Just Say No Just Gets Easier

In the last month, I‘ve found it easier to just say no to buying stuff I think I want.

Admit it, you have things you really like and probably find hard to resist. Whether it’s electronics, gadgets, shoes, handbags or tea cups, I’m willing to bet you know your weakness.

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’ll know I have a bad case of wanting an electric bike. I still want one, very badly. What I’ve committed to doing is continuing my research and investigate the features and the models I really like, and save the appropriate amount of money for next season. Who knows, maybe my investigation will tell me that I really want a Vespa instead, and it’s worth it to save up the extra money for that.

Over the last month I’ve noticed that my weaknesses still attract me, but I’m not bringing them home as often. Last week I found myself in a store that sells purses and shoes. At the front of the store, they had a nice collection of little leather change purses for half price. I love change purses that open and close with that old fashioned clasp. I fondled a little green one for quite some time. It was only $7 on sale. That amount of money won’t bankrupt us, right?

Well, that’s right it won’t bankrupt us. I didn’t buy it because I don’t need a new change purse. I bought one two months ago at the thrift store for .99 that works fine. No, it isn’t a green Italian leather change purse, but it’s perfectly fine. In addition, I didn’t want to come home and explain to the kids how I can justify spending $7 when nobody’s had their hair cut around here this year.

Today, I was in the thrift store. This time of the year I’m overcome with my desire to garden and just beautify the world botanically. The thrift store was selling a plastic jug from Pottery Barn for $3. I held it for a long time. I thought I could use it for a jug of water on the patio table or just to put flowers in. One thing with two purposes – how useful! In the end, I didn’t convince myself to lay down my $3. Nor did I convince myself to purchase the shallow $2 planter that I thought would look divine on my patio with plants in it.

For me, the devil is truly in these little, tiny details. I have a good paying job and a part-time job. Squandering ten bucks at the thrift store won’t change the destiny of my household in one direction or another. What it will do is derail my confidence in the good work we’ve done as a family so far. Why bring disappointment on yourself over a lousy $3 jug? There is no pleasure in that for me.

All of the devilish budget details are painstakingly detailed on my Excel spreadsheet. Because they are written down and I look at them every day, I know that there are months this year when that $10 would be very welcome. We spend more money than most families on medical expenses. These aren’t “nice to have” medical expenses, these are the things that keep people out of hospitals and keep them from getting very, very sick. Frankly, I’m thankful for the budgeting lessons those “must haves” have taught me.

Truthfully, when I budget an amount for a line item, I feel extra excited about making my choices within that budget. This month I have $50 left over for my gardening budget.  I can spend $50 on the garden in under five minutes. It’ll be a challenge to spend it wisely, and then plan what I can do with June’s gardening budget. That gives me great joy. Even more joy when the kids ask “is that in the budget” and I can honestly say “yep – it is!”

The change purse I have, that I paid .99 for remains closed for those things I think are nice to have. For the most part, I haven’t regretted leaving anything at the store. Don’t think for a minute that I’ve been totally cured of any spur-of-the-moment purchases, because I don’t think that’s true. Let’s just hope that when it happens, it’s only $3.

What motivates you to keep your change purse or wallet closed?


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Busy Mommy of 3 on May 7, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I totally hear what you are going through.

    I have one question for you to put a twist on this topic: Would you have noticed and picked up that leather wallet if it WASN’T on sale? Probably not, right? This is a challenge I have found myself facing lately. Just because it is on sale does not mean A) that it is a good deal, and B) that I really need it.

    Great job in thinking twice about those purchases, no matter how small. Cheers!


    • Good question! I actually was admiring the change purses without being tempted to want one, before I knew they were on sale. Once I realized they were half price, then I thought it was possible to have one. Stupid sale signs…they make people crazy don’t they? You’re totally right, sometimes just the four letter word SALE makes people do things they don’t really want or need to do.


  2. Good for you for resisting the temptation to buy stuff even if on sale.

    I don’t know if this qualifies as motivation or not, but my two year old daughter has asked to go to Disney this year and my husband and I agreed that we’d take her. So everyday when she talks about Mickey Mouse we are reminded that we are saving for a trip to Florida. Makes us avoid shopping unless it’s for necessities (ie. food).

    We haven’t booked anything yet because we’re waiting to have enough saved to pay for it on the spot in cash.

    Congrats on keeping the chain purse closed! It’s hard I know because everytime I see stuff on sale in the flyers I’m like “Oh nooooooo… I have to go get it because it may not go on sale again!” Then I hear “Mommy, we go see Mickey Mouse?” and then I dump the paper into the recycling bin. HA HA


    • Interesting that you mention Mickey! My kids, now 21 and almost 17, visited Disney World about 6 years ago. We had SUCH a good time, they’ve been aching to go back. Our goals is to go back and see Mickey, maybe end of 2011 or early 2012. Like you, we’ll make sure the money is in hand before we make any bookings.

      When you have a clear goal of what you want, whether it’s being able to say “I have no debt” or “we’re planning a vacation”, it’s easy to make a choice. Do I want stuff, or do I want to create new memories with my girls? Not a difficult decision, is it?


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