Put it Back!

This is a blog swap post from LaTisha D Styles at Financial Success for Young Adults where she writes about managing your money like a banker. Find more from her at www.FSYAonline.com. You can read my post about fun or frugality, at her site.

I have a hard time shopping for myself. It’s not that I don’t know what to buy for myself, but I’ve really trained myself to be frugal. I used to associate fun with spending lots of money but I had to slow myself down. I remember when I was a child my mom used to scold me every time I picked up something we didn’t need at the store. “Put it back!” she would say. But when I became an adult, I made my own decisions and learned the hard way.

How it All Started

It all started when I went away to college. I was approached by a solicitor at a credit card booth and offered a chance to ‘build my credit’ with a new card. They also offered me a free t-shirt. How could I resist? I decided to fill out the paperwork and pretty soon I had a shiny new plastic friend. My friend and I spent plenty of saturdays shopping at the mall. Pretty soon I was unable to separate a need from a want, and my friend allowed me to categorize both together and buy anything.

My Addiction

I first realized that I was addicted to shopping when I saw the credit card statements from 5 cards piled around me. I had shopped, wined, dined and traveled myself into a hole of debt. So I decided to immediately put myself on a shopping diet. I cut up all of my cards and decided to go cash only. I also started a payment plan that will have a debt snowball effect. I will be debt free in 3 years and very excited to say so.

Where I Go from Here

So how do I still have fun if I’m not spending as much? It’s pretty easy really. I play dodgeball on the weekends with friends. I still enjoy shopping. I recently went to Raw Denim in Atlanta, and found some really cute clothes. I was able to shop without breaking the bank and I had fun too. I’m planning a trip to the Bahamas but instead of charging it all like I did before, I’m working on a budget that will allow me to have fun and still keep money in my pocket.

It’s not that hard to balance frugality and fun. You just have to decide what you want to spend your money on and what you can go without.

How do you have fun without breaking the bank?

Image by Louis Abate.

6 thoughts on “Put it Back!”

  1.  Free t-shirt?  Better than free pizza I guess!! 🙂

    “Pretty soon I was unable to separate a need from a want, and my friend allowed me to categorize both together and buy anything.”

    Well said!  That is the crux of the problem most Americans face – not able to differentiate a want from a need.

    1. Yes, when I started to retrain my brain, I had to learn to make that distinction for every purchase. It’s the reason I don’t have the newest iPod touch right now… 🙁 

  2.  Thank you for sharing your story. I still have my wants but I am a lot more patient for them now then I used to be which allows me to save accordingly. No more going in debt for instant satisfaction.

    1. Patience is the key. It really is important for building wealth and really getting what you want in life. 

  3. Free t-shirt? Where do I sign? 😀
    It’s impressive that you woke up and realized your mistake so early. Many people are still stuck in their credit card spending cycles. 

    1. I know! I’m upset that I got sucked in with just a free shirt. It was a really funny shirt though. 🙂 

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