Dec 26 2010

shopaholics are cute :) [day 213]

I had to go to the grocery store for a couple of things, and as I was walking through the store, I found something that seemed a little off.  Shopaholic wine glasses.  Cute, right?  Not so much.  The definition of a shopaholic is “a compulsive shopper“, also known as “compulsive shopping disorder“.  A person with CSD will buy things they don’t need, cannot pass up a deal on anything and will go into debt to support their habit.  How is it that we think this is cute and should be announced to everyone?

Would we give an alcoholic friend a shopping bag saying they’re an alcoholic?  Cute gift?  I’m pretty sure that would be a disaster.

Too much of anything, even good things, is bad.  Addictions are serious business.  There are intervention programs, rehabilitation programs and usually some life adjustments to prevent relapse.  So why is it that shopping addictions are socially acceptable and encouraged, while drug addicts, sex addicts, gambling addicts and pretty much all other addicts are supposed to kick their addiction?

This makes no sense to me.  Shopping is legal, where drugs are not.  But then again alcohol is legal.  No theory there.  Shopping supports the economy, so maybe that’s why this is okay.  If your addiction gets you in big time debt, just file bankruptcy.  It screws up your credit, but at least you don’t have to pay for most it.  Seriously?  I have a problem with this.  I’ve had debt, and I paid it all off.  I don’t do that anymore.

Shopping will give you a temporary high, just like most other addictions, but with long term affects if you really have a shopping addiction.  Shopping is not bad, but if you or  a friend have a shopping problem, don’t make fun of it, do something about it.  Happiness is not found in the bottom of a bag anymore than in the bottom of a bottle.


Dec 24 2010

twas the night before Christmas… the culturally correct version [day 211]

Let me me be perfectly honest here.  I really hate holidays.  And, I’m an equal opportunity holiday hater, I don’t like any of them.  I love Christmas, that is the true meaning of Christmas, but I hate the cultural crap that comes along with it.  I just want to skip all this and move on to the new year.  I don’t want to spend a bunch of money I don’t have, I don’t want to eat a bunch of sweets, I don’t want to do the holiday dog and pony show, I don’t want to go to holiday parties alone, I don’t want to go to them with a spouse I don’t have, I do not like it in a box, I do not like it with a fox. I do not like green trees, this sham or culture’s Christmas, mad I am.

Some people think the Grinch stole Christmas, nobody cared, so he gave it back and everyone lived happily ever after.  That’s the fictional version of the story, because you and I know darn well, that if someone stole all of the things in our house and all the gifts from under the tree, we would not all be in the street holding hands and singing.   The story would be a little different…  Here it is, in the form of “Twas the night before Christmas.” Enjoy…

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the town

Many creatures were stirring, using credit around;

The plasma tv was unloaded with care,

In hopes that the credit bill was lost in the mail;

My kids wanting toys, finances in red,

While visions of electronics danced in their heads;

Me on my laptop, looking for deals,

Wondering where I will get the next meal;  Continue reading


Dec 17 2010

what frugal geeks do with a spare 15 minutes [day 205]

In a creative-type job, if you have an extra 15 minutes, that’s just play time.  It’s not enough time to start a project, because in 14 minutes, you would just be getting into your creative zone, then have to stop.  Frustrating!  While Jerod and I were waiting for a meeting start, he was shopping for an HDMI coupler and I was doing my social media stuff.  I heard Jerod laugh and say he was going to finance an HDMI coupler for 36 months.  Honestly, I didn’t heard a thing he said after, “…I’m going to finance…”  Jerod wouldn’t finance anything if his life depended on it.  Then I understood why he was laughing.  This thing he needs costs $16.99 and they offer financing plans.  Check it out.

So, with the other 13 minutes, he researched the financing terms.  He only has to pay 1% of the balance per month with an annual percentage rate of 25.24%.  This is a church item, so it would have no tax on it and the monthly payment would be $.17.  If you chose this plan, you would never be able to pay it off, as you would be accruing debt for the rest of your life.   Continue reading


Nov 23 2010

happiness is… [day 181]

I had a conversation with a friend of mine over lunch today, and he’s trying to understand the ‘black friday’ thing as much as I am.  It made me think about a book I started to read recently called Absorbing Spongebob: Ten Ways to Squeeze More Happiness Out of Life.

Honestly, I borrowed this book from the library just because I liked the title and cover.  What?!  Like you have never done that before…  If people didn’t judge books by their covers, publishers wouldn’t spend so much time and money to make them look great.  Sorry, rabbit trail, back to the story.  I started reading this book out of curiosity, but I had to put it down when the author started talking about the episode where Spongebob was playing with a leaf blower.  Anyone who actually watches Spongebob Squarepants knows that he plays with a reef blower.  If you’re going to use a metaphor or character to make your point, do your homework.  I did thumb through the book, but nothing jumped out as life changing.  Watching Spongebob is much better for happiness than reading this book.

So what is happiness and how do we get it?  If you’re looking for the answer to that question, I don’t have it, however I do have a few observations.  Happiness is not in the form of a pill.  Happiness does not come in liquid form either, although some say these help.

Happiness is sometimes difficult to find when you’re looking for it, but sneaks up on you when you least expect it.  There are many masks out there, disguising things as happiness.  Advertisements contain much information about happiness, although buying those things never really produce happiness.   Continue reading


Nov 18 2010

life in the fast lane [day 174]

It’s definitely the holiday season, as life is very busy.  I haven’t even had time to blog today, I’ve been working and had to take my car in for repairs.  Here’s an image of what life feels like right now.

Wait, I have no car right now and the repair bills are going to be painful.  Maybe it’s more like this image.

More tomorrow, I need sleep.  No shopping thoughts here…

 


Oct 23 2010

who is Lee M. Cardholder? [day 149]

Let me start by saying I’m not a baseball fan, but I did watch the Texas Rangers game last night and it’s pretty cool that they’re going to the World Series.  As I typically do with any sports games, including the Superbowl, I watch for the commercials.  Last night was no exception.

Capital One had a commercial for their new Venture card.  I didn’t hear much of the commercial, but the image I saw on TV intrigued me.  The card pictured had the name Lee N. Cardholder.  At least I thought it was an ‘N’.  If it was an ‘N’, that would be ‘lean’ or ‘lien’, which being a graphic designer, I can recognize a subliminal message faster than the average bear.  I do it, all graphic designers do it.  It’s creative and fun, a hobby of sorts for us.  It’s like a designer’s secret language.    Continue reading


Sep 9 2010

flashback [day 106]

Flashback.

As a child I was taught to buy a lot of stuff we didn’t need and saving money was not mentioned at all.  My parents always had new cars, with car payments, and the justification?  Buying a used car was buying someone else’s problems, although I don’t understand why they needed a new one every year, or less.  Christmas was always way overdone, almost all of the gifts were mine, as I was an only child.

As a teenager, we didn’t have a lot of money, however we lived in a tiny house in an affluent area.  I didn’t have the huge wardrobe of name-brand clothing with Izod alligators chomping at Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.  Yeah, I know,  I’m old.  When I turned 18, I got my first credit card from Dillard’s department store.  I’m pretty sure it was less than a month before I had it up to the limit.

As a young adult, I wasted lots of money of stuff I didn’t need.  I was just going along with the rest of society.  Not that I was ever great at maintaining finances or my credit ratings, my ex-husband was a con artist and really messed up my credit.  I think it was then that I learned quickly to live within my means.  Progressively I decided to shop differently and live differently.

Fast forward.

I ended up being a financial analyst for many years, yes, I said financial analyst.  Go ahead, laugh, it is kind of funny.  :)  I guess I have an ambidextrous brain?  If I had debt, I always had a plan to pay it off quickly.  Large purchases were never made without really thinking about them a lot before the actual purchase.  I spend money more like a guy.  I have a huge problem buying a sweater for $32, but it’s no problem to spend $600 on a large plasma television.  I do struggle now with those large purchases, always wondering what better things I could have done with the money.  Again, I progressively started changing from some debt to no debt and from no saving to saving.

Now.

Anyway, this whole thing has been a process of going from spoiled only child to responsible adult, maybe a bit overboard as some think.  I don’t miss shopping much at all.  There are a few times when I want to go buy something, but mostly now it’s things I need.  All in all, I’m glad I’m doing the challenge.  I hope to learn a lot more and come out of this with better ways to live.