Friday, January 14, 2011
Let me count the ways...
Has it really only been eleven days since my last post? How many times have I been tempted to spend mindlessly? The morning following my post, the first visitor to my office was a co-worker knocking on my door to deliver Starbucks Cinnamon Via Coffee. Yes, I had asked her to buy them for me. Yes, it had been a week earlier. Egad! Sheepishly I shelled out $14, lamenting that in less than 24 hours, I was, already breaking my spend "fast". Nevertheless, I promptly extended myself a large dose of grace and resolved to stay focused and aim for my goal. In the ensuing days, here's some of what I've discovered:
1. I had no idea how often I mindlessly spend money on food and beverages ingested on a whim. Coffee, ice cream, frozen yogurt, a donut. My car is pulled like a magnet to a refrigerator. Last Sunday I was early for a meeting at church so I instinctively pulled into a nearby Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. I parked in front and was ready to open the door when I remembered my vow to spend intentionally vs mindlessly. Step away from the barista and no one will get hurt! Relax. I stayed in the car and drove it around the corner next to an enormous trash receptacle. Instead of sipping a nice hot Wintergarden Tea Latte, I spent the next hour purging my car of trash, organizing an overabundance of "stuff" and still got to my meeting on time, without opening my unusually fat wallet.
2. Costco is a dangerous place. I went there intending to get a refund on window treatments ordered back in December. (didn't want you to think I'd gone completely over the edge) After getting our AMEX card credited, I decided to take advantage of the great prices and pick up a few groceries- the one purchase I am allowed with minimal restriction. I soon realized how great the temptation walking past that human with a clicker would be. Jeans! ( I have three pair at home!) Olay Regenerist! (oh yeah- I said I was going to use what I already have before buying more) Books! ( oh, that's right--I'm going to read the books I already own before I add to my collection) Yes. I won this little battle. I resisted the books, all the clothing and lotions and left with ground turkey, multigrain Cheerios, eggs and bread-cheapest Costco visit ever!
3. Giving feels better than buying. I wrote a check for a young woman friend going on a missions trip this summer. I had ample money to do so because I'd made a few small changes in my spending. She was appreciative and I am blessed, knowing my small check will reap eternal rewards. I spent most of my day off last week with another young woman Mike and I love dearly and are trying to help. Giving is more than money, it's also time and attention and patience. Make no mistake,we are the real recipients of the blessing.
4. Sometimes unplanned spending is the right thing to do. Friday night I scooped up my one and only grandgirl, after leaving work and only an hour before church. There simply was NOT time to go home, prepare dinner, cajole a 2.5 year old to eat and still get her to the church on time. So- we eschewed McDonalds and went to Denny's where Ruby inhaled chocolate chip pancakes and milk while I enjoyed a Grand Slam breakfast, compete with fruit, grits and eggs. We were served promptly, ate and paid our $11 bill gladly,leaving a kind waiter a near 50% tip. My pleasure. (by the way, leftovers provided the next mornings breakfast as well)
5.If I'm not going to buy, there's no need to shop. My daughter Amanda, invited me to go with her to our favorite antique flea market on Sunday. My first response was, "Yes!" When I waffled a bit later, I reminded Amanda that I was trying to avoid spending so I had to think it over. She quickly brought me to my senses, asking "what is the point?" She was 100% correct. Why would I go if I had no intention of buying? The point for me was that I welcome any opportunity to spend time with her, but, in retrospect, I don't have enough self-control to avoid that temptation right now. Hopefully, I'll get there. For now I won't be going. Instead, I'll get to see my astute daughter tomorrow afternoon when she and Danny drop off and later pick up sweet Ruby. They're going to dinner alone and we'll enjoy Ru. Win-Win- and not a dime spent.
It's been more of a challenge than I expected, but I'm holding firm. It's all good, and I'm pressing on.