Big Spender

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Apparently, the world is divided into spenders and savers. I, I am sorry to say, am a spender. I would like to be a saver, and I routinely make a vow that I am going to become a saver, but really, I am a spender at heart. I don’t buy expensive things, but I do buy a lot of things. And I love a bargain. Most of my clothing comes from Target and Old Navy, although now that I can buy their clothing in-store, I have been trolling the sale racks at Gap for some great deals. When I hit my goal weight, I plan to spend some big bucks on some premium denim, but until I then, I just like to buy a lot of cheap stuff.

I also used to have hoarder tendencies, but I have found that as the weight has come off, some of my desire to hold on to EVERYTHING has gone away as well. This year, I have easily given away to the Goodwill thrift store twelve lawn and leaf bags stuffed full of clothing, shoes, and bags that I just don’t use anymore. My latest project involved going through the cedar chest that sits at the foot of our bed, which is where I have stored my sweaters ever since my parents bought it for me when I graduated from college. It was stuffed full of sweaters, and quite honestly, for the most part, they were sweaters I didn’t wear.

I had one huge wool sweater that had a big daisy on the front that came from one of those stands at the flea market where the guys play pan flutes and sell “handknit” Peruvian sweaters. I used to LOVE these sweaters and had several of them. I know that, at the age of 35, I have left behind the years that I want to wear such a sweater, but I never bothered to get rid of them until last week. The memories tied up in them (I wore them when I was young and fun; my mom and dad bought them for me; they were nice and warm when I went to college out in Grove City) always had won out in the past, but now, it was time to let them go. Along with those sweaters, I got rid of all the XXL and XXXL (and even one XXXXL, which I know is a size I never wore, but is a size of sweater I found in my cedar chest) sweaters I had.

I did keep one beloved sweater that my parents gave me for Christmas in what I believe was my freshman year of college. It’s a natural-colored cable knit sweater from J Crew that I absolutely LOVED. When Otto was a puppy, he chewed a hole in it, and I was devastated. It was really my favorite sweater. I contacted today someone from Etsy who makes throw pillows out of upcycled sweaters, and I am planning to send it to her so she can turn this sweater into a pillow for me. Looking at it now, it is really old and stretched out and in bad shape, but it will make an awesome pillow.

Anyway, the whole point of this story was to talk about the lengths we will go to save a little money (when I say “we,” I really mean “I,” but that’s besides the point). I thought about this this morning when I was balancing my checkbook and paying all my bills (which included making the final payment on my car loan…hooray!). In my wallet, along with all the receipts I had not yet recorded, was a coupon I got at my last visit to one of our local grocery stores for $3.50 off my next $50 purchase. The expiration date was…tomorrow. I immediately started planning out a shopping trip to save that $3.50. Never mind that I just did a huge grocery shopping trip on Friday and bought us enough to last us at least until next Friday. I could save $3.50! I had to go!

And then I took a deep breath. Was I going to go buy groceries and other items that I didn’t need, which would have to total $50, just to save a few bucks? Was this really the best use of my money? Wouldn’t it be a better idea to wait until I need to go grocery shopping, at which point I might not really need $50 worth of stuff?

This is a trap I often fall into. I will get an email with a coupon code on it, and I will immediately head to the retailer’s website to place an order. This most often happens with Old Navy. It’s like I am worried that Old Navy will never send out another coupon code for as long as I live. That is never going to happen. Almost every week, there is some way to save some money while shopping at Old Navy. But those emails get my blood pumping and my heart racing, and I hate passing up a bargain. This fall, however, I am going to break that cycle. I honestly cannot name at this moment something I absolutely need. Sure, there are some things I would like to have (For example, I have been eyeing up a pair of Sperry Topsiders, although I have not yet been able to pull the trigger on them.), but I have plenty of clothes to last me throughout the fall and winter, and come the spring, I hope to be down another size, which will give me a great excuse to buy some new clothes. But for now, I am going to be content with what I have…and throw away that tempting coupon.

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