Saturday, October 2, 2010

Frugal to a Fault

Hello. My name is Stacey.  I am a tightwad frugal woman.  And I need help.  Here is my story.

Ever since I can remember, I have hated spending money.  Truly.  I hate it.  As a child, I was racked with guilt over purchase of new clothes, esp if they didn't come from the sale rack.   As a child once I purchased an item, it received great care.  And little use.  If I used it, then I wouldn't have it later.  Then I would have to buy it again (spend money).  As I grew older, I would love to say that things changed.  But alas no.  (My parents might disagree with that last statement, esp in college, but they would admit that I hate spending money).

When David and I married, I kept costs to a bare minimum.  As newlyweds, as a sweet gesture, he gave me some cash, equal to the amount of money he had spent on hunting that year.  I kept it for at least a year before I started spending it and I believe it took me almost two years to go through it.  The amount- $400.
To this day, he still brings that up when I start balking about spending money.

When shopping, I always go to the sale rack.  I hardly ever pay full price for anything.  Wise, you might say.  But, then when I do decide on an item, I hem, I haw, I stew.  About 80% of the time it goes back on the rack (or I will take it back to the store).  I can talk myself out of buying just about anything.

My 'come-to-Jesus' moment about this issue (and how I had taken it too far) came one day while fixing three hungry children their lunch.  I had specially parceled out chicken nuggets for each child, along with a fruit or veggie, etc.  Plenty of food.  They asked for more chicken nuggets.  My inner self (and somewhat my outer self) went "Why, of course not.  If you eat more then I will have to get more.  Therefore spending more money."   At this point, I realized that this was ridiculous.  Now, understand I am against just giving my children whatever, whenever they want.  But, I realized I was hoarding rationing their food for my silly issue with spending money.  I realized that I had done the same thing with other foods.  It was there, but if they had eaten it, I would have had to buy more.  (yes, poor rationale, because then I would have to throw it out because it would have gone bad).  See, this is real issue, people!

That is what makes my post about retail therapy so unusual for me.  I spent money.  Without a set purpose (okay, some of it was for a good purpose).  And I enjoyed it.  And I am restraining myself from taking it back. (yes, really)

So, what changes have I made to overcome this issue?  And by overcome, I don't mean a blank check to spend however I want.  I mean, what do I need to do to become a good steward of God's blessings, without making it another sin issue by worrying and fretting over it?

First, God blessed me with a Godly husband who has done a great job of helping me think through how much time and energy I used trying to save a buck.  In times, when I know it is prudent to do such-and-such, I think, if Davd were here, what would he tell me?  I try to catch myself and turn my thoughts around when they become filled with thoughts of guilt.  I tell myself because I pinched here on this, it is okay to spend on that.  Making choices.  Ugggh. Which I hate.  But I try and turn it over to the One who gave it to me.

In our house it has become an area of laughter, though.  It is pretty funny when you think about it.  As I look back on things I have done without-some justifiable, some not so much.   Take for example the spatula mentioned in retail therapy.  I could so certainly have justified getting all these little toothpicks, and other cleaning supplies and started scrubbing away at my old moldy spatula.  That is my natural bent.  But out of love for my family, I sacrificed my desire and bought a new one.  Sigh.  I still have buyers remorse over my new spatula.  Should I have bought the cheaper set (you know the two piece kind that would have gotten all moldy again)?  Of course, they were out of those at Target.  So all I was left with was the $5 one.  One piece.  Purple (oh, so cute).  Heavy enough to whip some backsides into shape too.  (hee, hee, I have had fun threatening my offspring with this one!) 

But the ultimate question....Could I have gotten it cheaper at Walmart?   Oh, the pressure.

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