Thursday, June 19, 2008

It Ain't The Devil Making You Do It

Tip Of The Day: It’s time for your weekly mental check-up – Group Therapy Thursday, aka Your Cheapest Form Of Psychiatric Care (you know, FREE). This week’s topic is all about triggers – for behavior, not your gun.

Tip For Tomorrow: Updates on many many frugal topics and activities. Like my Blog Party 2008 – so stop by and see what fun we're going to get up to.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: Welcome, fearless readers, to Group Therapy Thursday, where we delve in to your psychological issues for FREE. It’s up to you to supply the coffee and stale donuts, though.

Real shrinks like to ask about one’s “trigger” behaviors. For instance, they’ll ask stuff like, “What were you doing when the urge struck you to eat a whole pie? Where were you at the time?” Then, they track your answers to figure out what’s triggering your aberrant behavior. Not that there’s anything WRONG with eating a whole pie, really.

Since I’m all about the frugal, I thought I’d pose a frugality-related trigger question – one to help you better understand yourself and your shopping patterns. Perhaps it will help you spend less and be thriftier. Perhaps it will piss you off. Who knows? But here goes:

What store makes you spend like Paris Hilton/Lindsay Lohan/Britney Spears on a booze and/or drug-fueled bender?

And because I like to keep my posts on the bright side of life, I’ll pose this second trigger question, one that’s a bit more positive:

What are you doing and where are you when inspiration strikes? In other words, what’s up when you have your best ideas?

As the Group leader, I’ll go first. Remember, Therapy only works if we all participate, so be ready to talk to Mr. Comments when I’m finished.

What store triggers a spending binge?
That’s easy, Target. There are so many things to buy there – food, clothes, beauty supplies, party favors, sporting goods, power tools – how can a person control themselves? It’s madness, I say.
The problem is I can justify every item I buy there. Very rarely are my purchases true splurges, (well, okay, I guess I really DON’T need another pair of shoes. But the TP is VERY necessary) and if they are, they’re so cheap it doesn’t count. Right?
Until I rack up a $100 bill on a trip to buy aspirin. That’s happened before. But those extra purchases REALLY made my head feel better.
So what’s the solution? Well, one thrifty reader o’mine says she only goes to Target twice a year and stocks up on everything her family needs for the next 6 months. That seems a bit extreme to me, and I don’t have really have the storage space to do that.
The solution I try to employ is the ubiquitous shopping list – make a list of exactly what I need to buy, what I’m willing to pay for it, and then (this is the tricky part) STICK TO IT. So far, so bad.

My Inspiration Trigger:
I get my best ideas and most brilliant plans while blow-drying my hair in the morning. It takes a good 15 minutes to make my hair look like that (see photo on the right), and it’s the most mindless activity in the world. Therefore, I try to interject some deep thinking while I’m at it. It’s that, or sing show tunes.
I also find inspiration in the shower, driving to work, and while cooking. So if I invite you over for dinner, chances are I had writer’s block that day.

Okay, I feel better for sharing. Now it’s your turn – what is your binge shopping trigger store? And what is your inspiration trigger activity. Group Therapy is now in session.


LaRue said...

SO EASY: Joann Fabrics. There are the sale patterns. There is the sale fabric. There is the remnant bin on EXTRA SUPER DUPER LOW SALE price. There are the lovely ladies that know me by name and tell me how much they like my haircut.

I tend to have my best ideas when responding to other peoples' blogs (seriously!) or when looking through other blogs/reading. I see something that sparks the idea of something else, and BLAMMO - a fabulous new idea/garment is born.

mia said...

The used bookstore does this to me. Also, the last two times I ran into Modell's and Finish Line to get a pair of socks because I forgot them on vacation, I ended up walking out with a bunch of clearance stuff I didn't know I needed.

I do a lot of thinking while walking ...DC is a very, very walkable city. But I do NOT talk to the monuments and ask them for advice (a la Legally Blonde or the Simpsons). That would just be too much.

Nikki said...

Going to the Mall of America. I need to just stay away from there. Especially during the summer months, when many stores have their 1/2 yearly sales, like Nordstrom and Bath & Body Works. I try to stay away from that mall as much as possible, because it's too visually stimulating!

Marketing Mama said...

I'm with ya on Target. Also Barnes and Noble. And let's not forget The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I can't get just one piece of chocolate when they have fudge, carmel apples, and so much more.

I have my best ideas at 3 in the morning when I should be sleeping, but instead obsessing about solving all the world's problems, well, just my problems really.

Anonymous said...

Bookstore - We have a B&N down the street. I sometimes think we support it by ourselves.

El Jefe

Shayne said...

SR Harris hands down. After having to take everything out of my sewing room and put it back a few days later after having a new floor installed, I have been forbade from buying anymore fabric. Like they know what I do all day.

My best ideas come in the shower (rarely under 10 minutes), on a walk, or while I am laying there for hours trying to fall asleep.

Anonymous said...

Two places: Rings and Things sale (bead / stone wholesale company that comes to town a couple of times a year and sets up in a hotel ballroom) and IKEA. Which is why a 15 minute dash through IKEA was absolutely unthinkable, and yet we did it.

Amy the Mon said...

Gertens/Bachmans/Linders in the summer, Nordstrom Rack any time of the year.

Plants and shoes, my weaknesses.