2009-08-12 / Loose Ends

Setting financial rules

Susan Nienow

Though I have tried to support our economy, it has become clear that I had better cut back - not spend my way out of this global financial crisis. At least I think that is what my other half said.

I don't have many financial rules for myself, but one of them is to stay out of the stores when they are practically paying people to shop. Usually that is the end of the season - the 75 percent off rack, so to speak. But the end of the season starts at least by the middle of the season in "retail-speak."

So I let my guard down, gathered my coupons and set off in the car, determined to buy only what I needed. My other half asked exactly what I needed, and I told him I would know it when I saw it.

Actually once I was on the road I remembered I was looking for black capris - still. And I found a pair. With the sale price, the additional discount on all sale items and a dog-eared coupon, they came to $10. And they have pockets and three buttons down the side of each leg. The final test is washing them and hoping they don't shrink, fade or fall apart.

Since I had already broken my own rule, I went ahead and bought a T-shirt that goes with the pants. It was a "special value," and I hope it goes through the wash intact.

Summer is plant catalog time for fall planting, and I have to pay attention to rule No. 2 - don't order more than I am willing to plant. That is actually my other half's rule. He reminds me every time he helps me finish planting more bulbs than I should have ordered. My rule No. 2 is make sure I get value for the money.

I have found a great wholesale bulb catalog. It definitely offers value for the money. The more I order, the cheaper each bulb is. If I order 50 daffodil bulbs, it is $32, but 500 is only $300. I wonder how long it would take to plant 500 bulbs? But really, how many bulbs do I need?

One of my kids is a minimalist. I envy that. I am a maximalist. I like stuff. So instead of shopping for more stuff, I am collecting dried things from the yard. If it takes up enough space, then I won't feel lonely.

Another shopping rule is to always buy shoes that fit. Sounds obvious, but this shoe lover can be lured into buying "sit down only" shoes by color and style, even a few sequins. So, in the interest of saving money, shoes now have to fit - sitting or standing. Walking in them also has to be part of the equation.

A rule I am struggling with is to refrain from buying anything I already have. How picky do I have to be about determining what I already have?

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