Money Madness and Coupon Insanity

A few weeks ago I checked out a book from the library called The Cure for Money Madness. I don't normally check out books like this but it was on a display shelf and caught my eye. For years I have tried to do a better job at living within my budget and dealing more effectively with money, and for years I felt like I have not done as well as I would like to. I didn't expect to learn much from the book because I feel like I know a lot already but I just don't know how to do it. It turns out that I've really been converted to this book; it's not the most well-written book and some of it is kind of lame, but the central ideas have been really eye-opening to me. It's actually a pretty simple concept: budgets don't work if you don't fix your emotional issues regarding money. He calls these ideas 'money madness' and talks about how everyone has certain money beliefs that drive their behaviors. If you don't confront those beliefs then you will spend the rest of your life with the same spending habits and the same money problems. He has a bunch of questions and things to help you figure out what your particular money issues are and what to do when you are fully conscious of them. If you can eventually get to a state where money is not an emotional issue you will be much more able to use it wisely.

For the last few weeks I've been learning about the ideas that I have about money, whether I learned them explicitly or not. Today I had an eye-opening experience that helped me see that one of my deep-seated beliefs is that "if I save money I am a good person (and maybe better than other people)". Saving money is not a bad thing, but I've done some pretty dumb stuff just to feel like a saver, because if I don't save money then I must be 'bad'. I already wrote about some of the results of my money issues in this post about not buying the sweater I wanted because it wasn't on sale.

This morning I went to Smiths to get a few things that we needed. As usual I had my list of things that were on sale along with my coupons to match them. One of the things I had on my list was the fact that earlier this week I had loaded an electronic coupon to my savings card. It was for a 'free deli tray' and was good for up to $10. I picked out a vegetable tray that was on display and went to buy my stuff. The tray coupon didn't come through, and though I was tempted to not make a big fuss and just pay for it, I didn't feel like buying a veggie tray (I wouldn't normally buy one at all, but we are having a birthday party tomorrow for P. Bibby). I had the cashier put the tray back and went to check at customer service. She told me that the tray I had tried to buy was from produce and that I would need to pick out a tray from the deli department. When I went there I found that the only trays that were $10 were some that had carrots and celery. That's all: carrots, celery, and some ranch dip. I briefly thought about not getting the tray; I could buy a bag of baby carrots for $1 and easily get a few other nicer vegetables for less than the price of the tray. Or I could take my mother-in-law up on her offer to bring a veggie tray. But unfortunately by now my mind was in the grip of 'money madness'. I wanted my free veggie tray, even if it was lame. So I even was willing to endure the humiliation of having to get the manager to help ring up my order because my card still wasn't working right. All of that just for a bunch of lame carrot and celery sticks. See what I mean about 'money madness'?


Julie said…
I had that happen the other day. I decided to check out this whole couponing thing. I had a manufacturer's coupon, plus a store coupon for Huggies, which I don't buy, plus they were having a sale if you bought two boxes you get a $5 gift card, so I did it. However, I didn't even really want two boxes and it turns out that it STILL would have been cheaper to buy the Luv's like I normally do. I'm still upset about that transaction!! It will be a while before I mess with that coupon stuff again!
Kristeee said…
Sounds like an interesting book. I'm terrible at using coupons, even if I take the time to clip them or whatever. I like to save money, but I think it's not always worth the "save 50 cents off of 4 boxes" - a dime here, a nickel there. I have a hard enough time making it to the store, you know?

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