I love my readers, and I especially love it when they comment on some of my dumber statements.
If you've read the comments to my April Update, then you've met Mike. Mike, politely but emphatically, thinks I'm making a mistake spending a lot of money on my sister's birthday gifts when that money could better be spent reducing my considerable debts. My woefully inadequate response is that "I can't explain it, but I do have to do this." Mike's heard that one before and he's not buying it.
Let's get one thing straight: Mike is right and Grace is wrong.
That doesn't mean I'm not going to spend the money on my sister, because I am. But he's right that I shouldn't.
By way of apology, I used to have a much longer lists of things I 'had' to have or money I 'had' to spend. I had to have expanded cable--how else to watch new movies and catch every chapter of "Game of Thrones?" I had to buy books--reading is important when I commute by bus, and then, there's my Kindle Fire that my sister gave me for Christmas. I had to buy coffee and pastries every morning--it set the pace for the rest of my day.
Over time, I have managed to reduce most of these 'have to haves.' The public library solves a lot of the problems. They have DVD's and if I can't get the new movie fast enough through them, there's always Redbox. The library has the whole first season of "Game of Thrones" and it's more fun to watch all the episodes back-to-back, The library even has books for my kindle. Buying coffee beans and bringing coffee to the office has saved me a bundle, and who knew that Toaster Strudel travels just fine in a briefcase, especially when the office kitchen has a toaster? It's not free but it's a lot cheaper than the $4.25 a morning I used to spend.
I find that working around a 'want' is easier for me than giving something up completely.
I used to have an annual pass to my city's art museum. These days, I still see all the exhibits, but I do it the first weekend of each month when I can flash my Bank of America checking account and get in for free.
I still love to eat out, but I've discovered Happy Hour can substitute for dinner and gives me access to the great dishes my foodie city is known for. (Then there are the food carts that are all over this city, including across the street from my office. A fair number of chefs here have started with a food cart.)
My sister is a different kind of problem. I adore her, though it was not always that way. When we were growing up, she was the pretty, popular kid while I was the smart bookworm. She went to MY senior prom while I stayed home and cried. But growing up helps a lot of relationships and it certainly helped ours. She is my best friend even though she lives on the East Coast and I'm here on the West Coast. We have a tradition of extravagant gifts to each other on birthdays and at Christmas. I have definitely cut back on my level of extravagance, but I'm not willing to eliminate it.
And no, I can't really explain it.
But there it is!