Debt getting closer to knowing my weaknesses

So I’ve been doing really well with paying down my credit cards.  That’s not the big deal for me.  The big deal is spending like a lottery winner every time I get a little bit of extra money.  If I didn’t know better I would think I was a depression era child because I do try to stock up on things and sometimes I do buy like I am never going to have the chance again to get that item. Here are a few of the things I’ve noticed that put me off track on bad spending choices:

-I do really well for about three months.  Then I decide life is short and I don’t want to deprive myself and the Jones and the neighbors and my friends all make me want to buy things too.  I know that’s so bad and so against all we learn not to do, but it’s just something that keeps coming back to me.

-Bargains.  As in yard sales.  There was a time when I was never into yard sales. Then I had kids.  Now I go and I’ll see toys for a dollar and we don’t need any more toys, we would never need anymore toys for the next five generations but that bargain mentality gets me every time.  I also can’t avoid a really great online sale- you know the kind you get emails about every day, well sometimes I just think wow Land’s End for that much off or Old Navy, how can I not buy a tee shirt for $5, never mind I don’t need a tee shirt and could be doing something better with $5 and from there I find like 10 other great deals and before I know it I’ve spent $100- so much for a sale.

Vacation Spending.  We took a small family vacation for several days and it is crazy what I allow myself to spend/buy on vacation.  I had a budget and I planned the money well, but we decided to do an old time photo with my best friend and her family who we went with.  We agreed to it being about $50 per family.  Well then they take kids shots, and family shots, and group shots and I left spending $100 on 4 pictures.  Yes I know crazy, but when you are on vacation you think I need to save this memory forever.  This year for the first time I did not come home with any other momentos of the trip, first time ever that I saved money on toys, magnets, mugs, t shirts, etc.

The grocery store is by far the place I spend the most money.  We live in an area with about 5 really good stores.  Now each store has a speciality so sometimes I’ll go and think let me run in and get some fish and $60 later we a few bags of non-essential food items I come back out.  When I food shop I food shop for the long haul.  My husband calls me a pantry hoarder, because we always have enough, not tons but more than we would need on a weekly basis.  I think I developed this habit when I lived abroad.  You never knew when your favorite cereal or other item would re-appear in the store so you stocked up when you found it.  I mean I spend way too much money on groceries and the snacking habits of our family would be proof of that.  I just go into a store and I think oh what if we run out of snacks before my next big shopping trip next week and the rational me, should think well most of these stores are open 24/7 or there’s always tomorrow, but selfish me thinks buy it now and you won’t have to make another trip back. 

I think I feel the need to buy more stuff when I have extra money because I always have this awful fear that I won’t have money and then what? I guess I try to prepare.  We weren’t rich growing up so I guess maybe that’s where my money scarcity issue comes from. I also feel like I need stuff like I need to prove myself to others or prove to myself that we can buy things.  It’s all kind of silly if you think about it.  But I guess when you get in habits and things are ingrained it’s hard to break free, but I am recognizing the patterns, and that’s a step to change.


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