Wise Woman and I had a conversation a while back that is resonating with me lately. She recounted a time when she was looking for the perfect backpack. She kept buying them and for some reason she'd need another because that one wasn't perfect. It became clear to her that she was looking for the backpack that would make her happy, but no backpack would make her happy if she wasn't already happy.
You can see why I call her Wise Woman.
For some reason I've been spending money like I'm printing it. I think I'm going after the perfect backpack or something and it has to change. If I had to guess, I'd say it is a habitual stress reaction to the first year of a long-distance relationship combined with dissertation stress. Neither of those things will go away with the purchases I've been making.
I'm going to put away the American Express card. The good thing about the AMEX is that it makes me pay the bill in full every month, which is much better than paying interest on the money and getting deeper into debt. The bad thing is that the end of the billing period is just far enough away that it doesn't quite seem real and thus I spend more than I should. This month, even with extra money for summer teaching, it will still take a huge chunk of my monthly salary to pay the bill. I end up being worried about being able to pay it, which adds to the stress loop.
So, for this month I'm going to live within my immediate means. I know that if I suck it up for the next four weeks, July will be easier because I won't have a huge AMEX bill to pay. That will get me off of the AMEX treadmill of using it for little things (that all add up, but that I HAVE to have), because I don't have the cash to get them...
I think this summer I'm going to work on developing a new habit of being better about money. Hubby and I make enough money to live nicely and we certainly make enough to do what we need to do as well as what we want to do.
If I can get in the habit of going to the gym AND get into good money habits, I'm only left with being a lazy housekeeper and lax about my writing... and I doubt those are going t change soon :).