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...this month. We can't seem to shake this rut we're in. We ever have any money, well, we do have money during the month but at the end, we're short for rent and other bills. We have to dip into our EF to cover it, which is sad.

Sometimes I wish I can go back in time to a simple place. There was no malls, no large grocery chains. You made everything from scratch. Both spouses could stay home and make their homes their jobs. That life would be such a relief right now. I feel like I'm trapped in this place where spending your last dollar on that designer purse is the only way to get ahead...
Have we been trained by the governments of our world to do this? I'm sick of commercials tempting me, I'm sick of picking up a magazine to be bombarded by ads of all the cool things I wish I owned but have no idea why I do. I'm not blaming the media for our predicament, I mean, lets be realistic, I COULD have had more will power than to spend so much. But I really don't know how to get out of this slump. Its terrible.

I just wish some one could smack me over the head and I'd be frugal...

Anyone else feel like this sometimes?
 

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Sometimes, but not as much anymore. I think it becomes easier over time to reject consumerism. I still slip sometimes, and of course I do still buy things. Lately what's really been hitting home for me is the value loss of nearly everything buy. This and that shirt is "so cute and only $20!" but soon enough I may be done with and it's suddenly worth $2 at Plato's Closet when I try to sell it to them. I have a hard time buying anything new anymore knowing that most things are never worth their price later.

It's a whole different mindset to look in and see how much we are pushed to buy when it's really unnecessary.

I just think: Do I need it? Really? Is there something at home I have that works just as well? Maybe I could fix it? Maybe I could trade with someone? Freecycle? Goodwill? Often just this intense thought process keeps me from even caring about the item as much.
 

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~I could smack you over the head if you want...JK! It's frustrating being advertised to everywhere you go and look. Urg. However, I think most of us are frugal because we've chosen to ignore outside influence over how we spend our time and money. I find it interesting that you want to blame the government and not the media. I don't see government pamphlets that are plastered with Coke ads. Of course, the media in itself isn't trying to sell you something but it costs alot of money to print magazines and put on newscasts, hence the persistant commercials. If you desire a simple life YOU have to remove the things from your life that are overwhelming. Turn off the tv(or at least mute the commercials), don't buy magazines, don't talk to your co-workers or friends about what you bought or want to buy. YOU CAN remove the consumerism from your life. Respect yourself! When you truly believe that you're a great person with alot to offer without being a showcase for the latest and greatest products you won't fall for advertisers messages. Try some self affirming mantras when you have the urge to buy. It's corny but saying "I fold laundry really well" or "I make the yummiest brownies" or "I have beautiful eyes" can save you from feeling like you "need" something. Write down and say aloud what YOU do well. Maybe I hit you over the head anyway; Sorry!~
 

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we all go through comsumerism one way or the other. Sometimes we can walk away sometimes we cant. I get at myself too. lots~!
Mostly its not for the big things but all the little things that add up that i dont really need. So I know how u feel.
 

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I used to be like that until I just kept saying to myself "Do I really want to put that on my credit card and pay yet another bill?" I do that alot (say that to myself), it's getting better because I usually dont buy anything unless I need it. Just because I want it doesn't mean I need it, therefore I dont buy it.

The only thing I can say is just keep saying to yourself I DONT WANT ANYMORE DEBT, even if you use your banks debit card, eventually you will be able to find that same item YOU WANT RIGHT NOW cheaper somewhere else or at a yard sale, being given away on freecycle, etc... later on down the road. Temptations are all around us, we have to learn to see past them. :)
 

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I feel like I'm trapped in this place where spending your last dollar on that designer purse is the only way to get ahead...
Does owning that designer purse enrich your life? Is it going to make your retirement more secure?

I like to own some designer labels, and it is always a thrill to find a Ralph Lauren or Liz Claiborne label in the clothes I buy (for $1 or $2) at the thrift store. The great thing about buying used, is you can usually sell the items for about what you paid for them (or more!) at your own yard sale.

I would recommend you read "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. That book really opened my eyes.
 

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Hey, try to pick up "Your Money or Your Life", the book has an eye opening way of looking at things not in dollar amounts, but life amounts. Like that designer purse would cost you 20 hours of work (instead of, say $200), do you really want to work 20 hours for that purse?? Maybe it's a different way to change the mindset.

It's hard to change the thinking. Keep at it. I don't even want to step foot in a mall anymore, and commercials are annoying. Took at while to get there. Hang in there, kay?
 

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I think you're right, the gov't. does want us to spend spend spend. It feeds the illusion that the economy is strong.... yet, the average family is sinking so deep into debt :surprise:

I was just like you until this past year. My husband has a good job, and now when we think of the $$$ we just blew away it makes us sick. I just went cold turkey into frugal mode, and it was quite easy, because it's how we lived when we were first married with small kids, BEFORE he got the good job.

The funniest part is the response I get from family and friends. They can't seem to understand that we're NOT having financial problems, but that we have made a decision to live like we're poor/cheapskates to get ahead financially (before we DO have financial problems!).

Someone on this board used an expression I've hung on to... that the local stores are "Dream Wreckers" or something like that. Now I walk thru a store, (fancy or cheap) or I read an advertisement, and I think: Dream Wreckers!

Have you read the Tightwad Gazette book? That's a good one...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
MilkandMari, thats exactly what I mean by the government, because the economy depends on our debt (or so it seems).

I think I will pick up the tightwad gazette, I think they have it at the library, but I would like my own copy so I can pick it up whenever. But then again, books are my downfall, thats where I spend money.

Sometime I wish I could start all over again and not be 30k in debt. I think part of it is that I'm discouraged by that big number.

I hate cold turkey, but I may just try it again...
 

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MilkandMari,

Sometime I wish I could start all over again and not be 30k in debt. I think part of it is that I'm discouraged by that big number.
I'd gladly trade you debt amounts. . . . mine started out at over $150,000 (mostly medical bills for my dd and dh) . . . we added more when dh got sick and we traveled, bought a 2nd home on a farm, etc. . . We're slowly digging out, but it's going to be a LONG time.

I'm like so many of the others. . . if I don't NEED it, and can't get it at a decent price, I've decided it's simply not worth the extra stress of buying that designer label purse, clothes, sports car, etc.
 

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I make a list of things I think I want even the small things like a new mascara or a $1 wind twister to hang on my balcony. I make that list and take a look at it every month or so. Sometimes I don't even want the item I put down anymore, so I cross it off. If I still want something months later I ask for it for my birthday or for Christmas. Only one thing expensive has ever made it on to my list, a new comforter. My fiance and I had looked at comforters/bed in a bags for a few years and the first year we found one that we loved but it was $340, then when we looked for it to buy it a year or so later and we couldn't find it anywhere. Last year I found it (3 years after we had first found it) and it was marked down to $140 on clearance(we saved $200 buy prolonging our purchase) I grabbed it at $140 because until that day, I hadn't seen it since the year we fell in love with it. It's a queen size suede blue patchwork comforter, with matching shams, sheet set, and duster. We love it, but we wouldn't have wanted to pay $340 for it the first year we found it.

We also would have cried our eyes out when our kitten put tiny claw and teeth marks in it 6 months after we bought it. Nothing stays new for very long, if you buy it at full price you just end up feeling worse when wear abd tear catches up with your purchase. I guess I think of everything in terms of that comforter, do I need it or can I hold out even years later for a better price? I like to hold out, you never know when you could score that item or a like item for free or considerably less :).
 

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My DHs grandparents taught us something that we use on anything that costs $50 or more. If its a truly a NEED we buy it if its a WANT. We wait a minimum of 5 minutes per ever 10 dollars. Usually 10 minutes per dollar. We dont typically leave the store, we sometimes look around for a cheaper alternative or if we do leave the store we go to a thrift store to do the same. Usually by the time we spent an hour or more thinking about it we dont end up buying or we buy something else much cheaper that will work that we hadnt thought of in the first place.
 

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Well, pay your rent first each month! At least subtract it out of the check book, then it won't show you having that much money in there.

Also, you could make it a game. All month long you can keep a list of the things that you feel you need/want. At the end of the month, if there is extra then you could get some of them. chances are that by the end of the month you won't be interested in most of them anymore and you could just throw your list away. If there is something on there that you really do need/want then if you have the money at the end of the month, buy it. You deserve it at that point for having had the self control all month to basically save for it.

As for the consumerism stuff, don't look at the magazines. This week when I got an LLBean catalog in the mail, I threw it in the trash. There will always be something in there that I think I need. If I never see it, I don't know what I am missing. Also, for commercials, try cutting back on the amount of TV you watch. Or do what I do, when I sit down to watch TV I am always doing something else. REading a book or magazine, cutting coupons, etc. During the commercials mute the TV and look down at what is in your lap and concentrate on that.

Good luck! I think we all struggle with this.
 

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I have started writing down everything I spend money on. It's helping me avoid some purchases. I always think about whether I want it recorded in microsoft money forever that I spent $1 on a key chain that makes mooing noises :shake: I have been trying to avoid recreational shopping. I don't go out and just browse looking for something to buy. I try and keep my shopping trips to a minimum. I only go when I need something. From where I am $30,000 doesn't seem to bad, I have a lot farther to go :yikes:
 

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I actually came to this site today because Ive been feeling somewhat the same way. I am so sick of wanting things. And Im not even talking about the designer purses. This week we had some extra money. I went to Wallmart to get one specific thing, and ended up finding tshirts for myself at $3 or $5 each and bought a few. I found some summer clothes for my ds's at $1-$5 each and couldnt pass that up. Then found a couple of the little diecast "Cars" from the movie that ds3 didnt have so had to buy them($3.27 each). In the end I spent about $50 when I went for dryer sheets. Now, each of those things we really did need-at least in the next couple months(except the cars, but you should have seen his face when I brought them home!), but now I have to search for money for some Easter basket things.

I dont know if its the comsumerism for me, but Im guess it probably is. Im just so sick of having to live without when everyone around me buys whenever they want.I like what nuisance said about telling yourself things you do good when I want to buy. It does feel good to get that deal, and its kind of a high. And I do "fold laundry well" so I have to come up with a list of other things I can tell myself when I want to buy.
 

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DH and I have found a test if its a WANT or a NEED ~ we ask ourselves,

how long is this thing going to make me/us happy? if we answer a day, a week, a month or even a year. we'll then think it over if its worth the money we're going to put into it. if we realize its not....we don't buy it and never look back, feel guilty or feel deprived. this has worked for us quite well.

if its a want and it passes the test of being worth the money we'll shell out, we buy it. other times if its a need, we pay for it whatever the cost.

I'm usually the one who likes to buy new cars, my DH is such a nice guy and he won't say NO but he'll put me to the test and I'll realize on my own I don't want/need it after all....LOL
 

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I always think about whether I want it recorded in microsoft money forever that I spent $1 on a key chain that makes mooing noises :shake:
This is the very funniest thing I've heard all day. Thanks for the giggle!

In all seriousness, this is something that I'm really bad with. I am definitely a consumer at heart, and not the most frugal person, even though I am rather financially-minded. I think my financial "intelligence" is the only saving grace my hubby and I have as far as managing our money goes. I am apt to get nickled and dimed to death at places like Wal*Mart and Target, just as a previous poster commented. You go in for dryer sheets, and you come out $50 later with things you "need"...but how on earth did you end up with all of that when you went in for dryer sheets? This happens ALL the time to me.

I found that my spending habits were curbed a LOT when I started budgeting set amounts of cash for spending (groceries, random household needs etc), and not spending anything that I didn't pay for in cash. Once the cash is gone, I don't spend anymore because everything else has left my account and is in my savings account or is going out to pay bills etc.

I think I will always be somewhat materialistic, but I'm also lucky that my tastes are not TOO expensive. I couldn't care less about brand names and things like that, I don't get my hair cut at expensive places, or get my nails done. I don't buy makeup and health and beauty stuff except what's necessary. I'm pretty content to live simply in most areas, I just have a vice as far as video games, electronics, media etc.
 

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I understand the pain, too. I'm not a natural-born consumer of most things like DVDs, electronics, etc., but I love to buy the stupid little stuff at Target. I also buy products all the time, and I do love clothes.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
So the question is, out of possible necessity, how do we stop this? I'm a little backward. When times get tough (out of stress i think) I spend what I don't have. If times are fine, I don't. How do I stop this? I know it causes me problems later etc. but I still do it...
 

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Spent too much...well...let me tell you my sorry story for April! This month, I bought a piano, too many designer clothes, had my carpets professionally steam cleaned (thx to dog messes!) and sent my dog to doggy bootcamp...Grand total...$6500! I am about to cry!

Its on my cc but I can take some of the cash out of the EF, use my bonus, and some FSA reimbursement money. Manageable because I have been frugal to this point but I think I just cracked and got all the things that I have been holding off on buying.

I need to climb back on the frugal train in a big way.
 
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