So, because we bought the new Honda Insight it means that we have to Cut Back.
Because okay, I like to shop. Of course, a lot of the things I buy are on sale or clearance. But still. Money is money.
I suppose I could just stay in the house so I won't be tempted. But I hate staying in the house.
Which is why we went out today.
We decided to go to the mall. I figured I should practice window shopping.
It was not easy.
I made the mistake of walking by Gymboree, which is one of my favorite stores for buying clothes for the children.
There was a huge sign that explained that some clothes were 60% off.
My mind started to race with excitement.
But then, of course, my Voice of Reason popped up.
You bought a new car. You don't need clothes, it reminded me sternly.
So I decided I'd settle for peering in the window. I figured that might help.
And then one of the workers saw me standing there and she looked a little nervous at first. Her eyes sort of darted every which way as though she were deciding inwardly if she could call security.
"Yes, there's this strange woman with a longing expression standing outside of the store. I'm worried that she'll frighten other customers away," I imagined her saying into the phone.
But then she recognized me. Her face relaxed and she gestured for me to come inside.
"I can't!" I shouted from the entryway.
She looked perplexed. "Why not?" she replied.
I gave a dramatic sigh. "We bought a new car because our old one died on us. So we have to Cut Back." I even made a slashing motion with my hand.
The worker nodded knowingly. "You can still come in," she reminded me.
But walking into a store knowing you can't buy anything is not very much fun.
Still, I didn't want to appear to be rude so I pushed the stroller inside and ignored Tommy, who groaned beside me.
"I hate this Gymboree store," he muttered and folded his arms across his chest.
He basically hates any store without toys in it.
"We have a bunch of stuff for sixty percent off in the racks back there," the worker said, gesturing to the back.
What part of CUTTING BACK are you not understanding?
The worker noticed my deer in a headlights look. I was seriously frozen in fear, wrestling with a bundle of thoughts that raced through my head.
Cheap clothes! Cheap clothes for next year!
Nope. You're Cutting Back. Cheap clothes still means spending money. You're not spending money right now, my Voice of Reason said simply. It didn't even seem apologetic in the least.
"Are you okay?" the worker asked. "You look pale. Do you need some water?"
I shook my head weakly and gave her a tight smile. "It's just...hard not to be able to shop. I've stayed strong for three days so far and it's not easy. It's NOT as much fun to window shop. There was this lady on The Today Show who said it was and I'd just like to know what she's smoking but it is most certainly NOT fun."
I didn't mean to do a total word dump on the poor woman.
But I couldn't HELP it.
I mean, they have all these financial experts on The Today Show and this lady was on there saying that if people couldn't shop, that it was still important for them to get out so they didn't get depressed.
"And I promise, it can be fun window shopping!" she had said cheerfully.
No lady. It's really not.
"I know. The economy sucks," the worker said knowingly. "Not as many people shop anymore."
I nodded. "Yeah. Well. I better go. It's too tempting in here." I started to head out the door.
"Don't forget," the worker called after me. "Gymbuck redemption is next week."
Gymbucks are these things that allow you to get half off.
I did have three. Which would have meant that I could have spent $150 and dropped the price to $75.
But $75 is a lot of money now.
So I gave one to Jennifer and told her that she HAD to take it or else I'd be tempted to use it.
Now I have two. Which means I can get $100 worth of clothes and drop it to $50. Which is still a lot but I've budgeted for it.
Which is why I could not spend a thing today.
"I'll be here," I promised her.
Then I found myself in front of Chick-fil-a.
See, whenever I go to the mall I always get a sweet tea.
So my body just walked me over to there because it's what I always do.
However, I suddenly paused before heading for the cashier.
Wait. I'm Cutting Back. Which means....no sweet tea...
And okay, it's only $1.75 for a large. But still. Cutting Back means Cutting Back.
So when the cashier waved and asked me if I was next, I gave a huge sigh and went, "No," and quickly walked away.