I am just about the only woman I know who does not have a membership at Costco or Sam’s or any other of the big box stores. It’s hard sometimes when I hear my friends singing the praises of the latest tasty item they’ve found there, or I see what terrific deals they find. I’d even love to have a membership just for the GAS prices!
But I know exactly why I can’t allow myself to have one. I have an impulse control problem. When I find things I want, I generally BUY them, regardless if I can afford them or not. And at Costco, I WANT everything!
- I want the books
- I want the CD’s
- I want the muffins
- I want the huge packs of meat
- I want the snacks
- I even want the clothes
The list is endless and it causes me to get into trouble – big time! I went this weekend with my best friend Linda who has a Costco membership. It was a big and very expensive mistake. I hadn’t been in more than a year, and even worse, I was experiencing cupboard-bare-itis – which just about gurantees I will go overboard. I tend to get very anxious if my food supplies get below a certain level and we had been going for about two weeks with very low groceries in the house.
The result – $429.32!!! I think that’s a record, even for ME!
And I didn’t buy a single book, movie, CD, or extra item. But I did buy 36 eggs and 6 enormous packages of chicken because I was anxious about the bird flu thing I keep hearing about on the news. I bought enough toilet paper to last to the zombie apocolypse. I did buy the muffins, and the steaks and the cake for my son’s birthday, I did buy two tubs of garlic butter and some stuffed chicken breasts because they were giving out free samples. Not sure if I did it out of guilt or because they tasted so good, but into the cart they went.
Fortunately, everything I did buy is stuff that we will eat. I didn’t buy anything terribly frivolous, I just bought waaaay too much. Both our upstairs and downstairs freezers are CRAMMED full and we will eat well for weeks, but I also spent all my available cash for the next two weeks (I’d just gotten paid too).
That’s the lesson for me. Two weeks of being broke will give me a good long while to think about it and it will be probably another year before I even stick my nose into a Costco again. But I have to watch other stores too – WalMart and Target are triggers for me, even the Dollar Store. Something in my brain just translates CHEAP to FREE and then I have a nasty surprise at the cash register. I can go to Nordstroms, Saks Fifth Avenue or even Dillard’s and never have a problem because the prices are just high enough to trigger the warning buttons in my head, but discount stores are my Kryptonite.
I think it’s smart though to have an awareness of what my triggers are. I have tried to get it under control. I had a Life Coach a few years back and this is one of the things we worked on. She had me fill my cart full of things I wanted and then we talked about each thing any why I wanted it as I went around the store putting it all back. It didn’t help for long. I have tried making lists – sometimes that works to some degree, but many times it doesn’t. When I go into WalMart to get something for my kids – I always alert them to watch me for impulse purchases. That helps too, but I usually come out with at least ONE thing I don’t really need.
Usually, I just give my husband a list and stay the heck out of the stores. Or I buy stuff online. For some reason, I have much more control that way. I do need to figure out some strategy. I don’t think our budget can handle many more $400 shopping trips! How about you? What’s your red flag for spending?