I know I cannot be trusted with credit cards; the temptation of overspending is just too much for me to handle. That’s why I will never carry them again. But I would have never guessed the events that unfolded late last week as I was shopping for needed items for our annual Memorial Weekend Luau themed party.
The party was going to be a little bigger than it has been the last few years, because it was also doubling as our celebration for completing our Debt Management program. We’ve been saving up since the end of January to make sure we could pay for everything with cash in our pockets. We made a list of the things we wanted to get for the party and an estimated cost for each of them. Then we broke the master list part into separate lists for specific stores. We were happy that the total estimated cost was well within the amount we had saved over the last few months.
While on vacation for a few days last week to prepare for the event, I took the lists and went shopping.
It started at Costco, where I was picking up some pork shoulders to make in my smoker. I walked by a display of Hawaiian shirts. One caught my eye, so I threw it in the cart. It wasn’t on my list, and I already had several Hawaiian shirts that would work just fine for the party. But it was only $20 and barely even registered in comparison to amount of cash we had saved up for the party.
While at Walmart I found some new workout shorts that I really liked. I didn’t need any more workout shorts, but somehow they found their way into the cart. At the party supply store, I found some really cool lights that I thought would look great strung across one of the walls in our garage. Not one, but two packages of them came home with me.
I think you’re probably noticing a trend here. At just about every store I went, I purchased something that wasn’t on the list for that specific store. I justified each purpose with one of the following reasons:
- We’ve got the cash
- We’ve been limiting ourselves for years
- I deserve it
- It would look great at our party
- It’s on sale
Hmph, interesting, those are many of the same ones used as we racked up a mountain of credit card debt. I was drunk on spending power, and plead temporary insanity. We had done everything right up until I headed out with my lists. This experience was a friendly reminder that I need to remember my number one rule of shopping:
Stick. To. The. List.