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Don’t Put Yourself In The Situation

by J. Money on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

stop sign fiesta
Personal finances are like relationships. Things can go really good at times, and then 2 seconds later crash and burn out of nowhere!  Haha… and it almost always involves you putting yourself into a situation you know damn well you shouldn’t have been in to begin with.

In committed relationships, this can happen a number of ways:

  • Hanging out (alone) with someone of the opposite sex. Who’s pretty.
  • Hanging out (alone) with someone of the opposite sex. Who’s pretty. And you’re drunk.
  • Hanging out with exes.
  • Getting too close to your office spouse!
  • And about a billion other ways…

The same can be said about money:

  • Finding yourself at Target, Best Buy, Starbucks all the time.
  • Finding yourself online at Amazon, eBay, etc.
  • Always keeping a credit card on you (my fave!).
  • Shopping while drunk.

You see the pattern. And it’s not always because of the alcohol ;) In each of these instances you are literally putting yourself into a place you don’t belong!  You may not always act inappropriately when there, but you sure do test the limits.

Were any of you were around my first week of blogging? If so (and it would be awesome if you were!) you might remember me talking about giving up SHOPPING for Lent – Something I had NEVER ever tried in a million years! (Or 27 for that matter ;))  But you know what happened at the end of it? After the initial shock and withdrawal eased up? I was freed!!! Freed from the nasty habit of just walking into stores for the fun of it – something I was so customized to doing all these years.

It wasn’t until I consciously thought about where I was driving every day/weekend that it hit me how EASY it is not to spend money!  You simply DON’T go into stores!  Haha…What a concept! And here we are 3 years later and I still rarely visit my old friends ;)

If you want to get a hold of your finances, really THINK about your daily routines and habits. Just because you formed them, doesn’t mean you can’t break them and form new ones! Keep your head up and do your best to avoid the temptation.  You gotta be aware of these things if you care enough for your wallet and significant other.

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(Photo by brainware3000)

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim November 10, 2010 at 8:54 am

This is absolutely true for me, too. I am generally happy with what I have; I don’t want for much. So, if I don’t go into the stores to see what I’m missing, I don’t lust after anything or spend money. Same goes for magazines: I get less urge to shop/buy when I don’t read the fashion magazines. Advertising works!

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2 Miss Lissy November 10, 2010 at 10:02 am

Totally true. The only store I usually visit is the grocery store and that’s maybe once a week. Even so, if I do have to go somewhere else, I always have a list or something specific I’m looking for. This helps keep me on track.

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3 JMK November 10, 2010 at 10:17 am

A normal week of shopping for us is to get groceries and gas up the car on Saturday morning. I also get my weekly nonhomemade coffee. That’s it. Unless something was worn out, broken or used up in the past week, then what could I possibly need to buy? Occasionally we need to purchase something beyond groceries and gas. We make a list, go only to the appropriate store, get that item and leave.

The only exception to this method is that I am always keeping an eye out for gifts that will be needed in the future. A grocery store carries way more than food these days. If I must be in a hardware or department store to replace an item and a sale is going on, yes, I do look around but only to see if there is anything suitable for the people on my Christmas/BD list (which I always carry). I generally have my Christmas shopping done no later than Halloween and always at sale prices. Christmas coming on December 25th shouldn’t send anyone into a panic. It’s not a surprise. It comes on the same day every year and you plan for it just like any other recurring expense.

I used to “go shopping” when I was young and careless with my money. As if shopping was a leisure activity or sport. Now shopping for me means researching prices and features for a upcoming major purchase, or the actual act of going to the store only to buy the item I have already determined best meets my criteria. If you stay out of the stores (and websites) unless you have a goal it’s really pretty easy to keep your cash in your pocket.

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4 Jill November 10, 2010 at 11:03 am

SO funny I’ve been thinking about this too lately- the feeling of actual FREEDOM that comes from not shopping and not buying new things all of the time… makes me feel unencumbered, more clear and focused. I haven’t shopped since July 22 and its been quite peaceful:)

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5 Burnette November 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I have tried something similar to Lent, which is a Shopping Detox. However, instead of 40 days, it’s for 60 days. It really makes a difference in your spending habits and your bank account. You just kind of lose the need to go shopping. However, I have to go on detox periodically to resist the urge of impulsive buying due to buyer’s remorse.

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6 Nick November 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm

I’m not sure if it’s pathetic or admirable, but I shop so infrequently, especially for things like clothes, that I have no idea what the sales tax is where I live and on what it applies (it’s something around 8 or 9% and I don’t remember if it applies to clothes).

I still like the idea of doing a spending strike – actually making pickets and marching around the house. My wife would probably help me out by sticking the picket “somewhere that would allow my hands to be free” as I marched, however, so for me it’s just a dream. But if any of your readers are in the NYC area, let me know if you want to picket around your neighborhood. Maybe she wouldn’t mind if I joined your picket line….

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7 brooklyn money November 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I always complain I don’t have enough clothes to wear, and I can never figure out why. I finally realized it’s because after work I would much rather go running or to the gym than go shopping. To me, it’s a waste of time. So I never go clothes shopping, only with friends.

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8 Techbud November 10, 2010 at 2:53 pm

It’s so easy to fall back into old habits. You need daily reminders. I read as many BF blogs as possible each day and listen to Ramsey via internet when I have a chance to keep me focused.

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9 Doctor S November 10, 2010 at 3:11 pm

The problem is most people are too stubborn to take a look at themselves in the mirror. I am the biggest complainer about my own habits, yet I shred myself on a weekly basis when I write about the dumb stuff I do. But we KEEP doing it b/c we LOVEEEEE being in those situation that we shouldn’t be in! The irony of life is why we get up every day.

@Jill – i had to look up the word “unencumbered” . I learned something new today! thanks!

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10 In Kinsey's Closet November 10, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Keeping my credit card on me at all times is my downfall. I need to hide it from myself!

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11 Jenna November 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Or hanging out with slutty / friends who spend too much money and make you feel like its okay…

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12 Briana @ GBR November 10, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Spending has become second nature to a lot of us. “I’m hungry, I’m going to go buy something across the street”. Time to break the bad habits! It’s hard J, really hard :-

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13 J. Money November 10, 2010 at 10:58 pm

@Kim – You can read magazines, just keep it personal finance ones ;) haha… although even in those you see some pretty high-end ads! (Caddys, watches, etc etc)
@Miss Lissy – Good one, lists do work.
@JMK – MAN I wish I was as good as you w/ Christmas shopping! That’s impressive! I think the earliest I’ve ever gotten it done was on the 22nd. Haha…
@Jill – GOOD JOB!!! You know the date and everything, that is awesome! :) Any tricks/ideas you wanna share with us?
@Burnette – Haha love that term “Shopping Detox”. It really does work though, you’re right. Been pretty much “sober” for 3 years now!
@Nick – I’d picket if i could blog at the same time ;)
@brooklyn money – Haha YES! Same here -it sucks. Which is why when I DO go into stores I end up dropping a lot (if i find stuff worth it, of course) because who knows how long it will take for me to get back in one! I usually try and get like 5-6 shirts and a pair of jeans each time, and then get rid of the old stuff in the closet. Whatever # comes in, that same # goes out! Helps w/ minimalism, baby.
@Techbud – That def. helps! Still haven’t listened to Ramsey yet, but I will one day…
@Doctor S – You’re a riot dude, haha… seriously, make me laugh :)
@In Kinsey’s Closet – Or just cut it up! But then life would be pretty boring ;)
@Jenna – HAH! That would also do the trick ;) haha… good one.
@Briana @ GBR – Oh hell yeah it’s hard! Esp in your example – i do that every single work day! But as I mentioned last week i’m totally cool with that one ;) Gotta “splurge” on something!

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14 Shaun November 11, 2010 at 5:17 am

Shopping while drunk = definitely bad. Another bad one is food shopping while hungry, do you know how much junk you buy when you are starving hungry?

Nice post ;)

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15 J. Money November 12, 2010 at 12:29 am

haha YUP! I’ve written a post about that one too ;) I ALWAYS fall for it and it sucks every time…

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2010/06/dont-go-to-the-grocery-store-hungry/

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16 Jill November 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

@Doctor S- i’m such a word dork…:)

@ J.Money I DO have some tips!! AND you’ve inspired me to write a post!!! Here is the cut-to-the-chase version of how I haven’t shopped since July 22:
I plan ahead and BATCH my shopping for the season ahead. Once a season I shop at outlet malls (still quality clothing) and don’t allow myself to randomly shop- otherwise i’ll emotionally/unconciously shop and thats baaaaaaaaaaddd.
I dont buy something unless I’d regret NOT buying it. If there is something that I think I need/want/have-to-have I ask myself: how will I feel if I leave the store and don’t buy it? Will I think about it later? 9 times out of 10 the answer is no and I can put it back. If the answer is yes, I put it on hold. The stores ALWAYS hold things for at least 24 hours. If it means that much, is that important, I WILL come back for it and its worth it.
I don’t bring my wallet on errands, I carry cash. When I go out for lunch, my cards stay at my office. Sucks, but has to be done.
I change up my outfits and dress for my body type (this is for all the ladies out there). I have 5 or 6 “go-to” items of clothing and I mix and match them up in all different variations and still get compliments ALL the time:)
I stop, I sit, I think. I ask: Will this blah-blah-blah really make me happy? Then I repeat this process until I either stop lying to myself or decide that I do need it and only then I can buy it.

Hope these help a bit!!!

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17 J. Money November 14, 2010 at 12:47 pm

haha, they sure do! glad you got inspired :) i like the “bringing cash only” idea, but MAN that is hard… esp for someone who uses credit card for everything. glad you’re finding ways to rock it! keep it up my friend :)

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18 Donna Freedman November 14, 2010 at 8:01 pm

Friends don’t let friends shop drunk. J$, you might need new friends. ;-)

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