Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 2 - Ignoring the Allure of Sin Dressed in Sales Pricing

Ok, so sin may be a strong word but the point is - shopping is my drug and "getting a deal" is my fix of choice. So, in a pretty curvy path - it's a sin for me.

At least I know I am not alone here. We women love a bargain. My closet is full of them. I'm not even sure why I buy some (ok….. many) of the things I do. It's like the red price tag puts me in this hypnotic state. The percentage of my logic lost equals that of the 'percentage off' sign. 75% off means I'm operating with 25% mental capacity. How does this happen? I'm a pretty grounded woman - I'm based in logic - except when it comes to a good sale. What is really discouraging is the number of women I see justifying their addiction (yes-I'm sticking with the strong language) by touting the bargain.

As I started this blog I decided to read others that are similar. Many of these blogs focus on the writer's need to get out of debt in one post and a post a week later is all about the clearance sale at Target. Of course, stocking up on sale items for gifts is always one of the top justifications. Don't get me wrong - I can see value in buying items that are deeply discounted and keeping for future gifts but how many of us abuse that? I certainly do.

Case in point - I have a "gift bin" that turned into 2 gift bins and going on three, yet somehow - whenever I need a gift for a friend - I still go buy something because I want it to be personal and have meaning. I did finally clear much out of my gift bin at Christmas but I still have items that I purchased years ago to gift because they were on sale. Remember Fourth and Towne? Gap's untimely foray into the 30-40 something market? I still have items from F&T in my bin. Please - someone tell me how ridiculous that is! But - gifting was the excuse I used to feed a need - it was my momentary shopping fix justified with "It's not for me. This will make a perfect gift and at this price I can't pass it up."

I am calling everyone out right now – we’re all suckers and we are not being tough enough with ourselves! Seriously – I am making a commitment to not fall into the “Huge Sales Event” trap anymore. Here are my new rules for early gift-buying:

1 – I will only purchase when I am willing to put a tag on the gift with the recipient’s name

2 – I will only purchase if the occasions is within 3 months

3 - All items will be dated when they go in my bin to keep me honest

4 – No recipient will have more than 2 items in my gift bin

5 – I will only keep one generic gift for a woman and one for a man in my bin (these two items are exempt from the 3 month rule)

I can, immediately, think of so many great reasons that I would need to break a rule. But – if I am really being honest – and prudent – then I know the likely hood of falling back into old habits and/or masking my need to feed an addiction in altruism is simply too high.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 1 ~ Confession

Ok - so I am going to kick this off with total honesty and I hope I don't offend anyone in the process. There are two big roadblocks to my success in this reformation process. (1) I am not a very disciplined person. I don't like rules and I don't like structure - this is going to be a challenge, for sure. (2) my perception of "savers" is not very flattering - I definitely need to reset some mental images, here.

Let's start with my lack of discipline. I rarely finish anything that I start. I am very successful in my career because I have learned to harness that which makes me valuable - my creativity, strategic thinking, and instinct - and I've learned to surround myself with detail-oriented people who have great administrative skills to keep projects and deals on task. I can't rely on anyone to help with this. I have to do this all by myself. Scary - I feel a little doomed from the very start. I know that I can overcome this - I just have to figure out how.

Finally - my awful perception of "savers" - I hate the word frugal. Truly hate it - hence my use of the word prudent. When I hear someone described as frugal I immediately imagine an out-dated, dull-looking woman with roots showing in her too-long plain-jane hair, holding up the line in the grocery store as she flips through an endless pouch of coupons. I'm having mild heart palpitations just thinking about it. I know - it's an awful image - but I also know that I Can't be the only one who associates such horrors with being frugal. The logical side of my brain tells me that I can be wise with my spending and save a lot of money without turning into this ghastly woman - right?

Discipline and Redefinition. That's where I have to begin. I must admit - I feel as though I'm standing at the foot of Mount Everest with nothing but some cute hiking boots.......