What Do You Waste Your Money On?

_WMLet me start by revealing what I waste too much money on—plants and fabric. I need to stay out of nurseries because I cannot leave without buying yet another flower or shrub or tree of some type. And I need to stay away from fabric stores—even the fabric section of Wal-Mart. Last month I bought 10 and a half yards of upholstery fabric thinking I was going to re-do a chair. Came home looked at the chair and all that fabric and thought, “What was I thinking?” If I added up all the money I have spent over the last 5 years on garden bedding plants, flowers, shrubbery, potted trees, and fabric I could buy a new car. Well not really, but I have wasted a lot of money on impulse buying for my garden —only to have the hot, dry, Texas Panhandle winds, kill most of them. Even potted trees, that are not cheap, have died from long, dry, hot Amarillo summers. And what do I do? Of course, when I meander through the garden shops the following spring—or fall, I buy more—and hope.

What do you spend—uh waste—too much money on—jewelry, shoes and clothes, especially jeans and sneakers? How many pairs of jeans and sneakers do you really need? How many pairs of earrings and necklaces do you really need? Do you waste money on “lotions and potions” and assorted cosmetics? How many “look young” products have you bought on impulse? Are you addicted to home shopping networks? Do you overspend at “those” big box discount stores where you shop using a flat bed trailer? I cancelled my membership to one of these stores because I would buy too many rolls of toilet paper and boxes of tissue. I ran out of space to store some of the stuff I was buying. What about “coupon” buying? How many bottle of dish detergent do you really need? One of my aunts passed away about 5 years ago and when we went to her house after the funeral her children were giving away some of the many bottles of dish detergent under the sink. What’s in your pantry? How much food, canned and packaged, have you bought so far this year, and not used—just storing it away? What about bananas? How many bunches of bananas do you buy on a weekly basis, then throw half of them away because they over ripen before you eat them? What about car stuff? How many different types of “shine and clean” car polishers do you have? Last week a friend told me that the best stuff to clean the film off your head lights is brake fluid—not that expensive stuff they’re selling on TV. Just dab a bit on a rag and wipe.

The American economy is consumer driven meaning we are expected to “shop until we drop.” But at what price? A new commercial says that the average consumer has access to around $10,000 of credit card debt and that most of those cards are almost maxed out—and people are making the minimum payment just to stay afloat—which is pretty much like a dog chasing his tail. You will never pay off a credit card debt making a minimum payment—and the credit card folks know that. Add up the interest you are paying, many at 21-plus percent, and add up how much money you are paying to stay in debt? And then take a look at the card purchases and see what you spent the money on? What exactly did you buy that you could have well done without? Christmas shopping for folks who won’t even speak to you now—or returned the stuff you bought for cash? Buying stuff—with a credit card– for your kids and they lose it, break it, or toss it aside? Is shopping the way you “get high?” And are you happy?

Can you stop your impulse buying, reckless spending, habits? Just about every financial advisor has told us how to stop reckless spending—use cash only—not even a debit card. If you can’t pay for it with cold hard cash then don’t buy it. Try it for a month and see how you fare. Do you even keep a running tab of where your money goes? Every dime spent—on everything—have you kept a daily log, and then at the end of the week added up where you money is going? You would be surprised at how much money you waste. Do you run to the grocery store for “an item or two” and end up with a basket full of stuff? Do you make the big mistake of going to the grocery store hungry? Do you go to the mall when you are upset or lonely or depressed? Big mistake! Malls play on your “feel good” subconscious with subliminal music and messages. One local grocery store plays the best “oldies but goodies” while you shop. You might walk in and hear the Temptations singing “My Girl.” Now how can you not start bopping and shopping-for stuff you didn’t even need? And don’t get me started on that “dollar” places where you go in for a pack of $1 batteries and walk out with $20 worth of “junk.”

My grandparents used to use the word “bitmo” as in “she didn’t bitmo need to marry that guy that my dog”–or so some statement that meant that you really, really need to leave something alone. Well, we need to learn how to mumble “bitmo” to ourselves before we shop as in “I don’t bitmo need this than a cat.” Try it—maybe you can save some money this year. Personally, I know that I don’t bitmo need any more plants, shrubbery, or fabric than my dog.

Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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Wednesday Wisdom