By: Revanche

Mouse + cookie syndrome

May 25, 2015

Unlike the slippery slope argument, which is generally fallacious, my problem here is utterly logical.

After not buying clothes for almost a year, focusing solely on feeding the family and paying actually necessary bills, I got an itch to pick up one nice thing. We have a few events coming up and some of them are formal enough that my mom-capris and loose shirts wouldn’t pass muster.

(mom-capris: the same capris I had since before getting pregnant but only buttoning one of the buttons. Doubles as buffet capris.)

Despite my ban on buying any new dresses because how many dresses does a single human need, one dress that actually fits me wouldn’t be a bad idea since it is basically an all in one outfit. If I played my cards right, I could maybe find a dress that will fit me now AND work later if my size changes again. (Side grump: this is not a thing men have to worry about when they talk about growing the family.)

Naturally I still don’t want to actually GO shopping. You know, in a shop. This makes it difficult to figure out what size I am though. Instead I hit the internet and ordered multiple things in different sizes. My home is the most comfortable dressing room.

Having clicked order (twice), you’d think that was the end of Step One. It is, I suppose, as Step Two is trying everything on but there’s a nasty side effect of clicking Order: I got a thing. A thing? Yes, says my brain, a thing! What about these Other Things You Like? Turns into a staring contest.

A nicer lightweight bag.
A hair clip.
Some shirts.
A stand mixer.
A house.
…… No no and no!

Mind, this isn’t just an exercise in self deprivation. Not entirely. Some of these things may yet come home with me. Or that house may probably happen because terrible neighbors are terrible and Seamus would love a yard (think I can teach him to do yardwork?).

But the other stuff? I just know that over the years, I’ve bought my fair share of things that became clutter much more quickly that I anticipated which would then have to be purged and be a net loss. In fairness, I was younger, stupider, and even less stylish. Regardless, I’d rather not do that again and again and again. I’d also rather keep my money and use it on investments to grow our future free from regular jobs future. That is not the same as not wanting anything nice, though, and therein lies the problem. It’s all fine and dandy when I’m not buying anything at all. But once I do, the brain keeps on rolling: why not this? And also… this?

Then I have to burn some willpower telling it to SHUSH and NOPE.

This isn’t just me, right?

22 Responses to “Mouse + cookie syndrome”

  1. I totally do this. It’s like the floodgates of spending deprivation are swung wide open and nothing is left in its wake.

    RE: clothing, I personally like to buy stuff from Like Twice. They have the standard measurements in inches for each garment they sell, so if you know your numbers it might be a good way to shop online without the whole “Will this actually fit me” dilemma. I mean, there’s still a little bit of that, but not nearly as much as IRL even.
    Taylor Lee @ Engineer Cents recently posted…How Much I Spent Buying A HouseMy Profile

  2. I think shopping is a slippery slope, especially if you haven’t done it in awhile. Suddenly you find things that seem like needs instead of wants. I think we all have to find out own boundaries though of what is normal and what is going off the rails.
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Money & Memorial Day WeekendMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Yeah and it’s not like buying one or five things now is going to be all that bad considering I’ve purchased 1 shirt since December. I’ve been pretty good at waiting it out to see where my weight decides to stabilize.

  3. Linda says:

    Um…no, it isn’t just you. Last fall I purged a LOT of stuff to get ready for my move across the country.
    Nearly all of the furniture was purged because I knew it wouldn’t fit in the new place, so I had planned to buy new furniture like a bed frame, desk, bookcases, media console, etc. I also knew I’d buy new bed pillows (because you have to replace them eventually, right?) and other household odds and ends.

    So after the move came shopping. Lots of shopping. It was a nice break that at the time Discovercard was running a “promotion” to give cardholders an extra $500 cashback bonus if they charged at least $3,000 every month from December through April. I handily met that (partly because I charged all groceries, gas, etc. to the card during those months, too). In fact, I found myself making lists of things I’d like to buy if I ever found myself getting short on funds: a new bed for the dog, a new home printer/scanner/copier, a new couch, etc.

    Turns out now that Discovercard promotion is over, I still want to keep shopping. Yeah, I’m sure that’s part of their plan: charge like crazy for a few months and you’ll now be in the habit of doing that and not want to stop! I’m still holding off on buying the printer/scanner/copier, but I ordered a new couch and chair last month. I’m rationalizing the purchase this way: I had planned to buy a new couch and chair or loveseat when I planned the move, it just so happened that the old couch and loveseat didn’t go in the estate sale, so I brought them with me. Also, between my “normal” cashback bonus and the extra one, I’ve got about $1,200 coming to me from Discovercard so the price of the new furniture is vastly reduced.

    There are some things I purged that I wished I hadn’t (such as the larger slow cooker and…maybe…the food processor), too, but those are the types of things I can pick up at garage sales if I ever decide to really hunt them down.
    Linda recently posted…Money talk: loans to family and friendsMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Ooh that is a clever, dastardly way of getting you trained to spend. Good deal if you were already having to buy that stuff like you were, though!

      Also you’ve entered the land of Craigslisting – you might find great bargains on that stuff there when and if you decide that it’s worth getting again.

      • Linda says:

        Yes, I got a pretty nice bakers rack for extra kitchen storage off Craigslist. There are also some fantastic thrift and resale shops out here. (Thrifting in Chicago meant carrying a tape measure in my purse because I could never try anything on. I’m ecstatic that Goodwill and the consignment shops have real dressing rooms!! Ooo!!)

        Sometimes I think American consumer life is all about adding and divesting of possessions through some convoluted supply chain.

        P.S. I thought to check back here because I’m tempted to buy noise-cancelling headphones for all the travel I have coming up next month. Should I or shouldn’t I? Grrrrr!
        Linda recently posted…Money talk: loans to family and friendsMy Profile

        • Revanche says:

          Ooooh… I once spent 10 hours of a 12 hour flight nearly in tears from exhaustion while some parents ignored their screaming children. I always say yes to noise canceling headphones.

  4. Kris says:

    Definitely not just you. Having trouble shutting off the tap right now, since I opened it up last year after several years of deprivation. It was OK for several months because I was doing extra contract jobs, but I’m not anymore (at least not right now).

  5. Evil Bat Witch says:

    I only chide because one time, I went into a Best Buy for a coffee maker. I came home with a ceramic top range, and a matching microwave. (And a coffee maker).

  6. Not just you. Though I haven’t actually regretted most of the purchases I’ve made upon opening floodgates.

    I’m trying to buy a lot (as in, a set) of used stuff for our sabbatical apartment all at once from a family that’s moving out, so hopefully that will keep down the initial “buy more than we need of everything new in a very short amount of time” phase when we get to Paradise with next to nothing in a month or two.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…Health insurance options revisitedMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I admire your track record. Thinking back, possibly I don’t actually regret the purchases themselves so much as the perceived loss of self control. Or not … I’d have to remember all the stuff I’d bought.

      Hope the family that’s leaving goes along with your plan, that’d be great not to have to buy new for Paradise apt!

  7. middle class says:

    This is definitely NOT JUST YOU!

  8. Janelle says:

    Nope… not just you. I struggle with this ALL.THE.TIME.

    • Revanche says:

      At the risk of sounding like an enabler, your purchases do seem great. And you’re so good at budgeting!

  9. Sally says:

    Yes, I know this feeling well. It had been a while since I had bought any new dress/formal clothes for work, so I spent $90 at the Limited in February on 2 shirts, 1 sweater and a blazer. Lots to play with right? Well, since then I have been itching for 2-3 more blazers since the current ones feel worn to death and more basics, like slim fit pants and black heels (the current ones also worn to heel-ruin). But I have resisted! I know that if I get these, I’ll want more and more, so I resist as long as possible (until something rips).
    Sally recently posted…Questions to Ask Yourself Each DayMy Profile

  10. Karen says:

    With the new job, I needed some new clothes (I can’t fit my pants and my dresses were a little casual). I lucked out at the Ross/TJMaxx/Marshalls and found a bunch of dresses in one swoop (I tried 2 on, and then just grabbed dresses I liked in my size. I still can’t believe I was that lucky).
    But now when I go to those stores*, I want to check out the dresses! And the funny-sad part is, my office doesn’t have a dress code. Shorts, flip flops, jeans… I won’t dress like that actually.
    I could use some new shoes but (un)fortunately, 5s are so hard to find that I haven’t gotten any.

    *I ran errands with a friend who’s health is recovery so I ended up in those stores.

  11. You are certainly not the only one. I am the worst.
    sherry @ save. spend. splurge. recently posted…In the world of Save. Spend. Splurge.My Profile

  12. […] is pretty much exactly the same impulse as my shopping problem. Got a cookie? Great! What’s […]

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