Does money ever just feel like it’s burning a hole in your pocket? If I’m being honest, that’s a big reason why I don’t carry cash. It’s too easy and too tempting to spend.
But even when I’m budgeting, tracking my expenses, and tucking paper bills out of sight and out of mind, I still get the urge to shop from time to time.
The last time this impulse struck, it was because my baby was starting part-time daycare. Even the three blind mice could spot the emotional trigger behind that desire to spend.
But sometimes it hits out of the blue, and this weekend was one of those weekends. Thankfully, I got myself in line. But it was stacking up to be quite the spend-fest otherwise.
Here’s everything I tried to buy…and what I actually purchased.
Everything I Tried to Buy My Toddler This Weekend
Presented without commentary (yet), here’s everything that landed in my carts–virtual and real-life–this weekend.
|Toy Road Roller||Goodwill||$9.99 (it was also covered in mud and maybe broken?)|
|Toy Dump Trucks||Goodwill||$0.50 each|
|Bowling Pin set in case||Goodwill||$2.99|
|Mega Blocks set in case||Goodwill||missing price sticker|
|Assorted 2T toddler long-sleeve shirts & pants||Kohls||$93.47 (without 20% off coupon code)|
|2T 4-piece pajama set||Target||$14.97|
|Snowsuit||Kohls||$40.00 (unless I did BOGO 50% off)|
|LILLABO train turntable||IKEA||$3.99|
|LILLABO 20-piece basic train set||IKEA||$9.99|
|LILLABO toy crane||IKEA||$2.99|
|2T 4-piece pajama set||Carter’s||$16.99 (A doorbuster!)|
|Insulated snow bibs||Carter’s||$45|
|Peppa Pig George Dino-Raur Hoodie||Amazon||$20|
|Peppa Pig Color Wonder coloring sheets||Amazon||$7|
Grand Total – $249.56 plus taxes
Looking back at this list, I see a few things he legitimately needs. But mostly, I see that I clearly fall for 1.) email marketing, 2.) “Customers Also Bought” buttons, and 3.) just about everything else.
What I Actually Bought Him
Trucks & Bowling Pin Set – $4.33
After spending the afternoon playing down the block with the neighbors, HP really wanted some trucks. Specifically, he wanted more trucks for his box of pea gravel that we keep in the basement. Unlike our neighbors’ set up, his construction site is accessible 24/7 rain or shine. We found two dump trucks at Goodwill for $1 total. Plus, I scooped up a bowling pin set for $3. I’m putting that away for him for Christmas.
7 Pieces of Toddler Clothing – $0.55*
The clothing total actually clocked in at just over $32, but I still had a merchandise credit from a bunch of Christmas returns that HP didn’t need at the time. That means that put less than a dollar on my Kohl’s charge. I also got $3 cashback with Ebates, so it worked out pretty well. I’m mostly missing our hand-me-downs though.
RELATED POST: Should I Feel Guilty for Accepting Hand-Me-Downs?
Kid’s Meal – $3.49 plus tax
We don’t eat out all that often, but we were out and about, and it’s kind of a commitment to be out where we were running errands. Plus, I was stalling on grocery shopping. Dinner at IKEA it was! Truthfully, HP likes their green beans as much as their fries. This is money well spent!
Wooden Crane & Train – $2.99 plus tax
Earlier this year, we got a hand-me-down wooden train set. It was over 10 years old, and it definitely needs a few pieces. We’ve already bought a few of the straight wood pieces to make the track a bit bigger. Then I discovered that IKEA put the crane and train on clearance (from $7.99), so I was happy to buy it for him. Our wooden train set is now complete.
Yogurt Pouch – $0.79 plus tax
As a parent, I am a professional Snack Handler. My backpack runneth over with snacks, and I can usually count on my husband to fill up his pockets as well. Still, HP loves to add things to the grocery cart, and he’s very skilled at finding the baby and toddler food pouches. It’s less than a dollar, and it’s the only thing he ever asks for at the store. Sold.
Weekend Total – $12.15
We earmark $100 a month on spending for each of us. Sometimes, that looks like a whole bunch of diapers and other times it’s tuition for a park district class. Then, there are months where it seems like it’s mostly just treats. This month will likely be a mix of both. There’s a play center we’d like to check out with him, and I really do think we have to spring for a pair of shoes and maybe snow pants.
The Balancing Act of Spending
So much of money is a gray area. The line between needs and wants is never as firm as money experts make it seem. I am finding that being a mom only complicates things further.
Babies and toddlers (like their grown counterparts) have very few actual needs. But I’m not interested in raising a Future Stoic, as much as I think my toddler really does teach me about minimalism. That means that I’m OK with welcoming some comforts into our lives. But I’m constantly shocked at how quickly I allow one need or one want to turn into dozens.
We needed a few pieces of clothing; I tried to buy the entire toddler section.
HP wanted a truck; I let him litter the floor with options at Goodwill.
It’s really easy as a parent to say that kids are expensive. There’s also quite a bit of truth to it (I’m looking at you, diapers and daycare). But a lot of what would amount to a massive expense isn’t actually a need or a want of my son’s. It’s a want of my own.
I want to buy him things. Things he doesn’t need or want. As odd as this sounds, I suspect I am far from the only parent who feels this way.
Left unchecked, I could very easy spend far too much on my child. That’s why it’s necessary for me to reflect–I want to keep my cash and have less clutter, thankyouverymuch. Plus, that 529 isn’t going to fill itself.
So Tell Me…Did you reign in any purchasing decisions this weekend?