Now is the time of year one gets catalogs. Tons of them. In snail and e-mail. Sales. ½ off, 50% off (yes, that’s the same thing) buy-one-get-one-free. Click-bait, all of it. I saw a coat. I have a thing for coats. On my iPhone, of all things, I clicked on the email, went to the website, added the coat (oh so cute but oh so expensive!) to my shopping bag.
Then I hesitated. My excuse to myself was this will be easier to buy on the desktop. Later, at work during a looming-deadline moment of shopping therapy, I went back to the site. And I didn’t feel the need to buy the coat anymore.
It works. Click on it, put it in your shopping bag, but don’t press buy. At least not for a few hours. A few hours is the key. The hard part is not going back three days later, because one keeps thinking about the coat, and how cute it was, and how it was so perfect for so many reasons. A coat to join the many coats arrayed in my closet. A coat to replace the coat sent to the give-away box.
The husband and I were at the local Social Security office. We had waited six weeks for our appointment, and jumped the line of a good hundred walk-ins stuffed into the waiting room. It was like the Department of Motor Vehicles; take a number, sit on a plastic chair, take out your phone and play solitaire for an hour-and-a-half. It’s a sad, unhappy place. Lots of people in need. I’m told that Social Security is well funded—for now. But it doesn’t seem right that this district office serves half of King County, a very big county. Can our Democratic House do anything about that?
Anyway, my narrative has wandered. When we were done straightening out the husband’s oddness—someone with his social security number and name had tried to apply for his Social Security payments, or so they said—we ended up getting a load of “back pay”. The very helpful Social Security clerk made a happy joke–”And it’s the Christmas holidays, too.”
We don’t spend anything on Christmas, except a good meal and a great bottle of wine. Our family no longer exchanges gifts, and not even Christmas cards, although I send one of those self-made photo cards of the dogs. So the money is coming into our savings account, and already I am nervous.
Like the expensive coat. Like my grandmother said, and I’d love to hear an updated, hipper version: “That money just burns a hole in your pocket”.
She was so right. Our family split between the frugals and the spenders. I am one of the spenders. I’ve nearly crashed financially a few times, but always found a way to pull my ass out of the fire. So now, retirement is near, a long-sought golden thing, and frugality is looming.
Don’t need a new coat.
Money is like a drug. We all crave it, but some of us binge on it, while others make it last as long as possible. It’s a great feeling when one can treat your friends to dinner. Or buy food for one’s niece after she and her family move from Texas to a nearby town. It’s lousy to feel broke. Or cheap. Thriftiness is like cilantro–you love it or you hate it. It’s in your genes.
Thus the drug analogy.
So far I have not bought the coat. So far all the catalogs have gone to the recycle bin. Speaking of recycling, is it better to spend the money to get your power mower repaired, or to just get a new one? I honestly never bothered to think about it.
Now I’ll have to. But I will spend a bit on that good bottle of wine.