Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Retail Therapy

Believe it or not, I am trying to teach myself to spend money.  For those of you to which this comes naturally this may seem an odd thing--in fact, most people are trying to cut back on their spending.  Not me.  It's time I learned to drop a few bucks.  

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!


PhatNat said...

Wow, Jana! That is amazing and completly foreign to me! It sounds like you are working through that issue very well. Slow baby steps, then you'll be spending like a big girl!


LisaFisa said...

I do understand buyer's remorse; I have that all the time. In the cart, out of the cart, do I really need this now, can I wait a little longer, etc. But this is crazy that Mike is used to running errands with you! I have always taken care of stuff like that on my own in 10 1/2 years of marriage. Glad you are learning to overcome the retail wall and get some extra time with Mike in the process. "My name is Jana and I don't like spending money."

Becki said...

Shopping nauseates me. But, I have learned that if I don't do it regularly, we are suddenly out of everything from food to clothing. Baby steps are much better. My problem is I can't buy anything big so my house still looks like it did in college and I am still driving the first car I ever bought, my 1990 Jetta.