Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days to Financial Freedom, Day 5: Impulse Purchases

I am an impulse buyer.  From everything from a snack at the gas station when I only wanted to put gas in my car, to a cookie at the check-out line of the cafeteria, to a brand new couch that we can't afford, I impulse buy.  I am the reason stores have shelves by the check-out line.  Miniature bottle of hand sanitizer?  Well, aren't you just the cutest thing!  Jump on the conveyor belt!  Lighter?  What if my car breaks down and I have to light all the junk mail on the floor boards on fire?  C'mon in!  A bottle of soda for $3.00 when I could get a fountain soda 20 feet away for 1/3 the cost?  You betcha. 

To combat this, I just haven't gone shopping in over a month.  Pen does the grocery shopping, and if it's something I really need (like Avenger decorations for a Birthday party), I order online.  Sure, I have to pay $6 in shipping, but I would pay that in gas just getting there, plus I would probably spend more money at the store!

It is physically impossible for me to get out of Target without spending $200.  I can't leave Sam's Club without a year's supply of coffee creamer and tampons.  I have no self control.  My solution of not shopping altogether might sound extreme, but extreme circumstances are a cause for extreme measures. 

Three years ago I purchased a crappy couch from Ashley Furniture.  We paid $600 for a microfiber couch with a pull-out bed.  I hate that couch.  It is uncomfortable (don't tell that to the people who might be buying it), and it's only use right now is to have a place to put the folded clean clothes.  We used a portion of our tax return that year to buy it. 

Fast forward three years, and I have just graduated with my Bachelor's degree.  I received a little money from friends and family for my accomplishment, and I decide I'm going to buy a new chair, because the recliner in our living room broke.  I mean, the back came completely off.  It was a hot mess.  I begin sitting on chairs at the furniture store, then I meet J.R.  J.R. not only sells me a chair for more money than I came into the store with, but also a couch.  And not just a couch, a couch with custom fabric, which increased the price by $200. 

I cannot be trusted.  I cannot be trusted to walk into a store and behave like a mature woman, so I'm just not going to walk into any stores.  I have also unsubscribed from all the stores that send me emails so as to not be tempted by a sale that I just can't refuse.  Kohls, Target, Fashion Bug, CJ Banks . . . Gah.  I miss shopping.

I'm treating myself as if I'm an addict.  Alcoholics should not go into liquor stores.  I will not go into any stores, because I just can't be trusted.  If I do decide I have to have something, I will write it down on a piece of paper on my fridge.  If I still want it in three weeks, I will start saving for it.  Once I save for it, I will spend that money on something else that we need more, such as an extra payment on our medical bill, or putting it away for one of the Piglet's Christmas presents.  I'll begin saving again.  If it's something I still want by the time I've saved for it again, I will purchase it, with the consent of my husband.  This will be my new process of purchasing something not in our budget that will only benefit me.  I have been selfish with our finances for far too long.  I have put my children's well being, future, and home at risk with my selfish wants.  When I said that stopped at the beginning of September, I meant it.   Damn it.

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