For more than a few reasons, I've decided to go on a spending fast for two weeks.
It's not that I'm an obsessive shopper. In fact, I've become a very conscious consumer ever since a mortgage and a baby changed my financial priorities. Now instead of splurging on expensive clothes and shoes, I splurge on a warm house and fancy diapers because they tend to prevent leaks a little better overnight.
I know. Totally glamorous.
I was reminded of how much my life has changed when I got a little free time to myself this weekend. I returned a pair of pants I had gotten for my birthday that ended up being too short. When the sales woman handed me the cash, I had to blink twice. Money. To spend on me. Not on bills. Not on the the house. Not on the baby. Just me.
So I went to one of my favorite women's clothing stores. Being near the Penn State campus, it was crawling with fashionable young women. Their hair was immaculate. They were wearing heels and coordinating jewelry. They didn't have a baby puke stain running down their sleeve.
And one by one I watched as they piled their arms high with anything and everything. I used to be them. I used to shop and buy with abandon.
That was my old life. Before I had to worry about whether the heating company was going to raise rates. Before I needed an emergency fund for unexpected household problems. Before I bought a family vehicle and gas prices spiked.
On the other hand, I appreciate the few things I'm able to buy for myself so much more. I treat them with more respect and tend to think through my purchases. Even just a few short years ago, I would buy something on sale just because it was a good deal, then it would sit, unused, in my dresser with the tags still on for months.
My new shopping sprees are buying household items in bulk. We got a Sam's Club membership after noticing the astronomical price of diapers, and now it has become my mission to buy everything in mass quantities to save.
Each room in our house has a mini store of sorts. Backups of deoderant, shampoo and toilet paper in the bathroom. Backups of dish soap, paper towels and sponges in the kitchen. Backups of wipes, garbage bags and diapers in the baby's room.
And now our kitchen is overflowing with pasta sauce, Cheerios, stewed tomatoes and oatmeal thanks to my new psychosis.
Other than that, and my increasing worries about the economy, I just want to see if I can do it. I want to see if I can avoid the vending machine for an occasional treat at work. Or grabbing a burger at Wendy's on Friday night. Or running out for one thing at the grocery store and ending up with a full basket.
I'm sure it's going to take some discipline, but hopefully I'll get more out of it than a few saved dollars.