The money-saver breaking point: Has this happened to you?

24 Feb

OK. This weekend, I totally screwed up and went against half the stuff I preach here. I had scrimped, saved, sacrificed and dragged myself into voluntary misery for a LONG time.

I went totally ballistic and off the deep end. I spent. A fair amount. Most of it: Stuff I don’t absolutely need. At all. I’m just wondering, right now, if I’m alone. Is there anyone else who has gone THIS CRAZY? I’m beating the hell out of myself here.

This snow and the fact that I’ve had two back-to-back furlough paychecks were freakin’ killing me. This weekend was going to be one of the first without a major snowstorm hitting in months. My spending cutbacks have meant that my weekend nights mainly consist of “Saturday Night Live”, cleaning and watching my $5 DVDs I’ve splurged to buy. So, I made plans to get out of town and visit friends of mine who live about two hours away. I don’t get to travel very often because of my schedule and the fact that getting out of this town/region means paying $8 in tolls, much less the gas, food, etc. Did I mention we pay tolls to drive on one of the SHITTIEST roads, ever?

Grrrrr….

Now, let’s do some more figurative math, folks. The night before I was supposed to leave, I found myself in the office for about three hours longer than I normally would be. I had this sinking feeling some breaking news from hell was going to hit that night, and my instincts were more than right. OK, Twilighters, remember when Jacob’s buddies would get so stressed out and angry that they phased into werewolves? Yeah, I’m surprised I didn’t grow fur and howl at the moon, myself.

I came home, staggered around as I showered and packed my stuff and forced myself up about three hours later. I situated the cat, loaded up on caffiene and hit the road. So, on top of being the general ball of stress from hell that I normally am, I was an EVEN BIGGER ball of stress from hell who was living on less than half the sleep the Surgeon General, AMA, HHS, DHS, FBI and the Dalai Lama recommend and driving for more than two hours. The road getting out of where I live is really nauseating, too!

Remember that old TV commercial — I believe it was for a headache medicine — when you saw the egg crack every time something further stressed out this suburban housewife? Yeah, my “egg” was getting ready to shatter.

I normally do a little more shopping when I get out of here. I don’t live in a place where cattle graze on Main Street, but we don’t have much of anything besides Wal-Mart. I tend to stock up at all the stores we don’t have here (that includes TARGET) — especially good consignment stores or general bargain joints — because I don’t know when I’ll get to come back again. I also tend to eat out more because it’s usually the first time I’ve seen some of my best friends in months.

It’s just that I believe I took it a bit too far this time.

I went to a Michael’s looking for some beads and a cord for them. That was on the agenda. But I also wound up buying a record album picture frame. It was on sale for 50 percent off, and I had been wanting to buy one for my dad for a long, long time. So, why pass up on such a deal? But the “deals” continued. I went to a Big Lots because nothing makes the Flat Broke Diva happier than seeing a “clearance” sign and a Big Lots simultaneously.

Picking up shampoo and conditioner I use all the time at half price wasn’t a bad call, but guess what else I bought? A generic version of “Bumpits”. That’s right. I bought the things that make your hair beauty-pageant-tiara-ready. I like making my hair poofier these days, and I thought these — which were half the price of the name brand — would do the job. I’m also planning to reprise my 2008 Sarah Palin costume for this Halloween (Which is HOW many months away?), and these would be handy. The reason why my first go-round with being a heavier version of Sarah didn’t work out as well as I planned was that my hair fell. But now, I guess I’m ready for the end of October, right?

The madness continued.

So, my friend and I ate at my favorite local “can’t get this anywhere else” restaurant. Next, we hit the Best Buy — also not in my town or anywhere close, for that matter. The plan was to buy — yes, I know I’m a metalhead/grunger — Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster”. I can’t help it. I like her music. It’s like crack. Sue me. It’s just that when I was there, I ALSO found a killer Alice in Chains two-disc set. I resolved to buy Alice and wait until later for Lady Gaga. But on another stop, I couldn’t help it. I went gaga for Gaga.

Do I believe I went on an all-out crazy spree? Not really. I stuck to original plans but just had a few things in between. I also restrained myself from many, many, many other things I wanted to sink my teeth into Edward Cullen-style. There were some gorgeous clothes at a Marshall’s, but I avoided them. I’m very, very close to fitting into old stuff! It’s just that I wouldn’t have even touched the “in-between” things if I hadn’t been so frustrated and nutty. And some of those originally planned items, like beads and CDs? Please!

I know it’s not necessarily a bad thing to treat yourself. I also know that it IS bad when you treat yourself too much. I may have crossed the line here. It’s just that I absolutely cracked!

This story from ABC News pretty well spells out the obvious: Poverty and a bad economy stresses people the hell out. I just wonder how crazy it’s going to make all of us.

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4 Responses to “The money-saver breaking point: Has this happened to you?”

  1. Newlywed & Unemployed February 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm #

    I don’t think you went too crazy, but I totally sympathize with this.. syndrome. Since being fired, I have purchased a netbook, gone to a bed & breakfast, visited my family in Utah and commissioned a blog design – but I balk at affording a tuneup for my car.

    I get so tired of sensible purchases, but my indulgences seem to be big splurges after long durations of doing without.

  2. injaynesworld February 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    Don’t beat yourself up. Every so often you really do have to blow a little cash on yourself just to feel human. I think you kept it absolutely respectable. One time when I was unemployed I bought a horse. That should make you feel great! 😉

  3. sandyb March 2, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    I feel you. I’ve been thinking about switching careers (or jobs, anyway) and I’ve spent $200 on useless shit I don’t need – hello, leopard print flats?

    “Shop Therapy” I think it’s called. Don’t feel bad, we’ve all been there at some point.

  4. facebook chips March 20, 2010 at 10:54 am #

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