I don't think I went into too much detail on this in previous posts, but for the next few months, I've put myself into a discretionary spending timeout. The only thing I can spend money on out of "real money" are groceries, and replacement of household essentials (mostly cleaning supplies, etc).
I mention "real money" because I left myself a small loophole so I don't feel like I am completely depriving myself of the shopping dopamine hit haha. Any store credits (ie, returns that could not be given as a refund, and can only be spent at that store) can be used for "fun" spending. My cousin and I joke all the time that it's not like spending real money, because in my opinion, I've already spent it. She disagrees lol.
I'm currently waiting on a bunch of returns from Amazon to be processed. All but one have been dropped at the UPS Store, but I think they're majorly backed up. Usually when I do an Amazon return this way, by the end of the day, I've gotten an email confirming receipt of the return, and the refund is processed. I dropped some returns off last week, and they have not been processed yet. Dropped three more off today, so not sure what to expect timing wise. I have one more to drop off, but I am going to drop that one off at Kohl's to see if that happens faster.
Of those returns, 3 were Christmas gifts that I ended up deciding against. Those will be credited to my Amazon account as a gift card balance. This should be somewhere around $95....based on the rules I've set for myself, I get to spend this on whatever I want, not just necessities. There were a few things on my Amazon wish list that I did not get for Christmas, so I'll have to decide what of those I want. Two of the returns were purchased with my credit card, so the refund will just go back to it, and I don't get to play with those funds lol. And finally, one was something I purchased for my mother. I transferred the money for that purchase from her bank account to mine to reimburse myself. So once I get the refund, I'll transfer it back to her, as the correct item has already been purchased.
I'm playing with the idea of giving myself a small "play money" allowance every paycheck in a few months once I've caught up a little more. I've seen a lot of people do this via these blogs and have always been intrigued. Not sure what amount is appropriate - it'll depend on how much is leftover after all budget line items are satisfied. But I do think that it would help with my impulsive spending. If I set boundaries that I can buy things for myself, but it has to come out of this bucket of money - if I want something more expensive that can't be funded from one month's allowance, then I need to save up for it. Obviously much larger purchases would have to be considered separately, but I can't think of anything that would meet that defnition that I want soon, so I can hold off on figuring that out for now.