Rophone and I have been married for 13 1/2 years and, during that time, he has been the one to spend most of the money. The majority of the errand running has been done by him either on lunch hours, on the way home from work or after the kids are in bed. We also make frequent trips as a family in the evenings.
Originally, this all came about because for years we only had one car. Even in the years of 2 car ownership, however, this pattern has continued and it's all because of me. I have never been a spender. Rophone frequently uses me as his savings account (he will often give me money to put in my purse and a few weeks or months later while we're out he'll ask me if I have any money and I'll say, "Sure. I have that 3 dollars you gave me last month"). The notion of spending money on a treat, snack or other little extra is so foreign to me that money just doesn't "disappear" on me. I struggle to even pay for things that I know are needed. The ketchup or other item has made trips into the cart, back on the shelf, into the cart, back on the shelf....well, you get the picture.
It's time for a change. I don't want Rophone to have to stop on the way home from work--that just means more time away from the family. As our lives are getting busier, going everywhere as a family in the evenings or on Saturdays to get things done doesn't always work, either. I have the whole day (minus Big's nap time) with just the two boys at home in which to get things done. I just have to make myself do it. Hence, the retail therapy.
I have made great strides. Several mornings a week I make myself go out to run errands and spend money. I have been using the resale shops to get clothes for the boys (the inexpensive clothing is a great baby step for me), I go to the grocery store for food and to Target for toiletries. I even have managed to throw a few things that weren't necessities (but that I wanted) into the cart! Occasionally the freedom and lack of stress that I feel when whipping out the card shocks me!
I still struggle, though. Sometimes I hit a wall. If things are beginning to pile up in the cart, I will, at times, decide not to purchase something that we can do without for a little while longer. Just yesterday I spent $30 dollars at the grocery store in the morning (albeit not purchasing a few things on the list), but when we went out as a family in the evening to buy Pen ballet clothing for her upcoming classes, I had to have Rophone make the purchase. I definitely reach my spending limit.
I get a little freaked out by the thought that there are now two of us spending the money, but the free time it has opened up for Rophone to spend with me and the kids is well worth it!