A guy I know once told me he and his wife were on a “stuff diet”, meaning they were committed to going six months without buying anything new outside of necessities–like groceries, or items to make immediate repairs to their home.  But other than that, no buying of clothing, home decor, books, cds, dvds, toys, etc.  They weren’t doing it because they were financially challenged, they were just curious to see if they could break their spending habit.  I thought it all sounded a bit depressing.

But right now, because of trying to get my stuff under control, and having no money to speak of, I am on a forced stuff diet.   And you know what?

I find it a bit depressing.

True, I don’t miss my usual post-shopping guilt.  And the areas in our home I have decluttered and organized, though they are small in size and number at this point, are staying decluttered and organized because no new stuff is coming in.   It’s making me remember and appreciate what I already have, and I’m becoming aware of stuff that I should probably get rid of, because even in desperation I still won’t reach for certain items that are taking up space.

But I miss my drug of choice.  And because I feel so prone to relapsing right now, I have been deliberately staying out of stores.  It really kills me not to shop around Valentine’s Day though, because it encompasses some of the things I love most in this world.  Flowers.  Chocolate.  Jewelry.  Champagne.  Pretty lingerie.  Sweet cards.  The color pink.  I LOVE  frilly, lacy, sparkly, romantic stuff.  And I’ve been feeling really bummed about missing all that.

But as it is often recommended when you are feeling sorry for yourself, I decided to put the focus on someone else.  Valentine’s Day was only a day away, and though Ron and I had chosen to celebrate small, I still wanted to make things special for him. Because I had a show on the evening of Valentine’s Day, we decided we would just have cake and champagne when I got home from the theatre.  We already had a nice bottle of champagne Ron had been saving, and I found two Coldstone gift cards in my purse when I cleaned it out last month, so I decided to use those to get one of our favorite ice cream cakes – for free!


Ron is an avid wine collector, and though over the years I have shopped for hours to surprise him with creative gifts, nothing makes him happier than a gift certificate or cash to spend at his favorite wine store.  So I have quit trying to surprise him and just give him money.  But I did want to make more of an effort than just stuffing a couple of bills into a Hallmark card.

I was inspired by a great DIY Valentine idea on Pinterest– a DIY Dinosaur Valentine.  I couldn’t stop smiling when I looked at the picture.  I’m not really into dinosaurs, but something about a maniacal T. Rex devouring a handful of hearts was very…me.

It would, however, require me to go to Target for supplies.   And in my current state, that made me nervous.  I was afraid I would go NUTS.  Everything seems so affordable at Target – you can justify almost any purchase.  And then you get up to the register and reel from the shock of seeing the sum total of all that “cheap” stuff you accumulated.  But luckily, the dinosaurs were in the $1 aisle, right near the checkout.  I bought two, just in case I screwed the first one up, and ran straight to the registers.   Then I got the HELL out of there.

I went to Michaels for the craft supplies I needed – gold spray paint, wooden craft hearts, and red craft paint.  My total for the dinosaurs and the craft supplies came to $9.26.  I never buy spray paint, so I was surprised at what an ordeal it was to purchase a little 3 oz. bottle – it was all under lock and key and the clerk had to check my ID and fill out all this paperwork and then I had to sign it.  Before I left the register I had an evil impulse to ask her if I could have a paper bag instead of a plastic bag so I could huff it right away in the parking lot, but figured she wouldn’t think that was funny.

Once home, I spray painted the T. Rex gold, and painted the hearts red.

I let them dry, and then got to work hot gluing the hearts into his little clawed hands, and tucked in the gift money.  I cannot express how much I love him.  He’s a Love Monster.

Love Monster


And that monster got me thinking about MY monster – my Want Monster.  And since I had an extra dinosaur, I decided to make one – my very own Want Monster..  Only this one eats money instead of hearts.



After that, I didn’t feel depressed any more.

We had a very sweet Valentine’s Day.  Ron loved his Love Monster.

But probably not as much as I love my Want Monster.  He’s going to live over my desk, as an inspiration to help me through my stuff diet.

want & love

The Want Monster Vs. the Love Monster

And thank God I am not trying to be on a food diet while I’m in the midst of this stuff diet – I think that would be more disciplined sacrifice than I could handle–because let me tell you, that Coldstone cake was DELICIOUS!