Thursday, July 17, 2008

This month...

I fell off the wagon this month. Only a little bit. I think my hip might be a little bruised, but other than that I managed to crawl my way back on and am now strapped down and clinging for dear life.

I read somewhere recently that when you buy stuff the result is that you want to buy more stuff. It's not something I've ever really thought about. This month, however, made me realize that this is completely and totally true for me.

Most months I am content with my $50 spending money. I can throw it around however I'd like. I use coupons and sales and the like to extend this money and usually get about $60-$80 worth of items for it. What I can't buy I eagerly place on my "want" list and look forward to my next envelope of cash like a kid waiting for Christmas.

This month, however...

I had some cash laying around that was from things I had sold. I mentioned my success with ebay and craigslist last month some time, I believe. Additionally the amount was the same as what I owed myself for spending money. I figured it saved me a trip to the bank. My favorite scrapbook store was having a 40% off sale. This is a place that doesn't do coupons or have weekly specials or anything like that. Two or three times a year--usually New Year's Day and 4th of July--they open their doors and it's first-come first-buy-out-the-store. I mean, first-come, first-served. It's hard to resist.

The mental process of having cash that was not specifically withdrawn for a purpose was interesting. I didn't really treat it like I treated my usual spending money. It didn't seem so important that it last throughout the month or that I had already earmarked a certain amount for something else. I spent the entire wad. All of it. In fact, I had to run out to the car for the $5 I had stashed from a few months ago. (I keep $5-$10 hidden in my car for "just in case".)

I was gleeful as I came home. I got so much stuff! Stuff I had been wanting for ages. Stuff I had drooled over and fantasized about. Really cool stuff.

Well, I somehow convinced myself--and I am shamed to admit this--that since it wasn't money I had pulled out for my spending money that it didn't really "count" as my spending money.

I decided that since I had sold my stuff and we had enough to pay the bills last month that I should be able to spend the money on whatever I wanted. After all, I sold MY STUFF to get that money. I put the work and effort into it. I shipped the items or arranged times with buyers. Therefore that money, leftover from our needs, should be mine, right?

I asked hubby about it and he said that it should absolutely be mine. After all, I did all the work, I sold things I had owned, and therefore as long as the bills were paid and our debt and savings goals were met for the month, have fun and good job and I'm proud of you and all the things that supportive hubbies say.

Woohoo! That meant I still had fifty bucks to spend!

Part of what I purchased at the scrapbooking store were Tim Holtz's alcohol inks. I had read about them and various techniques and had yearned to try them out. The day I bought them I came home and the first thing I did was a small project to test them out. Not only are they as cool as I had read about, they completely surpassed my expectations. I am in love with them. I would probably marry them if I could. Fabulous stuff.

So, what did I do? The week following the fourth I drove back to the scrapbook store and bought all the colors they had in stock that I hadn't already grabbed on Saturday. At full price. (No big deal, actually, since their prices are lower than even what I could find online for this particular item, so I till saved about $0.60/each on them.)

Then, since I had a particular project in mine, I headed to Michael's to get the other items I "needed" for this project. And a few of them were a little more expensive than I had anticipated.

I ended up spending my $50 cash PLUS about ten dollars more.

But that's okay because I "had" to have these items to finish a project I started and isn't it more important to finish something that you start--something which had a deadline of Wednesday--than to have yet another thing sitting around waiting and...

Do you see where I'm going with this?

My stamp club met the second Friday and I was more than a little upset with myself. I have a commitment to spend $15 (plus tax and shipping) each month and in exchange I get 2-3 techniques and projects a month plus food while I'm there for free. Stamp club is one of the reasons why my artwork has improved so dramatically and it's really a sanity saver to be able to get out of the house without the kid (most months, sometimes I do bring her with like I did this month) and have some adult conversation and a project to work on at someone else's house.

But Yipes!!! I had to write a check.

So total for the month I've spent $40 more than I was allotted and I'm still having to hold myself back from running out the door. After all there are several other items that I've wanted for a really long time and don't I deserve them? And on top of that I already blew my budget so why not just really go for it and spend more money... we can technically absorb most of it and so what if we're a little short...

These are what the voices in my head are telling me.

I've had days on diets that were like this. You know what I mean; you eat one piece of chocolate more than you meant to and suddenly the whole box is gone. Plus the chips. Plus a Starbucks on your way home from errands because you might as well. It's awful!

So this post, while disjointed and a little psychotic, is my way of being accountable. It's my way of admitting what I've done and putting it out there. I don't know if this might serve as a warning post or a "you're not the only one" post, but I do hope it's somewhat helpful to someone else. Learn from my mistakes!

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