Having a budget has helped, but the tendency is laying dormant inside of me still. I explored how I came to this place and what provoked it in my money journal and narrowed it down to my childhood.
Though I did not grow up in poverty, I had a sense of lack. There were things that I wanted that I couldn't have and the impact of that followed me into my adult years. I know logically that my parents couldn't give me everything I wanted, but it is human nature to hold on to the negative things.
When I was the one to decide if I could buy something or not, I never told myself no. In my opinion, I had been told enough of those in the past to last a life time.
This view point lead me to having a shipping barrel of yarn, bags of clothing that were never worn and more craft paraphernalia than anyone could need.
I was motivated by a challenge to not buy yarn for a year and that aided me in reducing my purchases. I was not free of the habit however, my wild spending switched to restaurants. I either picked up the tab for everyone or ordered more food than I could eat in one sitting.
Finally, I stopped trying to treat the symptoms and tackled the disease. I was out of control and it had to stop.
It was difficult to decline an invitation to eat out, or to not buy that pair of shoes; but gradually saving money for the long term became more important than short term gains.
My breakthrough came when I got interested in minimalism. I took on a challenge to de-clutter my home only keeping items that I used.
I went through the boxes of books, bags of clothing and stores of craft supplies and donated, trashed or gave away over 400 items in all. This exercise showed me that I had plenty and that the feeling of lack I had been nurturing from my teen years was out of place.
Not only did I have more than enough things in my life already, I only needed a few possessions to be contented.
The new house rules are that I only by new things after a long period of evaluation or when something that I currently have needs to be replaced.
I have struck a bargain with the big spender in my nature; when I have saved up for vacations, shoes and new electronics, I will let that side of me do the spending. That way, I am saying no to the little things now, so I can say yes to the big things later on.
What about you? Are you a Big Spender? ;)