How I Learned Not to Shop


This blog is an update as well as an advice providing write-up. When I first started getting paid for my job as a receptionist in 2007/2008, I was more like a kid in a candy store then a responsible graduate who had taken business and math courses that had focused partially on dealing with money.

But the year I became ill with a psychotic episode via Depression I started to not spend my money even less well. Luckily, I was only $1700.00 in debt so my Dad could pay that off for me with money he had saved for me from when I was paying rent at home. But 4 years later I really got into debt to the tune of $17 000 and with interest once I had my Dad co-sign a loan so I could pay down almost a small car with interest. I have been doing that paying down $381.00 a month every month since I got into debt.

This was a very stupid thing to do although I must mention I think it did have something to do with a mini-episode of depression or some type of mood disorder during this time as even at that time I could not remember doing it. Just that I came back after a small vacation in Montreal that was all paid for and sometime between paying for that vacation and returning from it in May, I got into debt in approximately 3 months.

By this time I was on disability and making even less then the little I made as a receptionist. And making even $380.00 less then that amount has made my budget very tight. I wasn’t able to save that little amount per month for a small vacation a year, I wasn’t able to shop anywhere even near the amount I had been shopping, even keeping a budget that would provide enough so I could get everything I need each month would become a challenge with medical costs etc.

So, I stopped shopping online altogether at first. Then, I only shopped for what I needed. Every time I saw a dress or pair of shoes I wanted a great deal but I didn’t have the money for I would pin the item on Pinterest. As you can guess, there was a lot of pinning going on at first especially with my impulse spending ways. Eventually I might keep items I liked in my shopping cart and if I very much liked the item, after a a month or two, I might purchase it providing I had an event to wear it to or nothing similar in my wardrobe.

That was the worst of my shopping. At the mall I was pretty good even before I had debt. The tactile quality of an item made me a lot more careful when spending my money. I preferred to spend my money at malls on makeup and I only had so much cash to spend at one time because I rarely used credit cards, and still practice that. And if I spent on them I always paid them off.

The other way I spent less money was quitting a weight loss program called Herbal magic which saved me about $400.00 a month and was the bulk of my debt. It paid for my loan payment every month. It was hard to do but I had only lost about 10 lbs on it due to my medications and it was simply too expensive. The only thing that worked about it was the idea of losing weight by cutting your portion size. All the herbs required were a crazy amount of money.

Now, I have stayed out of debt a year and a half. I’m still budgeting carefully according to what I need each month and I pay careful attention to what I but and the balance on my credit cards and bank account. I think if this is possible for me to do on a very small budget, it is possible for anyone, even on a large budget. It is also important, to know your weaknesses and walk away when you don’t have the money to buy the item you want.

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Automatic – Hey Whatever Happened to. . .


” . . . It all just seems so good the way we had it back before everything became Automatic…” – Miranda Lambert

HealthSometimes life speeds up and sometimes life slow downs. I feel as if this summer has sped on by and I haven’t had the chance to enjoy it. I have spent a great deal of time sleeping and in bed and the situation has not become better until this last week when thinking back to when my health began to slide down hill I remembered we lowered one of my medications. Once I began to increase that medication I have become much healthier. I look better and feel better and even though I’m not  good enough to go to a class at night or study for a few hours everyday I feel hopeful for once that I can go back to that point. In short, I feel better now, I feel like I can do activities again and I don’t need to sleep for more than an hour or so in the day.

But I was thinking about this song  Automatic by Miranda Lambert, it’s one of my favorite songs lately, and I thought that she makes a sewing machine oldstrong point. Where would we be without all our technology? Was life better when we could just take time to do an activity instead of having technology making it easy to do in seconds?

If you were to ask my Mom who is a quilter I’m sure she would say that the new sewing machines are better and easier to use then the old sewing machines that her Grandma used or even the sewing machines they had in 70’s when she was sewing her own clothes. And I have to say I most definitively like a Smart Phone over the flip phones or original bulky cell phones that some of my friend’s parents had in the 90’s.and early 2000’s. I think it’s so easy that I can go on the internet, that google maps can show me where to go to get somewhere from where ever I am, that all my music is on my phone, that I can have my own phone and # and have that privacy and that I can take notes on my tablet;  I can bring my phone or tablet where ever I go.

iphone_5s_6_grassI understand Miranda Lambert’s view because many times I see people walking and not looking where there going, talking or looking on their Smart Phone. And it seems  like even though we have computers and all this technology we are having worse effects on the environment. For instance, a paperless office was once surmised to exist one day and we are only using more paper then ever.

Additionally, I think that sometimes the ability to order anything you like on the internet and have it sent  to your house in 2 days is not necessarily a great thing. It’s a way I got into debt myself in the past and I think sometimes it’s too easy to buy something because we don’t think about whether we need or would actually wear or use the items we buy. Also, sometimes we spend as much money as we save returning items we bought on the internet.

And doesn’t it seem that this new technology seems to break down more than old technology  – photocopiers, computers, phones, appliances, and even cars. We have things that are “automatic” but what is the good if these items are not quality. My parents first fridge lasted them 30 years, now the appliance companies are aiming to make stoves that are no longer working in 10 years. Isn’t this wasteful?

But I think there is another meaning to the song Automatic. I think “automatic” is a way we live our lives, an attitude. Like are bored womantechnology that has gone automatic we are acting in away that is automatic. We don’t think about what we say to other people. We are too caught up in our technology and the other parts of our life.

We don’t even bother to talk to each other in the same household sometimes we just send a text. We act the way that the media tells us — books, movies, video games — we are sometimes lacking originality and thoughtfulness. For example, maybe we think that champagne and roses is the right way to propose to our partner but we don’t consider what our partner would in their own mind find romantic, maybe we don’t get to know them well enough or talk about the situation enough first.

We give gift cards which may be nice, instead of being thoughtful about a gift, It is as if these things have become ingrained in us and become automatic. We hold stereotypes that the media personifies, maybe about people with certain illnesses like AID’s or mental illnesses and people of certain nationalities. I think the song Automatic talks about a way of thinking and acting towards one another just as much as it talks about our technology.

hospitalOne good example I see lately of things having gone automatic is healthcare in Canada. Should it become automatic for us to wait 14 to whatever hours in an emergency room when we really need to go to the hospital? Some people need help now and you are just making their illness worse by making them wait. Some people for instance aren’t able to wait that long in a waiting room, they are too sick and too frail.

There has to be a way that we spend more money on healthcare, so that there are more hospital beds for people and more doctors and nurses to take care of them. Should it be automatic that a person that it so depressed they are going to kill themselves has to wait to get into the psyche ward? Or a person who needs a kidney replaced has to wait forever until they are near death to get a kidney replacement?

These are just thoughts; this is something I have seen on the News lately. And it disgusts me. And I really think it has become automatic to act certain ways in the healthcare system just as we act automatic towards one another and with our technology. This is something I see in the overworked hospital staff, in emergency workers, in a government we elected that doesn’t seem to care enough. What do you think?

As for my health, I’m glad that I never had to go to the hospital because who knows if I would have made it  in? I’m glad I can deal with my illness from my home. and I hope that you can live your lives better than in an automatic mode.