Monday, November 8, 2010

My Own Rally to Restore (Financial) Sanity!

Before the “R” word, I had credit cards. And I used them. Yet, compared to my friend B. who owns 50 pairs of shoes or more, I was never a shop-a-holic. I did splurge on certain things – hairdressers and skin-care for one and my kids always had more clothes than they cared to wear.

During the Recession (I capitalized it on purpose!), stripped of my best clients as a freelancer, I found myself hesitating to buy a $5 shampoo, when I used to spend $30 on a specialty brand. Reality check!

Now that I´m on a slow but steady professional come-back as a writer and translator, I realize that while my income increases along with my workload, that does not mean my spending habits should change. I learned to make the best of dire straits and I am more content spending my free time writing books and articles or reading with my kids than walking the mall and shopping for fun. Plus, I need to save for a rainy day - or perhaps for a Monsoon. 

I´ve hit the local mall maybe 4 times in the past year, and most of those were to get a haircut.
Last week my kids needed clothes, and I use the word “needed” correctly here. So we went shopping and I realized how easy it would be to get sucked right back into the consumer trap. It is, after all, kind of thrilling to catch a good deal! I´d forgotten how much fun it is to be handed colorful bags of purchases by a smiling cashier.

My eldest (9 years old) said to me: “Mommy, it feels good to be back in the old days!” I sensed danger.

No, we are not going back to the old days. I´d also forgotten how it feels to find out that all those cute deals added up to more than we spend on gas and groceries in a week. I paid cash, so it was real money too!

We bought what we needed, and I´m not going back to the mall until the girls need new shoes (need, not want!) or I find holes in my socks.

And no, I don´t want to save 10% on my purchase today by requesting a store credit card, thank you. In fact, I don´t want to have a credit card in my name ever again.

And before I even think of buying anything else, let me see what I have at home that I can sell on eBay!


  1. So true!! Just one comment- apparently your credit rating can be affected by NOT having a credit card (not sure how true this statement is). Go figure! I always have one, charge my Needs to it (never as a substitute for cash I don't have), and faithfully pay in full every month. Besos, Carmen from Zambia

  2. Carmen, you are 100% right. I said that for writing effect. But I will have to have a credit card again and use it as you do! Right now I am not concerned about my score ... more about that in future posts! Besos.