on in the US. Ok, perhaps everything but the moose – the point I’m trying to make is that this sales apocalypse was once uniquely American; ergo, non-Canadian. We had Boxing Day and that was that. So I find it bizarre that we don’t even have a major holiday preceding Black Friday but we’ve taken it on and made it our own.
I put in a lot of effort to make sure my pup is well-behaved, and I’m always looking for ways to stimulate and train the little guy so he’s mentally occupied and happy. Now that he has the basic commands down I want to teach him some more advanced tricks, so I’ve been reading a lot of great books on dog behavior and training. The most persistent message in every book is rewarding good behavior, and never punishing the pup when he doesn’t get it right. Every few paragraphs, I’m reminded to give my little furball lots of praise for his efforts and recognize all the hard work he’s putting in. Mistakes should be corrected, but effort should never go unnoticed, as he shouldn’t ever have negative associations with the positive end goal in mind. It all makes perfect sense to me.
Although there’s a big difference between a poodle and a person (however, there’s a lot more similarities than meets the eye!) all the reward and praise talk got me thinking about the goals I’m working towards and how hard on myself I can be. No, I can’t go give myself a treat every time I refrain from spending (although I wouldn’t mind a cheese-based rewards system!) but I can be really hard on myself for my failures and have completely overlooked the positive behaviours I’m already exhibiting. It’s no surprise that I’ve had many failed shopping bans in the past and have made negative associations with my ability to move from Spender to Saver.
There’s a funny thing about being told you can’t do something. It generally means that even if there was no prior desire to do aforementioned banned thing, you really want to do said thing now. Ain’t nobody gonna tell me what I can and can’t do! Except, uh, being told no/stop/don’t in many scenarios is perfectly valid and should be abided by. Especially when the person saying it is yourself, the thing in question is spending, and the reason is because it’s for your own good.
Since starting my shopping ban on October 24th, I want to spend ALL THE MONEY. Even with the woeful spending I had to do with my last minute move (for the moving truck, key deposits, mail forwarding, buying pizza and beer for the friends who helped) I still have a desire to spend some dough on fun stuff instead of lying low and licking my wounds.
Here is where many a “how not to shop” article or blog post would proceed with a point form list including the following: don’t step foot in the mall, don’t go on your favourite shopping site, block retailers from your email list, etc. To be honest, I feel like every one of these lists looks identical, leaving me both uninspired and unequipped to handle the very strong pangs of temptation. Yes, the basics should be mastered, but these are grade school building blocks and I’m trying to wrap my head around calculus.
My Shopping Ban was going great….for a whole 3 days. No, I haven’t pulled my credit cards out of the freezer and thawed the ice block they’re in (yes, I do that) and gone on off on a shopping spree followed by an impromptu flight to Vegas (yes, I’ve *unfortunately* done that) but I have had unexpected – yet necessary – expenses I couldn’t have ever predicted. In less than a week, my landlords told me they’re selling the place, scrambled to find a new one, and moved out 4 days later. It’s as bad as it sounds.
I won’t get into the whole kit and caboodle of the saga with my landlords and their pushy real estate agent; I get a headache at the thought of it and I trust you will too. However I will note this little birdie brushed up on her tenant rights real quick and gave them a list of serious grievances I could report (from no Notice of Leave, to not giving me 60 days, to never giving us 24-hour notice before entering into my apartment for showings) so we worked out a little deal. If I move out by November 1st (this was October 28th, mind you) not only would I not need to pay for November – which is a given anyways – but they’ll give me my last month’s rent back. Seeing Toronto rents (including mine) are bonkers and 2 months’ worth of rent is a pretty penny, I got to packing!