“What’s this?” My husband would ask as I was squishing my face, wondering what direction would I take this in today?
“I found the cutest sign for the girl’s bedroom. Or I hit 90% off 4th of July Clearance.”
At this point nothing mattered to my husband. Except for one thing. The dollar amount.
I don’t know how it happened. I went from spending $50 a month to $200. I know, I could have used the excuse of that’s hardly anything a month compared to others.
That’s the key. Your mindset can’t go there. In financial spending or any area of your life. Comparing takes you down a dangerous brutal path.
I started to feel guilt. The amount I was spending was purely emotional. My kids were one and three. I needed to get out. Target was a one minute drive. In fact I could walk there and some nights I would.
We were drowning in debt, and I was drowning in diapers. My Target card became my bestie. It was there for me when I was feeling lonely.
And Target clearance has never let me down.
Even if I was getting items for less than retail price, I was still spending money we didn’t have. On things we didn’t need.
When you get to this point in your spending one of two things can happen.
You can admit to overspending and realize it needs to stop.
Or you can justify why you do it and why you want to continue. And you’ll do that. Continue on with a slight inclination of guilt but not enough to cause you to do something about it.
Let’s choose number one shall we? In fact, here’s a glimpse down your financial path. I chose number one and today we are debt free and on track to pay off our mortgage in a few years! The journey is worth it and looking back, I never miss my Target card.
Here’s what to do so you don’t have withdrawals either.
You can insert any retailer that pulls you in. Your weakness may not be Target. In our small town it’s one of the few best options.
When the money is being withdrawn right away you feel it right away.
You avoid those moments with your spouse.
If you still go to Target and shop the same way you were before you’ll have a painful conversation with your spouse.
You may even drain the account.
You do not want that. Once you get the debit card limit how often you will go to Target.
If you shop at Target for groceries do the drive up and pay option. Only get what you need by adding it online and picking up at the store.
Don’t go in and browse around.
Patience Building Your Muscle
When you start anything new it takes time for the pain to go away. Think of it like working out. The first few times you go your body is hurting and you want to give in to the pain. You remind yourself you’re taking healthy steps to become stronger.
This pain is a good thing in the long run.
The same goes for your spending.
It hurts to see deals and not be able to grab them. It hurts to walk by items. It really hurts when your drowning in baby diapers and you feel like you can’t buy anything that isn’t baby/toddler related.
You do deserve things… but it’s all in due time.
Right now you need to strengthen the saving muscle.
Learn How to Reward Yourself
Once you’re to the point of entering your favorite store and pass up the deals, give yourself rewards when you meet goals.
If you aren’t sure how to get started with goal setting check out this post.
Let’s say for three months you didn’t put a single transaction on your credit card. You’ve only gone to your favorite store a handful of times and bought ONLY items you needed.
It’s caused you to stop and look at your spending at other stores. And now you have a little extra money in the budget.
Treat yourself. Give yourself a limit and go into Target and buy whatever is in your budget.
Let’s say it’s $20. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to say no to one item when you set a budget like this.
You may even satisfy that emotional spending urge with the car ride to Target and the freedom in your mind to go in and buy something you want.
This is how the process happened for me. There were days when I made a blogging goal ( usually it was income related so I had the extra money to spend) and I would head out to Target.
My music blasting so excited I could finally go to Target and buy something for me, or something that was such a good deal I couldn’t pass it up.
I would browse around and leave upset. Nothing was exciting me anymore like it used to. I would leave upset.
My thought process back in the day was like this, “I spent all that time working so hard to not overspend, stay in the budget, work extra hours on my blog, and now I can’t even FIND one thing that will make me happy.”
The truth is stuff never made me happy anyways. It won’t continue to keep you happy either.
I promise if you can start implementing these things you will appreciate stuff and your life and your budget in a while new beautiful light.