Money & Career

Are you a stress spender?

Just last week, I wrote that my husband and I had resolved to start saving money to pay down our mortgage - we were writing down what we spend to see where the money goes and have firmly committed to save as much cash as we can for the next six months.

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Just last week, I wrote that my husband and I had resolved to start saving money to pay down our mortgage – we were writing down what we spend to see where the money goes and have firmly committed to save as much cash as we can for the next six months.

Then last week we opened our credit card bill and it was huge! Why? As it turns out, all of our discussions about fiscal prudence as a family at home were being undermined by individual excursions to our favourite shops during the workday. My husband had made several trips to the Apple Store and bought three new pairs of pants (on sale, but unplanned nonetheless). I had downloaded five new albums from iTunes and bought a pair of jeans and a sweater (that was the day I went out for milk and came back with new clothes instead).

We hadn’t exactly flaunted our purchases – in fact, the pants were still in a bag under my husband’s desk at work. After an admittedly heated discussion, we ended up talking about why were shopping so much. Turns out both of us have been using shopping as a stress reliever – with two kids under the age of three who wake up before the birds and demanding jobs to juggle, shopping during the day represents a very rare change to indulge ourselves, whether through new jeans or music or whatever.

The problem is that kind of retail therapy is getting us nowhere fast. We both know better – I mean, I write about this stuff all day!

We learned one important thing – we both need space for ourselves at some point during the week. The trick is, how can we do without spending money?

For us, we have started to spell each other off with the kids more – my husband took them this morning so I could read a book and I’ll take them this afternoon while he plays guitar in his man cave. It’s a start – and at least we have nailed down the problem.

What do you do to resist the temptation of retail therapy? I’d like to hear your ideas for no cost stress busters.

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