I’ve definitely mentioned in recent posts that I’m in the middle of a particularly painful breakup and trying with all of my might to prevent any sort of emotionally-induced financial slip-up. As you might imagine, this takes a certain amount of willpower that I’m not sure I always have, especially in times of pain or stress. Just last week, I dropped $40 at Victoria’s Secret (although it is my personal belief that I was in an actual fugue state), and then proceeded to leave my bag of goods in my car, never to even open or look at them again. (I’m serious – the bag is literally in sitting in my car as I write this. Will I return the items? Only time will tell.)
In an attempt to be a little extra mindful of where I’m putting my money during this time where it is super-tempting to swipe my credit card on anything that I believe might give me some temporary pleasure or relief, I have been writing down not just the things I purchase, but the things I almost purchase. Those near-misses were little blessings in disguise, and being able to look back at all the things I almost wasted cash on – and reflecting on how totally-fine my life is even though I passed them up – is proving to truly help with keeping me in check and ensuring that each purchase I make is premeditated and intentional.
I owe the temporary safety of my wallet contents to these 6 things I nearly bought, but didn’t – thank you guys for not becoming my possessions.
1. A $75 dress for a date I had already decided I was canceling on.
Even though I had completely decided I was canceling on my boring nameless Tinder date that night in favor of a solo Grey’s Anatomy marathon, my Memorial-Day-Hangover-Induced Fog nearly had me tossing $75 freaking dollars at a shiny slip dress in a downtown boutique to impress the doofus I didn’t care enough to even meet. Blessed is the force that pulled me away from the register and the heck out of that shop.
2. A $3 iced coffee even though I had a mug of hot coffee literally in my hands at that exact moment.
Summer mornings + my Pinterest daydreams = me almost spending money on a chicer form of something I was already consuming. Bad Mary.
3. The $70 series box set of Sex and the City
I love to watch the episode where Carrie has just broken up with Mr. Big and then all the girls go to a baseball game every time I’m nursing a good heartbreak. Even so, I can hardly even justify my almost-decision to buy this when I saw it at Target the other day because a.) The entire series is on both Amazon Prime and HBO Go, and b.) DVDs are basically obsolete.
4. A $7.50 ice cream cone even though I don’t really like ice cream.
A new Insta-worthy ice cream shop opened in my town, and after the hour-long wait in line, my best friend and I realized the social media attention just wasn’t worth spending $8 on a 900-calorie snack we didn’t even really want. We both got smaller, less expensive dishes of disappointing ice cream, took no Instagram or Snapchat pics, and (hopefully) learned a lot from the experience.
5. A $25 Lush face cleanser that I already have.
In a moment of imaginary panic I went to Lush with the intention of purchasing an emergency replacement for the face cleanser I use, even though I have more than half of mine left at home and live actually 90 seconds away from the mall on the off-chance I run out and need a new one NOW.
6. A $20 day planner
This one was tough because planning is a lifestyle choice that requires many organizational accessories, but as I stood alone in the middle of a Target aisle holding the $20 planner next to the $7 one and contemplating my future, I realized that my hardcore list-making could be just as effectively accomplished on the cheaper version. Even so, this one kind of keeps me up at night. I miss you every day, fancy planner.
Grand total saved this week: $200.50
It is almost embarrassing that I even almost spent that amount of money on shit I absolutely didn’t need, but I do feel like a ~whole new woman~ every time I look back on these weekly lists and see the dollar amount of what I saved by summoning the willpower to pass them up. This week, I was really most surprised by the fact that I truly believed I needed all of these things just minutes before I decided not to buy them — and my life has really gone on perfectly fine without them. By actually analyzing my shopping-related weaknesses, I’ve been able to adopt a much more mindful and wallet-friendly spending practice, rather than just tossing my money at whatever dumb purchase I believe is totally-necessary in the heat of the moment.
Mary is the summer Media Fellow at The Financial Diet. Send her your summer intern stories (your lessons, failures, triumphs and good advice) at firstname.lastname@example.org
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