Friday, April 10, 2009

On Cutting Back

So, because we bought the new Honda Insight it means that we have to Cut Back.

It's tough.

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.

Sixty percent!

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.

It didn't.

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 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.


  1. I feel for you. This new economy stuff is the worst. I enjoyed reading your tale of woe, because I can totally relate. Maybe you should drive around the block in your new adorable car whenever you need a lift. Have a good weekend! Stay out of Target!

  2. You poor thing. It's really hard to cut back. It hurts the soul.

    So have some pie. :)

  3. Good for you! I'm proud of you :)

  4. The "saving money thing" is why I am really enjoying blogging. It's kind of free? I really do need the internet for work, my kids school homework, banking, emailing, etc. I have found not taking any cash out of the bank really really! works for me. If I have no cash, I don't buy any little junk! Just window shopping never works. You need to find free places. My list of favorite free things:

    1. Library (books, movies, music)
    2. Parks
    3. Friends houses (as long as there is no stupid!!! party for candles going down)
    4. Grandmas
    5. Zoo/ Science Museaum ( Now I know this is not 100% free. But, it beats the heck out of window shopping which usually means buying an overpriced slushy for he kiddos. Buy the family membership. And, it is tax deductable)

    Maybe, you could make this your post tomorrow with some other fun free ideas? It is all yours.

  5. Wow! What willpower! I would never have been so strong! And how dare that salesgirl try and tempt you like that!!

  6. You walked out of Gymbo???? You are my hero. I could NEVER EVER EVER do that. I would have been pulled back to the 60% off like a magnet. I think my husband would leave me for you. Definitely. Your husband is a lucky guy--- and you are a good Cutting Back girl!

  7. Window shopping is not fun. Window shopping is torturous.

    I admire your strength. I would have soothed my Gymboree woes with a large Diet Coke (no tea for me, another big sign that I do not truly belong in this part of the world).

  8. Gymbucks are evil. I feel the need to keep this short and sweet to get my point across.


  9. Ugh, that sucks. Luckily for me, I've never been a big shopper - I tend to go get a bunch of stuff I'm really excited about, then decide at the last minute it's too much of a hassle and too much money so I end up not getting anything. It seems to fulfill my shopping needs. Sad, I know.

    Why is it impossible to go to the mall without stopping at Chick-fil-a? I crave their nuggets.

  10. Wow, you have nerves of STEEL! Good for you. I would be okay with the window shopping, but I just can't stop clicking that "add to cart" button on the freaking internet...

  11. Voice of Reason is an annoying biotch. I hate Voice of Reason. Funny thing is Voice of Reason may keep me from buying cute little things that I really want, but somehow does not keep me from putting my foot in my mouth at dinner parties, or from saying yes to the one more drink that sends me straight to the top of the bar for some expert table dancing. Well, enjoy your new car and McDonald's sweet tea is only $1. Surely VoR can allow you that?!

  12. Yep - can relate. Thats why I shop at op shops (thrift shops to you) and get my buying fix there.

  13. Congrats on "staying strong" at the mall! That's hard to do!!!

  14. I am laughing too hard. Perhaps it is because I have worked for Gymboree for 8 years or perhaps it is because it is because I hate window shopping also. She did her job pretty well and you held strong! GREAT job. Just be sure to shop the sale when you go back for Gymbucks and do not go over the amount you have!


    Please visit me at

  15. Shopping is evil. I hate to shop except when I am buying for the kids. I have a really hard time window shopping. I think all stores should just have their windows covered to keep me from being tempted.

  16. i love that "cutting back" are proper words. that shows how serious you are. gymbucks are an evil form of trickery to make you spend more money (but spending gymboree money usually results in supercute kids) and gymboree is one of the only stores my boys DON'T mind going in because of the tv. have a good easter!

  17. Shopping and I have a love/hate relationship. Shopping loves my debit card; I hate the actual going/interacting with strangers thing. Would it help to grocery shop? (Not at Target, apparently.) Around here, there are a couple of Wal-Mart Neighborhood Markets. You get the Wal-Mart prices for the groceries, but no aisles full of everything else. It's just a boring old grocery store. Anyway, maybe only shop for 2-3 days at a time so you have to go more often? Trick yourself into thinking you're shopping?

  18. I have to work on cutting back, but we are already pretty frugal. I need to figure out some new ways to save money.


Thanks for the comment!

Share This

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...