How can I resist?
Vivian Manning-Schaffel: Damn, I love me a bargain. I love me a bargain so damn much, I used to trawl the Web for sample sales, signing up for any and every alert I could get my grubby little cybermitts on. Hell, I still do, on the off chance I'll have the cash to snag a hot item at a good price.
Here's the rub: Like so many folks I know, I had a lean year. Like, way leaner than usual. It has forced me to reevaluate my priorities and make some serious changes when it comes to how I shop for myself. The days of "one for you, one for me" holiday shopping came to a screeching halt. Now it's "one for you." Period. Which is the point, anyway.
So here I am, trying to rub together the two cents I have to fulfill the wishes on my kids' wish lists. But every time I click "refresh," a new phantasmagorical deal beckons from my personal e-mail account. And in spite of my pleas for these companies to cease and desist with their lurid temptations, the barrage of sample-sale-alert e-mails just won't quit hitting my in-box.
Sometimes, these alerts actually inform me of a great price on something I really need. Like new boots. I really, really need a brown pair of comfy yet weather-resistant boots. But I have no business buying boots. Or anything else for myself, for that matter.
Keep Your Eye on the (Sur)Prize
You can shop for yourself any ol' time. Make a vow to spend every spare cent you can on others in December. I'm sure you have snapshots of your kids near your computer. Each time you're ready to put an unnecessary item in your "cart," take a good, long gander at those cuties. Won't the look of wonder and gratitude on their faces when you give them their gifts be worth far more to you than a stinkin' pair of boots? Thought so.
No one can argue with the convenience of online shopping, but pricewise, it's usually more financially advantageous to shop for stuff live and in person. Sure, you could just whip out a charge card and pay $85 for those hot new boots and pay who-knows-how-much additionally in delivery and interest charges, or you could get off your butt, get to the store and pay $70 in cash. Those boots aren't so tempting now that you have to get off your butt, go to the store and pay (gulp!) cash, are they?
Delete, Delete, Delete, Reward!
Resist the lure of the inbox sale by deleting each and every e-mail that will entice you to spend money on yourself before opening it. If you make it through the entire holiday season without so much as a single smidge of self-indulgence, reward yourself in January by combing that new batch of after-holiday e-mails and purchasing that one hot item you've been coveting all that time (BOOTS!). The reward for your patience? They'll be so marked down by then, you won't flinch at paying cash.
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|