Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Fear of Spending

There are definitely days when I am forced to wonder, "How on earth did I get ever get so blessed with the fear of spending?" WHY ME?????

My childhood was very blessed. I certainly don't think that I was spoiled, but my parents definitely met my needs. They were typical middle class parents, and did their best to ensure that I had a happy childhood. I didn't get everything I wanted, but I had plenty. My father worked hard, and my mother kept busy being a wonderful stay at home wife and mother. We lived on a farm, so there was plenty of work. My bother and I did not receive an allowance for our chores, but we were rewarded with many "yes" answers when we wanted something.

I didn't know it at the time, but my parents were thrifty. They were careful, and had no debt outside a small mortgage loan, which they paid off quickly. They saved money before buying anything. They only used credit for emergencies, and had it paid off by the time the bill hit the mailbox. Being a typical kid I wasn't aware of the whole money balancing act that families must endure. I just knew that there was never stress over money in our home. My parents encouraged me to save my babysitting and summer job money for college, and so I did. It was a simple as that.

It wasn't until I went away to college that I noticed that this wasn't true in most families. As I made new friends and we discussed the bigger things in life, I realized that a majority of people live in debt. This was a foreign concept to me. When all my friends were struggling to get by, I was carefully doling out the money I saved. It didn't feel stressful to me...it was natural. It was at this time in my life when I realized that I was a natural saver. It came so easy for me to just do with little, and/or save for something I really wanted.

I recall quite vividly a trip to the grocery store in the early fall of my sophomore year. My three roommates proceeded to walk around the store and blindly place items in their baskets. I had previously perused the sale ad, and had a list. I only got the things on my list and I even used a few coupons. I took quite a teasing that day, but a week later when I was still eating on my $25 of food and my roommates needed to go back for more, I smiled. Being thrifty fit me...and it still does.

Here I am 13 years later, and I am still one of the most thrifty people I know. Currently we have ZERO debt. I have been blessed with a good job, and my husband has a very difficult, but good paying job. Through out our nearly 11 year marriage we have never acquired credit card debt, nor car payments. We bought used cars, and worked our way up to our first new vehicle last year. We take great pride in knowing that we made good decisions, and paid off our house a few years ago. Some might be thinking that we must make an awful lot of money. Don't get me wrong, we do well, but I also know several people that have similar incomes and are in so much debt they can't see straight. In fact I get angry when people just assume that I am LUCKY. Granted, I am fortunate, but I also know that my spending habits have certainly helped get me where I am today.

I have gone without.....not the basic needs, but I have gone without things that I wanted. I am simple. I am easily pleased. I do not NEED what many others find necessary. Of all my friends, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I spend the least amount of money on myself or my daughter. I know this.

So where is the problem? You may be thinking, "Whatever.....just pin a rose on her nose!" The point of this post is not to brag about my financial status. Nor am I trying to say that my way of spending is the way to go. I just needed you to see where I have come from, so that you may understand where I am now. Though I embrace my everyday thriftiness, I honestly feel that I have developed a fear of spending. I second guess most purchases that go beyond the basic needs. If it costs more than $20 I practically need to sleep on it. It is rare, rare, rare for me to buy a single thing that isn't reduced in price. A perfect example is the fact that our 11 year old waffle iron failed on us this past weekend. I am currently on the hunt for the best deal ever for a new one. It would make me feel so guilty to just simply go to the store and buy a new one without making sure there wasn't a better deal out there. Waffles are a luxury...right? I mean we don't have a basic right to waffles.

Seriously, this can get annoying, especially when it comes to big purchases. I have been coveting a Digital SLR camera for nearly 6 months. I want one so very badly. Can I afford one? YES! Funny thing is.....that isn't EVER the question I ask myself. Usually it is, "Do I need one?" or "Do I deserve one?" and most importantly, "Can I find a good deal?" argh............this is where I step all over myself with questions, anxiety, and doubt. Just when I convince myself to just buy the silly thing...I start losing sleep, and feel ill. WHY ME? Why is it that most people in this world could just slap down the old credit card and snap that camera up and never think a thing about it? Yet I can hardly stomach the idea of making the purchase without losing hours and hours of sleep, and several layers of my bottom lip as I bite at it while scouring the Internet for the BEST DEAL EVER on the darn thing? ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH

So here I sit wondering, "Is there a Camera buying season? Will it go on sale after the summer? Do I really need it?" Seriously.....I need help. Who else on earth can easily afford something, but talk themselves out of it because a stupid fear of spending? The funniest part is that I will spend weeks worrying about this only to have my husband come home one day with a new $1000 Remote Control Helicopter to match the other one or two he already has.......Good Grief.

8 Live It or Love It:

Nikkie said...

Oh Corey, I can see how having a fear of spending can be a bad thing! I will say this....you NEED and DESERVE that SLR camera!!

Lauren said...

Oh Corey Corey Corey... You write so well. Very entertaining, lol! I loved hearing about why you are the way you are. I think it's great that you are thrifty. I wish I was more like you in that way. Way to go!!! I am very impressed that your house is payed off. Wow! That is awesome. I agree with Nikkie, you deserve that camera. Think of all the wonderful, fantastic pictures you could take of Kenna girl!:-)

Amanda said...

Oh my dear Corey... you are so fortunate to have developed the habits that make you who you are...
You don't *need* that camera... it is the photographer, not the camera, that makes the awesome pictures. Your photos are beautiful because of what you see from behind the lens and how you make it appear on the screen and/or paper.
I'd rather you not buy the camera and not stress over the purchase than have you worry that you made the right decision..
XOXOX

Megan said...

Corey, I know you well enough to know this isn't something you take lightly, so I am not going to tease you about it (like I usually do). You are a deeply introspective and thoughtful woman. I want you to think about this -- at the end of your life, as you know your time on this planet is coming to an end, do you think you will be looking back and saying, "Dadgummit! I could have gotten such a better deal on that waffle iron!"

Would you rather maybe be thinking about the Saturday mornings you and Kenna made waffles together?

At the end of your life, wouldn't you rather be flipping through photo albums filled with amazing pictures that you - a VERY talented photographer - captured with an camera that is worthy of your skills?

Believe me, I identify with the fear of spending - especially the big bucks. But you know, we only have just so many days on this planet. If spending a little money here and there helps enrich the days you have, isn't it worth it?

Of course, I am NOT saying that spending money buys happiness. You are not that kind of person, so that's not even the point. My point is you know how to manage money and you will teach Makenna how to manage her money as she gets older. But you can also show her that well-managed money gives you the freedom to enjoy some of the nice things life has to offer.

Well, now i am just blathering on. But those are some things to think about.

Love you!

Jordan said...

Corey, I feel the same way. (We got a good deal on our camera at BeachCamera.com, btw.) I can't buy hardly anything for myself, even if I really want it.

Do we need therapy? Like, actual "shopping therapy"? ;)

Corey said...

Thank you all for your kind words of support. The funny thing is, Amanda that it literally is a catch 22. If I don't buy it, I will worry that I let a silly fear hold me back! argh...
Thank you again for your time. I will be buying this darn thing. I just need time to come to peace with it...oh and find a good deal! LOL
oh on another note, I looked at waffle irons today and just couldn't do it. They weren't on sale.
Oh how I need Therapy!

Ingrid said...

Corey, I admire you. To have your house paid off already, to not let yourself be consumed by the shopaholic/spendaholic tendencies that sway so many of us sometimes is a good thing.
That being said, you are worthy of a splurge. The camera is something that will make you happy. It is something you will put to good use. It is not an extravagant, vapid purchase. On the contrary, it is a good investment. I hope you find the courage to get it. And I would love to see the pics you take with it.

Mandy said...

I totally understand. We are super thrifty here. Especially with five wee ones! I went through the same exact debate for a year. I passed by the SLR cameras, never wanting to make the purchase. I was happy with my Canon Point and Click. But I knew that I could do so much more with an SLR camera. I sucked it up and brought one. After all, the children are only young once. Why not get an amazing camera to record it? I LOVE my SLR camera. The picture quality is so much better. While I stressed for a bit because of the money spent, I am now confident with the purchase after seeing everything I can do. Looking at my scrapbook pictures with amazing quality memories seals the deal. Memories are far worth the money! They grow too fast!

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