Tis the Season
July 9, 2006
The Women in Red of MSN recently had a discussion about their frustrations with maintaining a budget that would allow them to accomplish the financial goals they set for themselves (ie: get out of debt, save for emergencies, retirement, etc.) while their friends lived a totally different lifestyle. At first I thought, “that sucks, I’m glad that’s not how it is with my friends who are still, though post-college, not spending much more than they did when they were college students.” Plus, after paying our first auto insurance premium (nearly $1000!!) I’d resolved to spend absolutely no more money between now and the end of the month. In fact, I’d *sigh* virtuously decided, I was going to return the great deals I’d bought at Macy’s because even after the extra 15% off, it still added up to $60 for a tank top and a blazer. A very very nice blazer that actually FIT, but wasn’t easily matched, so, ta-ta blazer! But today I discovered that, boy, it’s all too easy to get sucked right into careless, and thoughtless, buying when you’re just hanging out with friends.
I’m normally safe with these two friends as we worked together, whined together (about our pathetic paychecks), and budgeted together but today was just temptation after temptation! Denny’s was the easiest part of the day. We met up at Denny’s for a very lowkey meal and chat session.
Then we headed to Target – which is SUCH a no-fly zone when you’re on a spending diet – and barely managed to escape there unscathed. Well, Married friend and hubby were supposed to keep it to $60: $80. Single friend got her one item but also ended up picking up a wallet for herself while helping me look for one: $20. I held strong at $0.
Then we went to the mall to return my stuff. Of course it’s a scorching hot day again, and just walking from the parking lot to the mall drove us to the food court …. we got away with a bottled water and a cup of ice water. Then we stopped by Hollister in search of a really really good sale on flipflops (very nice ones for about $3, even I couldn’t resist that!) but they didn’t have any. Instead, we ran across nice tank tops …. $12.90, layering tees …. $9.90, we finally walked out of there emptyhanded. Penney’s had a very cute kid’s skirt on sale for $15, and I don’t have any spring/summer skirts …. but the beading was loose on more than one skirt. And on and on went the day; close calls but always saved by some small justification why it wasn’t worth the buy. You know, other than “I don’t HAVE that money to spend.” We finally made it to our final destination: Borders, for some free air conditioning while I got some work done. But I could easily have spent a couple hundred dollars just picking up things that I liked! Thank goodness these friends understand the lament of the empty wallet, I know too many people who like to pressure others into buying just to have Stuff. (Of course, this does explain why I have no cute clothing, shoes, or bags …. but no debt! Yay for no debt!)
I came home to find voicemails on my cell phone telling me that there were dinner plans and movie plans (Islands: $15-$20, movies: $10). Instead I’m sitting at home blogging about how easily “spending time with friends” becomes Spending. *whew!*