Money can’t buy happiness…

By Mir
March 9, 2005

… but I keep hoping.

Here’s the thing. I was unemployed for so freaking long, I can hardly believe that there is actual money being regularly deposited into my checking account, now. I mean, more money than what I need to pay the mortgage and daycare. (Digression: I walk into our daycare–a lovely and wonderful place which I adore and have patronized for nigh unto five years, now–at the beginning of each month and pull out my wallet and toss it on the counter and say “Here, take it all.” The kind lady behind the desk laughs every time.) It blows my mind that I don’t have to find the cheapest and very best deal on every purchase or pass things up if they’re not on sale.

But old habits are hard to break. And I’m not exactly the CEO at my new gig, either; so yes, there’s money (lovely, pretty money!), but I can’t just start living la vida loca or anything. I pay the mortgage and daycare; I pay the utility and phone bills; I pay the other bills; and then there’s about enough left over for the therapy fund.

Then again, if I’m gonna screw the kids up, maybe I should do it right and skip the therapy altogether. Four out of five voices in my head agree!

Anyway, it amuses me to observe the ways in which I justify expenditures and the steps I take to regulate my spending. I have to laugh, because otherwise I just have to admit that I’m touched in the head. And the voices don’t like that.

I try to break free of my inherent strangeness as regards money. To wit:

I bought an actual airline ticket! Just because! I cannot reveal how many hours I spent online searching for the lowest fare, however, because that would just highlight what a complete and utter jackass I was…
… for having somehow ended up booking the wrong day and having to pay a penalty that was about 31% of my ticket cost (not that I was counting, or anything).

But! I spent that money and lightning didn’t strike me dead and the weekend was fabulous and so, I think I may want to try that again! Except, without the part where I pay the extra money for being a moron! And also, possibly, with fewer exclamation points! (Note to self: less coffee, tomorrow.) So what did I do tonight? I spent hours on eBay, searching for discount ticket vouchers. Because in my confused little mind, I can only buy another plane ticket if I manage to “save” the penalty from the last ticket.

… I will book an appointment to have my hair done (cut and straightening treatment; not cheap) without batting an eyelash. Because the war against frizz is right up there with the war on hunger, people.
… yet I bitch constantly about how much grey I have, and still haven’t taken the plunge to have my hair colored, because, geez, that’s expensive.

… I have no problem dropping $3 on a coffee while I’m out running around.
… but I became irrationally excited when I saw in this week’s Target flier than Coke 12-packs are only $2.50 this week, because I only buy my cherished Diet Coke With Lime when it’s on sale. That’s right, $3.50 for 12 cans of soda is way too much. I need that extra dollar. For my coffee.

My head hurts. I think I may need to buy some shoes (on sale) to ease my pain….


  1. Jenn

    I hear you. I’m a contractor, and sometimes you never know when that next check will be there, especially recently, and when I DO get decent checks, it’s hard to believe that it’s really there.

    I had to break down and color my hair when my sister started pointing out my gray hairs. “Oh you have a gray hair..and another one…and another one..” Yes, thanks. I can’t justify the expense of having it done at a salon, but I found a brand that I like at Walmart for about $3.50. I can swing that.

  2. Heather

    You and Zoot mentioned the same Target sale :)

  3. Rebecca

    DUDE! I am so with you on the Diet Coke with Lime, or DCL, as I affectionately call it. I buy it by the truck load, but ONLY when it is on sale for 2.50. I have 2 cans left in my fridge from my last stock-up. Thank goodness I read this post, because I missed the Target ad…I know where I am going tomorrow.:)

    P.S. money’s nice, isn’t it?

  4. Joshilyn

    I don’t think you will find a fare that good, SO, I think you should plan to earn back the 31% in discounts over at least two or three trips, which means you HAVE to go on two or three more trips in order to recoup your money. See how that works? It’s new math! *looks proud*

    I cannot go with you to limeville, although my husband lives there. I am a diet cherry coke girl…


  5. laura

    I’m going to buy some shoes today, too, just to help out. Let me know if you feel any ease to your pain when I’m done.

  6. Ben

    We do that, too. As a couple.

    She’ll skrimp and save, looking for bulk purchases on stuff the kids consume in mass quantities, etc, then I’ll go out and get donuts and coffee.


  7. chuck

    I agree with buying Coke on sale. My wife and I go through 3 or 4 12pks a week of Diet Coke so I check the ads religiously every Wednesday. She has no problem with dropping $3.99 on a 12pk, but I will go to great lenghts to save that extra money! Two for $5 is a decent price. I wonder if the Target price is nation wide?

  8. sarahb

    I was really relating to the money thing…one of the major reasons for my divorce ( i used to get an allowance) now after 3 years I am SCARED to spend it. I am fine, WHAT IF? It is etched in my brain NOT to spend on myself mostly. Then I read the Diet Coke with LIME and almost fraked..ME TOO I love it, but the machine is too pricey ( a whole .50) must buy frigde packs on sale!

  9. Kym

    Three words:


  10. Bob

    I find it difficult to spend on myself too. Too many years of monthly bill roulette. Although the gambling years are over, the spending (lack of) habits remain. I have been carrying a $50 gift card around for 6 months now. I am in that store at least once a week, usually more.

    Go figure.

  11. lissa

    Oh, how I envy you having Target. Canada is supposed to get the chain here soon. In the mean time it’s StuffMart. And the single parent/no income (SPNI) spending habits , Mir will stick with you for a long time, but it’s a good thing. ..oh and if airplane tickets equal happiness? Priceless!

  12. Leanne

    Gray hair. You had to mention that? For the past 6 months I have been procrastinating getting my hair done, at all, and now you’ve gone and reminded me of many, many reasons that having your hair colored is a reasonable expense, regardless of how much it costs. Dammit.

    I’m so cheap I keep my hair short. Why? Because it’s easy, and free, to shave your head yourself with Wahl clippers and a #6 guard.

    There are still grays. :P

  13. kristine

    enjoy it. I got a tax refund for the first time in…ever…and I got my camera, a trip to disneyland for 5 kids and a flat panel monitor.
    I am in heaven…i still feel guilty sometimes. But i’m happy.

  14. Zuska

    I like Joshilyn’s new math solution!

  15. Charity

    I can completely sympathize with you. I was laid off two years ago and literally lost EVERYTHING. I didn’t find a job even close to my previous income until recently (which required a move to a bigger city) and it’s in a different field! And now that money is coming in, I’m having so much trouble justifying buying things that I really should have – do I really need a dining room table? A sofa? Should I really pay a deposit for gas for the stove or is just a grill enough? Should I buy another car or fix the one I have (I love the ole girl so I decided to keep her). It’s amazing the changes it brings to your thinking, both big and small to have to suffer through not having all the bases covered. It’s probably a part of us for life and you know what? I’d rather have this trait than wastefulness any day. After all, look at the environment. Being frugal really is the right thing to do – life is too unpredictable.

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