Sunday, December 4, 2011

Catching up on the Financial Peace Planner: Stuffitis

The problem with wanting the best
Image by Danilo Rizzuti

Have I been procrastinating on keeping up with the Planner program?  You bet I have.  One of the goals of this blog is to make myself accountable and practice building good habits.  But it’s so darn easy to fall back into the old habits.  Procrastinating, pretending my bills don’t exist, putting off the hard work.  It’s a lot easier to write fun blog posts about chicken recipes and try out new and cheaper ways of doing things than it is to face up to the major problems. 

Major Problem Number One:  According to the Planner, I have “stuffitis.”  I try not to.  But I do.  Apparently if you check more than one statement in the little quiz, you have it.  I checked two, so it’s only a slight case and, most likely, curable.  Gavin has this condition far worse than I do.  That’s not me placing blame; he’s totally upfront about it. 

Here’s the statements I checked:

  1.  “It’s not unusual for me to say ‘It’s only a few dollars extra’ when I’m shopping for something I want.”
  2.  “So I spent $100 on a pair of running shoes.  The top of the line lasts longer.”

I can sit here and try to justify those responses (and believe me, I can justify damn near anything), but I’m not going to.  I’m going to accept that this is a problem.  It does no good to catch a great deal on chicken if I go out and blow $40 on a dinner out because I didn’t feel like cooking.  I have several bills piled up on my desk that I could be putting that $40 towards, and there’s really no excuse. 

I do like to have nice things.  When I can get nice things at a lower price, it can sometimes be seen as a justification to purchase something I don’t really need.  This time of year is especially difficult.  I don’t just like to have nice things, I like to give nice things.  It’s fun to have someone unwrap something you got them and see a big smile on their face because it’s just what they wanted. 

If you look around our place, you might say “How can these people be in financial trouble?”  We have two desktop PCs, our son has a laptop, we have a flat-screen TV, an Xbox, a Wii… and that’s just the living room.  Well, the PCs have been mostly cobbled together (it’s nice to have a hubby who knows his way around a computer), the laptop was purchased several years ago and is no longer of much use other than as a word processor, the Wii was purchased as a family Christmas gift quite some time ago, and the Xbox and the flat-screen were both donations from people who had more than one. 

So why don’t we just sell these items and pay off the darn bills?  Well, I work online, and Gavin sometimes has to communicate online with his job, and we both really like our games.  So, come to think of it, I actually meet one more of the criteria for “stuffitis”:  “I can’t get rid of my boat/truck/Andy Warhol print.  That would leave a huge hole in my life.”  Just substitute TV/computer/Xbox for the other items.

I’ll keep working through Chapter 2.  This is usually the point where most debt plans make you actually pull out all your bills and figure out your debt.  I have to confess:  I’m pretty scared of that part.


  1. I don't feel very inspiring at the moment, but thank you. Gavin and I came to the realization this morning that we can't possibly afford to get our copies of the Star Wars game. We are disappointed, to say the least. I hate having to say no. Pretty sure there's going to be a post about that...