Thursday, April 4, 2013


I'm sitting here misty eyed right now because my husband loves me even when I screw up so badly.
We got our tax return early last week. It was long awaited and desperately needed. We had talked about the things we intended to do with it, and it wasn't going to go nearly as far as we wanted it to. But things have been so tight for so long, and retail therapy is such a very real thing for me...
I spent $600 in three days.
You guys, that's so much. And it was on well-deserved things! Much of which you could even put in the "need" category for the family. A few things for the kitchen, an Easter outfit for Drake and myself (on clearance, at an outlet store), Easter basket goodies (and I don't believe in buying 99 cent toys - if you are going to get them something, better to get one or two things that will last than 10 things they will never play with), some groceries... I don't know. I can't even tell you where it all went. Oh, I went to lunch with a friend, too.
And that's the problem. I can so easily justify any of it. And in a different situation, no one would judge me for purchasing the things I did. They weren't extravagant.
But our budget is extremely tight. Justin is the only earner in our family right now, and we just bought a house last summer. Between that, the astronomical price of gas for Justin's huge commutes, and our other monthly bills... well, that's all there is. And then there's the house that is still very much a construction zone. And several buttons on my computer have stopped working and it threatens to crash daily. And Drake still doesn't have a crib. And, and, and.
And so the tax return had very specific tasks to accomplish. And I messed it up.
And I knew it. And my heart sank and my face reddened once my husband knew it. I could see he was upset - angry, even. This isn't the first time I've messed up like this. I don't know how he puts up with me.
Most of it was un-returnable. There was nothing I could do to fix it. So I took my application to our favorite local bar/restaurant - desperate to be able to tell my husband I was going to help. (So far, I haven't heard from them.) And I made sure not to spend another cent.
That's why, when I ran out of my prescription, I didn't say anything. Not because he would have said no. He would never say no. But because he's already stressed and it isn't fair.
He just found out that I've been out for three days. And he's sad at me for not saying anything. And I'm sad at myself for creating this whole mess.
Why can't I break this cycle? Please tell me someone else out there has struggled with compulsive spending and found a way to break the habit (not just started making more money so you could afford your spending... that may not be an option for me).
Lord, help. I want to be a better wife than this. My husband so deserves it.


  1. you can do this. mistakes happen. sometimes big ones.
    my advice: next time, YOU write out the checks for earmarked money so that you can see where the final balance sits. might be a good dose of reality to make it stick in your head.
    you are a good woman. a good mama. a good wife. and i love you. so does your good husband.

  2. This made me so sad to read! I know the stress that comes with a tight budget, and while I do not struggle with the exact situation you are talking about I have my own struggles and I know life can be super rough sometimes. I hope you are feeling more hopeful about things - don't be too hard on yourself :)

  3. Gillian,
    Thank you so much for your kind comments, here and other posts as well. I find so much encouragement from this little blogging community I have found myself in.
    To the point at hand: it's still an issue. Even today, my husband and I are struggling with this same problem. It's so hard! Sometimes I just wish we could go ahead and win the lottery already! :P I promise we would give most of it away!!

  4. I found you over at Gillian's blog and thought I would hop over to check your little space out. I'm your newest follower and I wanted you to know - I've been there! We are a 1 1/2 income family. I work part time on the weekends just so we can have insurance. We have an almost 2 year old who does not get anything and everything he wants and we also just bought our work-in-progress house last year. When we were first married, we really buckled down and saved every penny we could. We would go without essentials just because we had a HUGE credit card bill to pay off and wanted to begin saving for a home and family. It took A LOT of will power and there were times that I would spend just $5 or $10 and feel guilty for days. The thing that worked best for me was to practice self-control. I would go to the store and get the things that I knew were absolute essentials and at the end of my shopping trip, I would duck down an aisle and re-examine everything in my cart. Did we really need it? Would I feel guilty about it later? Could I put it off for another week? A lot of times I would end up putting several things back - and ya know what? We usually didn't miss them! Sometimes it pays off just to think about what NOT spending the money can get you. At least that worked for me! Looking forward to getting to know you!

    1. Jenn,
      I'm so glad I'm not alone in this! Thank you for the advice. I do find that when I stop to examine my cart, I can almost always put some things back. Sometimes I feel like I don't have the will power to do even that because I KNOW I would end up putting things back, and I WANT to spend the money, as crazy as that sounds. Do you know what I mean? It's such a hard battle for me, but I am going to keep fighting it!! My husband and I just had a new conversation about budget and money management yesterday, and I think the new system will help me. Things like leaving my house without a debit card and just the amount of cash we budgeted for...