Are You Addicted to Saving Money on the Things You Buy?
Do you get a thrill from a great bargain or when a fantastic freebie is finagled? Getting stuff you want and need for less is the best, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but that buzz went into overdrive during the holiday season what with all of the events to prepare for and presents to buy. What I love most about bargain shopping is being able to spend money while still putting it away towards savings goals. It’s a super weird balance that has been working for me and Brad.
But then January 1st rolled around and it all came to a screeching halt. The Christmas and New Year’s celebrations are over. There are no birthdays, anniversaries, or special events coming up. There’s nothing that we really want or need, and there’s no bargain right now compelling enough to make us consider buying anything. After a season of spending it’s a welcome change! We should be ecstatic, right? Why then are we not?
The answer hit me when Brad told me he wanted to buy something from Amazon and when I asked what he replied, “I don’t know. Something.” I looked at him and said. “We’re jonesing!” I realized, I’m not addicted to saving. I’ve become addicted to spending!
You Don’t Have to Go into Debt to be Addicted to Spending
It doesn’t matter that we don’t shop till we drop.
It doesn’t matter that our credit cards aren’t maxed out or that we pay in full every month.
It doesn’t matter that we are still saving money.
What does matter is that we’re thirsty and have an urge to buy something when there’s no need, and feel sad when we don’t.
How about You? Could You be a Spending Addict Posing as a Saver?
You may not be a compulsive shopper. Maybe your urge to buy something isn’t even close to what I’ve described about myself. That is awesome. I only have one more question, then. When is the last time you went a week without buying something you didn’t need? I’m not talking about necessities like grocery shopping for the week or buying gas for the work commute. I’m talking about picking up things here and there that you don’t actually need. If it’s been awhile perhaps you have a taste for spending that you’re not aware of and could benefit from a spending detox.
Purge the Urge
Brad and I are going to do a spending detox for a week to get the taste of spending out of our mouths! You’re invited. Here’s the plan:
Preparation: We’re setting ourselves up for success. Having a spend nothing week feels like it should be simple and take no preparation, but actually it does. We had to figure out and agree on what counted as necessities. Plus, it makes no sense to try to do this when you have upcoming events and activities where you know money will be spent.
Go 7 Days Without Buying Anything: Outside of paying bills, gas for the car for work, and ONE grocery shopping trip for the week, we will not purchase ANYTHING. No buying that thing that originally cost $49.99 that is only $0.53 after wheeling and dealing (oh…that is going to hurt!). No weekly latte because you deserve it (and you do). No stocking up on stuff you really do use and need like toothpaste even though they’ll only cost $0.19 each after rebate. Nothing. For a week. Because it’s not about how little is spent. It’s about the desire to spend. Purge the urge.
Freebies are Allowed. Gift Cards are Not: We will not use any gift cards or rewards points to buy anything this week because that’d still be spending money. The one exception is if something is 100% completely free.
Plan for the Shaky Moments: “It’s not splurging. We use it all the time. We should stock up at this price because it’ll save us money!” “I can buy this. It’s only twenty-three cents!” I suspect the week will be filled with these thoughts. I’ll remind myself that the deal will come again and that there will always be something to replace it. The reality is there’s not one deal that I’ve missed that was so good I still think about it.
So there you have it. I’m putting it out there that we’re pushing the spending reset button to hold ourselves accountable. Our week of
the long winter freeing ourselves from the shackles of spending starts on Monday – because I want to go to the movies this weekend to see “Sing,” the animated movie – with a gift card of course.
Who’ll join me in the spending detox? Let me know in the comments! I’ll be updating with our progress there too. Here’s to detox success!