Monday, January 12, 2009

A series of Unfortunate events

aka how to spend >$120 @ target.

You can sort of tell where this is going right? This weekend was not so good in the finance department. I told you all about my master plan to save money on household items. I got a $120 gift card FREE that I was to use to cover 3-4 months worth of household expenses. Well, that didn't work out quite as planned. I went to target on Saturday and I spent, ta-da, $134.44.

Yes, you read right. I spent more than the entire gift card in one trip. Did I buy a vacuum cleaner? No. A microwave? No. Foreman grill...any appliance? Nope, nope, NO!

So what the heck did I spend all that money on. I'm going to list it out for you guys. I'll add a special notation on the things I have NEVER bought before.

Cleaning supplies (what, you thought you were going to see makeup and beauty products?)
Scrub sponge (6pack) - 5.99
scrubbing bubbles - 4.59
clorox toilet (2pack) - 3.69
method granite cloth (1st time purchase) - 4.19
scrubbing bubbles - 3.19
formula 409 - 2.69
tide detergent - 14.69

toothpaste - 4.49
toothbrush (4pack) - 7.34

6cup - 3.99
4cup - 3.99
12cup (2)- 13.98
5cup - 4.49
5cup - 3.69
1cup (2) - 2.99
toilet paper - 15

Summers eve powder (1st time purchase) - 2.89
playtex (2 boxes) - 16.08
kotex - 6.09

That's it. Anything super special? No. Somehow, I had the gall to be shocked when the lady was ringing up the purchases... I thought my bill would be slightly over $40. Um...hello? Toilet paper alone was $15! Yea, I obviously was not thinking. I think what happened is instead of buying for one month, I saw things like a 4pack of toothbrushes and thought, "hey, that's a great deal!" and I tossed it in my cart. The upside is I don't think I will need to go to target for a while. I don't know if I can last 3-4 months but I definitely will not be going in February. The downside is that I had to whip out my credit card to pay the $14.44 difference. Why? Because I only had about $5 in my checking account. Smart move? No.

I didn't really need ALL of those food containers - I could have put one back. I don't think I had to have bought 2 boxes of tampons either. Oh well, I've decided that once I get paid, the $14.44 is going to come out of my household budget for January. So it won't be $0 like I hoped but it'll still be less than $40.

The title says a series of unfortunate events, so you know there has to be at least one other thing I did wrong. All you astute readers would be right! I was really bored Sunday, being that I don't know that many people in the city yet. I def. have cravings when I'm bored so around 4pm I decided I wanted cake ... and ice-cream. This is despite the fact that I have $1 in my wallet and about $5 in my checking account. Paying down debt was not in my mind. Haagen Dazs and Sara Lee were though.

I went to the rite-aid near my house.
No sara Lee cake.
Should have gone back home.
Nope, I walked further to the Duane Reade.
No Sara Lee Cake and no ice-cream
Should have gone back home.
Un-huh, I walked further to the grocery store.
Searched and searched for Sara Lee.
Couldn't find it.
Should have gone back home.
No way, after all this effort? It's a grocery store, there HAS to be Sara Lee cake somewhere.
Find it in a remote corner of the store. On to ice-cream.
Hmm, ice-cream here is much too expensive (suddenly cost is important?)
Decide to just buy the cake*
walk back to Rite-aid and buy ice-cream there.
Put it all on credit.

What is wrong with me? Then i get annoyed that I ate the ice-cream and cake b/c I went to the gym all week. Wow, putting this in words is allowing me to view myself from a distance. Anyway, this is going to come out of my budget when I get paid, so I am essentially using my "pocket money" on stupid ish!

I vow to be better. I need to make significant progress in this debt battle.

* At the grocery store, I actually picked up some waffles, some syrup and other groceries to buy, before a little voice of reasoning told me how dumb I was being. I was thinking that since I was going to use the CC to pay for the cake, what would an extra $10 count? This was the thinking that landed me in trouble and I hope you guys just stay away from that temptation. Every dollar counts. Using the CC @ target was what made me think to use it again for the desserts. It's almost like the pringles ad - once you start, you can't stop.


  1. Besides the fact that you used your CC, can we talk about the CAKE?
    I think you should look into some Craigslist add for some extra flow of income on the weekends

  2. Please don't beat yourself up over using the credit card. You're starting out at this 'get out of debt' thing. I don't see anything wrong with what you bought over the weekend. The issue is that huge payment you made on the credit card. Do you have/use a budget? I thought it would be pretty rough with $5 in the account. Give yourself a little comfort room to shop at Target, I use the calculator on my phone as a running total. If you want to splurge on yourself, that isn't a problem either just set aside some blow money. Take it from me getting rid of debt is one thing, getting spending under control is just as difficult.

  3. It happens to best of us. Next time leave the CC at home. I usually take a list with me when I shop and keep a running total of how much I'm spending. I round up to the next dollar to account for tax.

    It's a new year. Chalk this up to a learning experience. Good luck.

  4. @ anon.
    I've thought about CL for PT jobs. The problem is I need something that works around a very erratic schedule. My job is such that I can be called in to work on saturday, be told friday morning that I will be working late (think midnight) friday evening and such. It makes it really hard to do something on the side (maybe something internet based might work). Anyway i'm open to ideas

    @jim - i have a budget.. i'll post it up as soon as I get it into google docs. My plan is to use anything i don't use at the end of the month for my debt and for savings.

    @ everyone else - thank's for being so nice


Hit me with some tough love