Money Saving Monday: Scratching the Itch
As often seems the case, Money Saving Monday is about spending, which is not precisely saving.
This probably happens because I am a reformed spender. Mostly. Once upon a time, I really enjoyed putting down the plastic with reckless abandon. If I’m going to be perfectly honest, in some small way, I still do.
That’s right. At long last, she is mine. I bought the Cuppow. At $7.99, plus shipping, this hardly counts as a major purchase. Still, one I’ve been long anticipating. One I am currently enjoying with a hot caffeinated beverage. Another picture, for good measure.
This week, after paying off my car note and refinancing my mortgage, I freed up a bunch of income, and found myself with a spending itch. Maybe its a result of building out the Dogs or Dollars Pinterest Empire. Mooning over all that ‘stuff’, projects to do, perfect baubles for this and that, it can work up a serious case of the ‘gimmies’ if you let it. Or Maybe it’s on the heels of paying a large tax bill, and then cracking open the vault for closing costs and debt repayment and other things decidedly un-fun.
Whatever it is I’ve been scratching that itch. Just a little.
I could run down to the mall or spend a day downtown ala Pretty Woman. Bags swinging, sunglasses, self satisfied smirk on my face.
Thankfully, I don’t enjoy it that much. There would be no self-satisfied smirk. Rather, an internal calculation of tradeoffs. Where this money is coming from, how it will effect my savings goals for the month. Exhausting. No thanks.
Instead over the last couple weeks, I’ve attended a church rummage sale, where I scored a First Edition Copy of Watership Down for $1.50, a substantial addition to my stash of canning jars, and a new owl friend for a few more dollars.
I headed down to our local nursery, coupon in hand, and populated my new kitchen herb garden for $25. Granted some of that was a previous sale purchase, and a couple items were donated by a moving friend.
You may have noticed. Spending seems to happen in fits and starts for me. I’ve written about my Sprees before. (My pictures weren’t nearly as good then, if I do say so myself.) When I feel like spending money though, no single purchase will suffice.
It’s a powerful feeling. Buying the stuff you want. Just because. It demonstrates (however erroneously) that your needs are taken care of. That you can afford your wants. Even if that’s not the case, that act of spending is somehow communicating it to others. Telling the world, you are successful. You make enough money. You’ve kept up with those Joneses.
Most people do this with with big screen TVs, McMansions, fancy cars, all perched on a mountain of debt. At one point it time, I was well on my way up that particular hill, making big purchases and decisions with no idea how to pay for them. Only because I ‘deserved it’, and at least for a moment, it felt good. Successful. Yes, that word again. Grown up.
Speaking of grown up, lucky me, I out grew that propensity. Before things were too bad. My first look at five figure credit card debt was enough to scare me straight. That itch still strikes. Obviously. I am hardly a monk. I buy more Fiestaware than I should. I buy Flamingos and Yetis. Maybe I scratch a little to often. But I work with it. I resist. I fine tune and I evolve. Instead of stumbling into a kitchen remodel (true story), I wait for that Fiestaware sale. I thrift with my friends. I save my pennies, and my dollars. I plot and I plan and I wait three months to make an $8 purchase. The itch is there. But, it doesn’t own me. My purchases are still enjoyable, more calculated, and less about communicating my status in the human race. Because that’s just silly when you think about it.
Although, I may have already moved on to the reCAP.