Friday, April 30, 2010

Curbing the Binge Shopping

I think of myself as a binge shopper. Not like a TLC Reality Show Binge Shopper, but still bad enough. I create budgets but don't live off them. I see things I want and buy them, but only if they're on sale or I have a coupon or it's a really good deal. If I feel like eating out, I do.

So, here's the thing. I take a look at my husband's salary and what little I bring in with my this and that jobs and I think, "boy - we make pretty good money for this area, we should be doing pretty good". But, we're not. Well, not as good as I'd like. We're still well below the average debt for Americans, but that number is ridiculously high. I look at our banking statement online every couple days and I'm always amazed at the lengthy list of McDonald's (I like to stop for a Large Diet Coke almost every day and just whip out my Debit Card) or Dairy Queen (the weather's nice and I like to get the kids a treat) or Haggen and Fred Meyer (I don't feel like cooking and just want to pick something up) or my gigantic Costco charges (good deals - can't pass them up and I have three freezers stuffed with food. - can you say "problem"??) or all of my special "discount" stores that I like to stop at because the deals are so good and it goes on and on.

About a week ago, Alexander said to me that he didn't think I could go a week without spending money and less than two seconds later he said, "nevermind - you're a girl, of course you can't". Great!! I'm setting poor examples for my kids and perpetuating some kind of stereotype that women like to spend, spend, spend.

So...yesterday I decided to try to not spend money (aside from gas) for a few days. It's hard, really hard. I feel like a drug addict trying to keep off the crack.

Yesterday wasn't too bad. I stayed busy and before I knew it the day was done. Whew! Day 1 over.

Day 2...lots more difficult. This is how my day went, with my internal battles included:

Alexander is home from school sick. I decide to putz around in pajamas with Cameron and play and read books and go through all of his clothes to sort out what to keep/consign/ebay/etc... and go through my exercise clothes to sort out what to keep/consign.

I was supposed to have a meeting at Haggen at 12:00 to grab lunch and feed Cameron and have someone tell me some sordid city-involved story. Well - I called the gal and switched the meeting to 12:30 at Wood's Coffee. I figured I could grab lunch at home and scrounge a couple bucks to get coffee at Woods. This way I'm not using my debit card (which is the real problem). I did this and it worked.

Then, I came home to grab Cameron (Grandma Trudy was watching the boys) and I head to the school to pick up Bella and catch some of her play practice. No problem - no money to spend there. My friend showed up early and said she'd take Bella home. Great - now I can run to my couple places before heading home.

I swing by the consignment store and drop off my clothes and saw a couple really cute dresses, but NO - I don't need any more freakin' clothes right now and I walked out of the store.

Then, I swing by goodwill to drop stuff off and had to tell myself to keep on driving and not stop, even though they gave me a 30% off coupon to shop and it would be really easy to just pick up a couple things. But, NO - I've done lots of shopping lately and really don't NEED anything so I kept on driving!

Then I thought I had some extra time and it's Thursday and I should totally drive by that discount store that I love that gets new products on Thursday to see what they got in today since I ruined my navy capri workout pants with bleach before I even got to wear them. But NO - I have lots of other workout clothes and don't need to so I kept on driving.

Then, I had to get gas at Fred Meyer and I really wanted to just run in and grab something easy for dinner but NO - I have three freezers and a fridge filled with food and I can cook something on my own. Seriously, three freezers - it's ridiculous. My binge shopping extends to food too.

Then - I saw the T-Mobile store as I was filling up and my phone has been giving me trouble and maybe I should just stop in to see what they could do for me. But - NO, my phone is just fine and I need to keep moving.

Then - I started heading home and saw Cruisin' Coffee and thought that an Iced Mocha would be great today and I probably have a gift card somewhere. But - NO, I don't really need it and if I can't find a gift card then I'd have to use my debit card.

Seeeee....all those internal battles! Every moment of my afternoon I had to fight off spending money.

If this was a week ago I would've spent another $200 today on lunch, coffee, new clothes, stuff for the kids and maybe a new phone!

The battle continues tomorrow.

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