I Couldn’t Spend $200 in Two Days

This last weekend I was in Edmonton on vacation.  As part of my vacation budget I had $200 cash for spending money to buy ‘stuff’, so with shops of every kind in West Edmonton Mall you think I could spend all that?  No, I still have $20 left.  I’m a failure at being a consumer and doing my part to get the economy going again.

Actually what was fun about my list of things I brought home was I picked up a new winter coat for $63 (which I needed more than wanted, my old one might last one more year before it wasn’t usable).  The new coat is one of those two layer types that come apart and when I tried it on in the store I started sweating all most at once.  So I’m thinking I should be happy with it for the next decade.

Yet apart from that I spent another $30 on books (pure want there), $35 on three DVD’s (one had been on my to buy list for two years) and a small gift for my youngest.  Then $30 on booze to take home, because I was running out of ideas for things to buy.

Yet what struck me the most about my trip was how disinterested I was in most stuff now.  I can look at things and go “Oh that’s nice, but I’ll never use it” or “That’s cool, but I don’t have a place for it” or “That’s a good price, but it’s not exactly what I want.” I’ve managed to really decouple my mind from just buying completely mindlessly.  I usually now buy things with a specific want/need I’m looking to fulfill.  If the item doesn’t cut it I just walk away.

So my question to you all is this: is this a normal development for people after living frugally for a while?  If so, are you there yet yourself or what changes in your spending have you noticed?

7 thoughts on “I Couldn’t Spend $200 in Two Days”

  1. I don’t know for sure if it’s a byproduct of living frugally or not, but I’ve felt this way for most of my life about material goods. It’s food I’m likely to spend lots of money on.

  2. I think it is a normal development after living frugally. I have the same feelings when I’m in stores. I go to get what I need, then get out. It’s not a pleasure to browse at stuff too long. Except for food – I love grocery shopping! I’d much rather be outdoors, or hanging out at home on a quiet afternoon than be in a mall.

  3. I’ve noticed the same thing. In fact, I’m impressed that you managed to spend as much as you did — I don’t know that I could have “convinced” myself to do the same! 😉

    In some ways, I almost have the opposite problem, actually. I’ve become so adept at talking myself out of purchasing anything except absolute needs (… and even then, sometimes…) that I sometimes almost agonize over spending money, even when I’ve set it aside for that exact purpose. For example, I got a gift card for Chapters last year, and only recently was I able to convince myself (after much deliberation) to actually spend it on a book that I’d been wanting for ages.

    So now my challenge isn’t to cut back on spending, but to cut myself some slack — even just $10-20/mo might save me some of that “over-frugal” headache 😉

  4. I’m the same way but probably even worse. Last year we set a new budget category of blow money for the whole year for any personal expenses including dining out. I only managed to spend $224 for the whole year. I’m such an anti-consumer now.

  5. Yup,Frugality can be habit forming.
    Sometimes I go a little over board with it and I have to force myself to actually spend some money.

    Replacing things that break is fairly easy,but when buying a new item or replacing something that is dying a slow death,the decision gets much harder.

  6. Saying “Oh that’s nice, but I’ll never use it” seems to be normal spending habits. When you buy something knowing that you will never use it seems unhealthy. What movies did you wait so long for?

  7. Hazy,

    It’s so true, when something still ‘sort of’ works it takes so much longer to get around to replacing it. Trust me I had to talk myself a bit into that new coat.


    Shawshank Redemption – I had the VHS copy and was wanting to replace it with a DVD copy, but I didn’t want to pay that much for a new copy. Hence I waited for years to find a cheap widescreen copy.

    The other movies were the first two Batman movies. I’m a Tim Burton film fan. Batman in all dark and Gothic backgrounds. Classic Burton for $11 each.


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