I'm on a diet. No, not a food diet, a financial diet.
I'm that person who goes in to Costco to buy milk, orange juice, paper towels and chicken breasts and ends up spending $250 and then wonders where our discretionary money goes each month.
Oh, yes, I can sanely justify it all: I needed that photo paper ($30), oh, and of course scissors ($10 for four pairs - what a deal!) to cut the photo paper into the necessary frame sizes. The truffle cheesecakes ($15 each) - freshly made in NJ and only available this weekend! - were to die for and I needed a dessert that day and another would be perfect for when I host Christmas dinner. And the pajamas for the kids (3 @ $9 each) - it is getting cold and won't they be so cozy in fleece? The 2-pack umbrellas (3 @ $20 each) will make great Christmas presents for my parents and in-laws (plus a set for us). The bound collection of Pixar stories will be a perfect accompaniment to the DVD box set the kids are receiving from their grandparents for Christmas. And finally, the fall arrangement ($12) of pumpkins and gourds will look lovely on my mother-in-law's table.
The problem? I do this every single time I am in Costco. Or Target. Or shopping online (how convenient that the Gap company now allows you to shop from Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piper Lime all in one spot!). I have my credit card memorized from so many online purchases. Yes, the three-digit security code, too.
Maybe I don't need a diet as much as I need a 12-step program.
As you can probably tell, I am the spender in the family. D's spending is guided by two questions: "Do I need it?" and "Do I need it now?" I think the last thing he purchased was a hammer. While we represent the two extremes, his is definitely the wiser method.
That last trip to Costco was the wakeup call for me. When I couldn't even remember all of the items on which I'd spent our hard earned monday, I realized something had to change. This had to stop and it was going to take more that me "trying" to really change my spending habits. So, I have made a pledge not to shop for the rest of the month. No Costco, no Target, no online purchases. I'm not even going to the grocery store. Obviously this puts the burden of providing sustinance and supplies on D., but he's happy to go along with the plan (provided I give him detailed lists).
After three days, it's actually been harder than I thought. The online temptations are powerful and enhanced by all of the promotions retailers are sending out in light of the current economic situation. But it's been a good challenge so far and will hopefully only get better. I'll check back in at the end of the month to let you know how it goes. Wish me luck.