Today I went windowshopping for black socks at Target. I knew I couldn't possibly buy any, but I only own seven black socks (not seven pairs) and I thought it would help me feel less deprived all the time if I didn't have to wear white socks with my black shoes (my only shoes) on the days I don't go to the office (a measure I undertake to save laundry money).
It made me wonder, though, when I had last purchased an actual object for myself. I thought maybe it was just a feeling, rather than a fact, that all the money flowing through my accounts ends up going to rent, food, and medical expenses.
Well. It wasn't just a feeling.
Going through my statements, my most recent purchase of actual, physical objects was on December 19, when I bought an awful lot of books-- as Christmas presents.
Before that, I made a charitable donation on December 10. (Not an object, but a discretionary purchase that surprised and pleased me a little.)
Before that was another gift, on November 27.
And before that was the most recent object I have purchased purely for myself: a T-shirt, on November 25. So I've gone three and a half months (and counting!) since I have purchased for myself any goods or services whatsoever.
I know I'm still in a pretty good place, financially, because I'm making a living doing pleasant white-collar work that is even somewhat stable (since one of my contracts is basically a permanent part-time job), and I haven't outright missed a bill payment yet. But every month involves some crossed fingers, and this month I only paid half my minimum loan payment on time; I didn't get the last $100 til several days after it was due. Especially given how wealthy my family was growing up, it's hard for me to get used to, and days like today-- when I finally broke down and bought groceries again-- are really tough.
It's tempting to start feeling angry with my parents, for kicking me out and making me have to live like this, but it's not really their fault. This is the choice I made: to be in control of my own life, even if it's a much harder road to walk.
So instead of being depressed and feeling deprived, I'm going to focus on the fact that I'm doing such a good job at adjusting my spending habits. I'm living within my means.