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10/27/2014

When the temptation bug bites...

I'm taking a break from talking about student loans and finances this week to share with everyone about my struggles lately.  I'm hitting "that" point in this competition when I'm beginning to wane in my motivation.  I think I've been very, very good about curbing my spending habits and trying to live on a strict budget.  But, there usually comes a breaking point and I hit it this week.  

It started when I went out to get a gift for a friend.  While shopping at TJ Maxx, my love for boots began to pull me from my primary purpose (buying something for someone else) to "just looking" for items for me.  I was able to leave without making a purchase for myself, but all week long I fought the temptation to return for a pair of boots I had found.  A few days later, I was out to dinner with some girlfriends, and they convinced me that $50 was not going to end the competition for me, plus I "had earned it" for not having bought any clothing or shoes since June.  I was an easy sell.  That evening, I returned to TJ Maxx to buy the boots I had wanted.  However, once I had them in hand, two other items caught my eye: a jacket and a top.  The temptation bug was biting hard.  Ultimately, I decided to play the spending "trick" my parents used to use on us when we wanted multiple items: "Ok, Katie, I'm allowing you to spend $50 on something new and that's all you're allowed  What do you want more? The boots or the jacket and top?"  And so I bought the jacket and top.  I figure I can wear my current boots for a while long and, while they probably won't last the entire winter, they'll at least last a few more months (whereas I don't know if I'd ever come across a similar jacket and top).

Lessons Learned: 

1.  Sometimes you need to reward yourself to encourage motivation.  This is something I always tell my students about studying: don't be afraid to take a break and give yourself a little bit of a reward.

2.  Beware of letting the "reward" mentality get the best of you.  It's easy to say, "oh, I deserve this" and rationalize away a purchase.  But, if we say this to ourselves all the time, it can really be damaging to our spending habits.  And, let's be honest, we really don't ever "deserve" something; this is a "first-world" mentality that we've convinced ourselves of to rationalize our culture's obsession with materialism.

3.  When you decide to splurge, set a limit and stay within that limit.  Just like above, it can be easy to rationalize away an over-budget purchase.  But, if we do that too often, a lot of over-budget purchases put us back into debt or break the good habits we've established.

Comments

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We splurged on a Halloween set of inflatables - our budget was $30. Troy TRIED to talk me into spending $35 BUT it was outside of our prior agreed to $30! So in the end, I "won"...with logic. The "we discussed this and agreed to $30..I realize you only want to spend $5 more than the budget but that only leads us down that slipper slope we went down before..." Hooray for us for having that very adult conversation (in the middle of Mendards...)!

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