You guys. I’m quitting splurge/unnecessary spending cold turkey. I’m writing about this for you all to see so that I will be held accountable.
Why the sudden decision to change my habits? Well. Yesterday I was reading through my credit card statement, feeling like a Rebecca Bloomwood in Confessions of a Shopaholic when she painstakingly reads each item in her statement, trying to justify it all. She avoids it as long as possible because she knows it’s going to be a lot more than she should have spent.
That’s when I knew I had a problem and decided it was time to quit. Hopefully I won’t have withdrawals.
Okay so I’m exaggerating a bit, I didn’t spend that much, and my splurges weren’t on extravagant designer clothes and perfumes like Ms. Bloomwood. And my spending “problem” isn’t so far advanced that I expect to experience actual symptoms. I never spend more money than I actually have, not even close. I just hate the idea that I’m trading in cash for things I don’t need when I might need the cash more in the future, you know what I mean?
One thing that contributed to the problem was that I went on a road trip with a few friends to California. The plan was to make it as inexpensive as possible – which we did pretty well at. Except, I did buy some clothes. But it was after walking around in a mall full of stores like Versace and Saks Fifth Avenue and ending up at H&M. After looking at dresses valued at $11,000, a $15 pair of crop printed pants seems like a humble, yet necessary, investment.
This is the kind of logic that leads to unnecessary spending, I’m here to tell you. Buying something purely because it’s cheap. How does that make sense?
And yet, how many of us do it?
“These shirts are 2 for $20! A steal! I need to get some!”
I need to get some. Not because I need shirts, but because I can give them a $20 bill and get twice as many shirts that I don’t need for the same amount of money. Money that I wasn’t going to give them. If I had never seen these shirts or this sale, I would never, ever have said the words, “I need [x] kind of shirt!” and I would be $20 richer. Two of those instances avoided and I have enough to fill up my gas tank for a couple more weeks.
This is the logic that gets me every time, and I’m finally accepting it. I’m turning over a new leaf. (My dad will be rolling his eyes at this point because he’s heard me say that who knows how many times).
The other thing that’ll get you is emotional shopping. I always knew women did this, but I didn’t think I would ever be such a woman. The other day I was having a bad morning so I decided to order myself some new sandals to make myself feel better. Well, it worked, I felt much better. BUT HOW CRAZY IS THAT?! Why couldn’t I call a friend or write some great book (or at least blog post) about it? That’s where all the classic literature comes from anyway, people’s hardships. Anyway it means I definitely didn’t need these sandals (though now that I have them I’m pretty sure they’re one of the best investments I’ve made. They’re like Nike Free Runs in Sandal form. And they were marked down like a billion percent on Amazon. You could pretty much say I’m obsessed. Okay, not pretty much – I AM obsessed).
Since I’m so so so obsessed with these sandals, I think they should tide me over for a while so I can keep up with my goals to stop needless spending. Here’s my plan: stop buying food on campus (I live with my parents and have unlimited free food for crying out loud), don’t buy any clothes or shoes that are not deemed “a need” by my financial advisement panel (which doesn’t exist yet, but will soon – any volunteers?), and not buy things I didn’t know I needed until I saw them.
I’ll be letting you know how it goes, what I end up eating, how I find more ways to save on dumb stuff I shouldn’t be buying, etc. In fact I already have one success story.
So I got an Amazon gift card that I was really excited to use – I started skimming my Amazon wishlist, looking at records and shoes I wanted…and then it hit me. HELLO, I still have to buy textbooks for next term! So I used the money towards a text book that, yes, I would have needed to buy anyway. Success! Happy bank account, happy professors, happy me. The end. (Of the beginning of becoming a millionaire).