Fraud Alert!

I’m a fraud. Whew. I feel better.

I write on my blog about changing our personal finance habits, and digging out of debt, but I’m not really honest with you.

If I was really honest with you about everything there would be people in my life who would be…shall we say, unsupportive.

But I’m going to be honest with myself, and maybe sometimes I’ll share it with you, but I’m going to write about it every day since I need something to do, other than spending money or thinking about spending money.

If I’m honest, I’m learning that I need to protect my money from me. It’s not some evil force that makes me overspend. It’s me. I need to make it hard to access savings, keep the credit cards out of my wallet, and be more honest with myself about why I’m buying stuff.

I’m really, really good at giving myself a reason why buying something is okay.   When you’re in the midst of getting out of debt, some days feel like a real struggle (like yesterday did), and you really just want to do a little something nice for yourself. So maybe, hypothetically you ask your husband to go buy you ice cream. You do have a coupon after all, so that makes it all right, right? Right?!

I labeledmy rationalefor spending moneymy inner spender. She’s sneaky, conniving, and able to talk me into just about anything.   My inner spender thinks Kate Spade shoes on sale are an “investment,” and buying the kids ice cream will make them feel happy and loved.

Rationally, I know my inner spender wrong. There are days though where her siren song takes over and I just can’t see straight. I’m trying to find ways to placate her, but she’s always wanting MORE, and she wants it all RIGHT NOW.

I’m trying to come up with creative ways to protect myself from the fraud that is my inner spender’s mantra-”It’s ONLY $5. Stuff is good. Shopping is fun. She who has the most stuff at the end wins!”

One method is to talk about my purchases out loud. Even just saying, I wish thinking of spending $400 on 3 dresses makes me come to my senses!

If you’re like me you will likely stumble, trip and fall down on your path to financial independence…more than once.

Maybe you have an inner spender too, or you’re in the opposite boat and have an inner frugalista, who gives you heart palpitations and anxiety every time you spend a nickel. I’d love to hear how you’re learning to balance spending with saving. Tell me in the comments.

Kelly

P.S. If you have a couple thousand or 50 laying around, I’d be happy to take it off your hands. :)

About Kelly Whalen


Kelly Whalen is the founder of The Centsible Life, a blog where motherhood and money meet. Her goal is to help readers live well on less. Kelly is a mom to 4, and loves that she can stay at home with her kids, and still pursue her passions for writing, personal finance, and social media. You can often find her on twitter and Facebook talking money and motherhood.

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  • Kelly

    Matt, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will keep sharing my struggles. It’s cathartic.

    Liz, I think we must be wired the same way. I know for me the sales and dollar area at Target used to be my weakness. I’m doing better though, but I still make unnecessary purchases.

    I do control my environment pretty well. I don’t watch ads, canceled ALL my catalogs, and those email reminders about sales. We also don’t keep junk in the house MOST of the time since I have zero self-control when it comes to sweets.

    K.S., I agree! I’ve already made big wins, it’s the little things that eat up our discretionary money. I used to do the same thing re: gifts for the kids, but I’ve since realized they rarely play with anything! I’m thinking this year for birthdays we’ll do a fun family trip, and Christmas will be all about books, art supplies, and “consumables”.

    Thanks for all your support!

  • Kelly

    Matt, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I will keep sharing my struggles. It’s cathartic.

    Liz, I think we must be wired the same way. I know for me the sales and dollar area at Target used to be my weakness. I’m doing better though, but I still make unnecessary purchases.

    I do control my environment pretty well. I don’t watch ads, canceled ALL my catalogs, and those email reminders about sales. We also don’t keep junk in the house MOST of the time since I have zero self-control when it comes to sweets.

    K.S., I agree! I’ve already made big wins, it’s the little things that eat up our discretionary money. I used to do the same thing re: gifts for the kids, but I’ve since realized they rarely play with anything! I’m thinking this year for birthdays we’ll do a fun family trip, and Christmas will be all about books, art supplies, and “consumables”.

    Thanks for all your support!

  • http://www.twitter.com/creditgoddess K.S. Katz

    I have an inner spender too! She’s my sales diva. If it’s on sale and it’s something I like, I want to buy it! Even if it’s not something I need right now.

    I also suffer from pre-holiday gift buying. If I’m at the store and there is a toy on sale, I buy it with the thought, “Oh my son would love that for Xmas or birthday.” The problem with this nasty habit is that I put it in my closet, to hide it from my son, and then forget I bought it. Last Xmas, I had 13 presents for my son.

    Yes, these purchases were small and made at different times throughout the year; however, if I had purchased them all at once, I can tell you that I would have greatly reduced my spending.

    For me, the little, not the big purchases add up!

  • http://www.twitter.com/creditgoddess K.S. Katz

    I have an inner spender too! She’s my sales diva. If it’s on sale and it’s something I like, I want to buy it! Even if it’s not something I need right now.

    I also suffer from pre-holiday gift buying. If I’m at the store and there is a toy on sale, I buy it with the thought, “Oh my son would love that for Xmas or birthday.” The problem with this nasty habit is that I put it in my closet, to hide it from my son, and then forget I bought it. Last Xmas, I had 13 presents for my son.

    Yes, these purchases were small and made at different times throughout the year; however, if I had purchased them all at once, I can tell you that I would have greatly reduced my spending.

    For me, the little, not the big purchases add up!

  • http://lookinggoodmom.blogspot.com/ Liz Muirhead

    Oh I struggle with this too! It’s amazing, though, that I can win the battle and go without buying something, and then actually survive! For weeks! Amazing.

    I spend WAY too much money on “stuff” and just like food, I think it’s important to control your environment. It’s another good reason to cancel those cataloges you enjoy browsing through, or make a shopping list even when you’re going to the mall.

    Just yesterday I almost bought webkinz clothes. Why? Because while we were at Cracker Barrel for dinner, I saw a bin of them that was 40% off. It was all I could do to restrain myself and walk away. Will DD care that I didn’t buy them? NO! Then why was it such a struggle for me to resist? I wish I knew.

    Then again, I also wish I knew why cookies in the pantry will always call my name when I’m in there trying to get something healthy to eat. I suppose these are just life’s great mysteries!

  • http://lookinggoodmom.blogspot.com Liz Muirhead

    Oh I struggle with this too! It’s amazing, though, that I can win the battle and go without buying something, and then actually survive! For weeks! Amazing.

    I spend WAY too much money on “stuff” and just like food, I think it’s important to control your environment. It’s another good reason to cancel those cataloges you enjoy browsing through, or make a shopping list even when you’re going to the mall.

    Just yesterday I almost bought webkinz clothes. Why? Because while we were at Cracker Barrel for dinner, I saw a bin of them that was 40% off. It was all I could do to restrain myself and walk away. Will DD care that I didn’t buy them? NO! Then why was it such a struggle for me to resist? I wish I knew.

    Then again, I also wish I knew why cookies in the pantry will always call my name when I’m in there trying to get something healthy to eat. I suppose these are just life’s great mysteries!

  • http://www.DebtFreeAdventure.com Matt Jabs

    I think making it harder to access your money is kind of like a band-aid for a gushing wound.

    I think your notion of being honest, sharing your true struggles with your readers, and asking for advice are far more fruitful avenues.

    We all struggle, that is one of the beauties of running a PF blog… it helps keep you accountable.

    Maybe you could pair up with another PF blogger who is having similar temptations and form an accountability team. Or you could do it with someone local who shares your vision but equally struggles.

  • http://www.DebtFreeAdventure.com/ Matt Jabs

    I think making it harder to access your money is kind of like a band-aid for a gushing wound.

    I think your notion of being honest, sharing your true struggles with your readers, and asking for advice are far more fruitful avenues.

    We all struggle, that is one of the beauties of running a PF blog… it helps keep you accountable.

    Maybe you could pair up with another PF blogger who is having similar temptations and form an accountability team. Or you could do it with someone local who shares your vision but equally struggles.

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