Abandon The Cart!

First Lady Michelle Obama - Stylish, and Prudent!

First Lady Michelle Obama - stylish, and prudent!

You wrap your hands around your shopping cart and feel your heartbeat quicken as you enter the store. Your senses are heightened by that familiar junk-food aroma particular to Target. You take the long way to the work-out clothes department. You want a quick peak at the women’s clothing.

You suddenly remember that Target’s latest clothing line is called “Mrs. O.”  It just hit the stores. You love Michelle Obama’s style. You might be able snag an item or two for next to nothing before everyone else does! And there they are! A yellow sheath dress – $34.99!  A teal knit cardigan – $19.99! A black patent cincher belt – $17.99!  Green kitten heels – 32.99!  A teal-yellow-green floral brooch – 12.99! All go flying into the cart. You finally make it to the athletic clothing section and snag some new yoga pants at $19.99 and two work-out bras at $8.99 each. Woo-hoo! Off to Costco!

At Costco, the smell of Polish hotdogs wafts across your consciousness. You make a bee-line for the paper goods section and load up your cart with bulk t.p, towels and facial tissue. You swing by the book section. “Costco always has such great prices on books. If I find a book I’ve been after..”

As luck would have it, The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis is $12.99. Amazon had it for $ 17.76 – into the cart it goes. “Wow! I’ve wanted the French Laundry cookbook forever! Only $19.99!”  A no-brainer.

On the way to the check-out line, you taste the granola bar samples. “Hey, not bad! I can take these to work and hold off the morning hunger pangs. A 48-pack seems like a lot, but these might save me from pizza at lunch.” Thunk! Into the cart go forty-eight granola bars!

It’s two and a half hours later when you finally make your way to the check-out counter. You look at your overloaded cart and it hits you – most of this stuff you didn’t have on your list.

The rationalization process begins, but this time it’s different. You know you’re fooling yourself. Disgustedly you think, “Jeez, I just met with my financial planner last week. I promised myself I’d stay on my budget. WHAT AM I DOING???!!!!”

Your mother always taught you to put things back where you got them, but Mom isn’t here. She is taking a back seat as you feel overcome with self-disgust and panic. So what do you do? You abandon the cart!!!

You then climb into your car – the one with the back seat overstuffed with the hottest new items from Target’s Mrs. O Collection – and you drive right back to Target and you return every last item. Because from this day forward, you’ve decided you’re going to stay on budget.

Congratulations. You’ve taken some key steps to financial freedom. Pat yourself on the back!