The most exciting part of a new financial plan is getting organized – paying off your debt and gaining that much needed freedom or saving up for that first big purchase you’ve been wanting to buy.
After this, however, the steam starts to wear down. Our saving becomes more automatic, something we don’t have to pay very much attention to anymore, and now we’re becoming complacent. We don’t know why we’re saving anymore. Sure, maybe we’re saving for a vacation, but we don’t have an actual vacation destination in mind. Or maybe we’re saving a car, but that’s years away.
It’s hard to say motivated when we don’t know why we’re doing something!
Being a natural spender, whenever I have money “just sitting there” – well, it tends to disappear. I’ll be in Ulta and decide I DO want to spend an extra $150 on a new, expensive skin care line that I’ve never heard of (true story). Or I’ll decide to go ahead and buy the 128 gb iPod touch that I definitely don’t need.
This is why it was so hard to settle on a bank when I was hopping around everywhere. I can’t open a checking account that has a minimum balance requirement. I can’t have money just sitting there doing nothing! My emergency fund is supposed to just sit there, but a “non-fee” fund? What is that? No. I keep just enough extra money in my checking account to get me started on the next month without stressing myself out.
And this is why: In August, I had the great idea of putting some extra money in my checking account to “hold” because…well, because I wanted to spend some of it. Lol! I had set it aside for a second vacation, but decided I didn’t want a second vacation – I would just stay at home and go shopping and do some fun stuff instead – in October.
First, I went to the American Girl store. I went in there with a very specific amount of money to spend, and I could have easily come in under budget. And I did, initially. Then I was standing in the store looking at accessories. I thought about the money in my account that was just sitting there. And I was like, “I was planning on spending some of this money in this store anyway. (True story!) What’s the difference if I buy this stuff now or in October?” And there really isn’t a difference, but THAT WASN’T THE POINT!
The point is, I went over because I had the money, and that money had “spend me” on it. It didn’t matter that it had “Spend Me in October” and it was August.
The next thing I did was in Ulta. Again, I had a very specific budget. And I was right on budget when I saw this new skin care line in the middle of nowhere in the store. It wasn’t even with the other skin care products! It was literally on an end cap between some makeup and some hair products and across the aisle from hairbrushes and headbands.
So random, right? But it’s like I was SUPPOSED to see this display! It had a halo around it, I swear. I had gone into the store to smell some perfume and browse the eye creams because sometimes I have dark circles under my eyes. I’ve tried stuff from Philosophy and Origins, and I like them all, but none of them are exactly what I need for my particular case. Then I see this stuff from Iceland – simply called “Skyn: Iceland.” With a halo. 🙂
The tagline is, “Solutions for Stressed Skin.” And I was like, “I HAS STRESSED SKIN!!” The packaging said the stuff was perfect for skin stressed by sleep deprivation, dehydration, and congestion! ALL THINGS I HAVE PROBLEMS WITH!!
And I was like, WOW, because I was just looking it up on my phone to see if there was anything else I could consider in the store before I left and made my final decision on my purchases. And the article I was reading said that dehydration, congestion, allergies, and sleep deprivation were the leading causes of dark circles.
I think you probably know where I’m going with this. I stood in front of the display, and I was like, “Well…I don’t need all of that money for October!”
So…Ulta is now on my list of stores that I can’t visit without an accountability buddy or gift card anymore. Lol! (Along with Hancocks Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, JoAnn’s, Michael’s, Best Buy, Hastings, and Sephora.) >.<
I’m super happy, and the stuff is great! That said: I could have gotten ONE kit to try and put something else back and stayed on budget. It’s not like I couldn’t go back and pick up more stuff later. I hadn’t even tried the brand yet! And now I have less than I meant to have for October (assuming it lasts until then because it’s still in my checking account) because I forgot I also used some of that money for a writing conference and my website. >.<
Exactly the habits that got me into so much debt in the first place. At least I was using my own money and didn’t dip into my savings, right? ^_^
It made me think though. It’s okay to go into Ulta and spend $200 if I PLANNED it. Plan, save, have a ball. It’s so not okay to run around spending money like I have a money tree in my backyard. (I don’t have either: a backyard or a money tree.)
I don’t want to go back to: spend, cry, crushed under a mountain of debt.
The mistake I made is thinking it was okay to have money sitting in my checking account for no reason. As I wanted to go to the American Girl store early, I should have gone in there with cash and kept the rest of the money in savings. That way, I at least would have had the extra step of having to transfer money over into my checking account before I could spend it on other, unplanned things, and I HATE raiding my savings account, so that wouldn’t have happened. This is also why I can’t keep cash in the house. I keep wanting to spend it because it also never has a purpose. I’ve tried three times, and all three times now I’ve put it in my wallet and gone shopping.
So, this accidental experiment served it’s purpose. I am not to be trusted with money that doesn’t have name on it. I will always find something to buy.