Are you a creature of habit?Posted: April 10, 2012
I am. I am a HUGE (bolded to let you know how true it is) creature of habit. It’s actually kind of sad—I am not a huge fan of surprises and much prefer to be told about a surprise ahead of time and then pretend to be all surprised. I also really only like to use a specific stall in the bathrooms at work (maybe more than you need to know). I love using the same machines at the gym (okay but honestly I think that is valid. I feel like some machines run better than others) and love having routines. What on earth am I telling you this for? Well besides the fact that I wanted to, I actually have a point. And it pertains to my finances so how cool of a point is that? (Okay at least pretend to be a tiny bit excited)
In the past, every pay-day, I would go to the mall, bookstore, video store, or to my internet and buy something. I’ve posted before about how I felt it was my right and all that good stuff. What I didn’t say was how often I would go and FORCE myself to buy something. Yup, FORCED myself to buy something I didn’t want nor needed. I would go into a random store and find something that I could “see myself needing/using.” Granted not all of it ended up being wasted money. I know that I bought some useful things but that’s how it all started. After a few times of buying needed (or wanted as I know they weren’t all needs) items, I was so into the habit of going into a store or going online and buying things that I would do it every single payday. Or whenever I received money.
Recently I’ve been going through the books that I owned back from when I was on the East Coast and that got shipped out to me. I’m sad to say that the majority of them have been sold off, given away or donated. I hadn’t even read some of them—they were just items I bought. I have decided that I will not buy another book (okay not quite but I’ll explain that in a second) until the huge stack of unread books is gone or at least severely diminished. Honestly this is a stack that is up midway up my chest and two books deep. Why did I continue buying books when I had all of those unread ones? Ugh I wish I had a better reason than “because I wanted to spend money” but I really don’t. I could have gone to the library and checked out the books to see if I like the authors (as most of them are authors I haven’t read before) but I justified it as “it doesn’t cost that much with my discount.” Sadly I didn’t think of the fact that I could have saved that money or spent it on debt. (And I’ve done the math—it would have been well in the thousands range that could have been put towards debt or savings.)
And it was hard to break out of this habit. Even when I had so little money that you would think that I would make the correct decisions regarding it, I would still go into the store and buy something. I had to stop buying anything for a while. In fact, it has become really hard for me to spend money as I’ve grown so used to saving it that it almost pains me to part with it. I did decide that I cannot have a “no” command when it comes to the books—that’s just dangerous territory for me as I could very easily break and revert back to the spendy me. Instead, I composed a list of series that I’m reading and am allowed to buy the books from that. It gives me a treat every now and then but I’m still not buying every single time I go into a store. It actually makes me feel good to leave empty-handed knowing that there isn’t anything I truly want and I’m not just buying to buy.
How about you? Are your habits keeping you in debt?