Why My Coin is Broken

This post was featured in Carnival of Personal Finance #333!

This post was featured in Yakezie Carnival, Just Another Day Edition!

Warning: if you love budgets, if you enjoy planning your financial future, if you invest wisely , save diligently, spend carefully, if you hope to retire early, this post might be disturbing to read. It might stir some negative emotions. It might make you mad and think that I have no right to be a PF blogger. Read at your own risk and feel free to say what you think in the comments section below.

Before I confess all my financial sins, let me explain why I ended up sinning. However, please realize that I am not trying to make excuses for myself. What I am trying to do is to explain why I enjoy my financial sins as much as I do.

I was born and raised in the Soviet Republic of Lithuania. The rich were frowned upon. The poor were respected. The Soviet Union stores were dull, dark, depressing and unfilled. Even if they would have been bright, cheerful and overflowing with goods, not a lot of people would be able to afford to shop anyway. We had lines to get winter boots. We had lines to get mayonnaise. We had lines to get milk. You name it, and we had lines to get it.

We lived the lives that I cannot comprehend right now. But as Leo Tolstoy said:

There are no conditions of life to which a man cannot get accustomed, especially if he sees them accepted by everyone around him.

Eleven years forward, and I moved to the United States where I discovered credit card galore. My first credit limit was set at $500 while I was making minimum wage as a business intern with the Small Business Administration. From there things just escalated. The more money I was making, the more I was spending. And I am not talking cash.

Consider this post my financial confession that is a long time overdue. I am not your regular personal finance blogger. Even though, I love talking about money, I am very opposite to most of the personal finance bloggers.

–  I have a serious spending problem. I try to battle this trait fiercely, and I lose miserably every single time. I love shopping for clothes, shoes, bags, art and books. Show me a good leather bag, and I will salivate all over it. Nine times out of ten I will get it. 

–  I am not a frugal person. First of all, a spender cannot be frugal. Second, frugality involves research and thoughtful decision making. I shop on a whim. I am an emotional, impulsive shopper, a favorite of all salespeople. I get things when I want them and not when I NEED them. Wants rule my choices.

–  I am not a disciplined saver. I try to set important saving goals, make budgets and live following those budgets. I make them my Bible. My shopping-less life usually lasts a couple of months, and then I get seduced by alluring mall lights and go on shopping binges. To make things worse, I spend money on things that I don’t need, and end up donating them six months later.

The name of this blog symbolizes my failed attempts to be a disciplined saver and a diligent budgeter. My coin is broken, and I need to fix it.

So, here I am, a spender and a shopaholic who wants :

  • to control spending
  • to curb shopping addiction… enthusiasm
  • to reduce appeal of material things

and most importantly, most desperately:

  • to improve finances

I cannot make a promise that I will not shop or will stop lusting after shoes, bags and lipsticks because I know that I will not. My discipline is not that sturdy. My will is weak and can be easily overpowered with shoes and bags. However, I want to attempt to take control over my wants.

I am going to attempt to monitor my shopping habits and improve my saving efforts. The journey to fixing My Broken Coin, begins here.

Interested to keep track of my failures and victories? Please subscribe to this blog by RSS or email.

34 thoughts on “Why My Coin is Broken”

  1. Welcome back 🙂

    I think that you’re not alone either. There are many people who start out blogging about personal finance because they’ve got something going on financially that they want to fix. (For example, I started because I wanted to commit to writing daily and to learn something about money and get in better shape money-wise.)

    One thing in particular struck me that you said:

    “I try to set important saving goals, make budgets and live following those budgets. I make them my Bible. My shopping-less life usually lasts a couple of months, and then I get seduced by alluring mall lights and go on shopping binges.”

    It sounds like you either have trouble with moderation (which, I do too in other areas — food *cough * food) or you’re not including enough shopping your budget. A budget shouldn’t equal a shopping-less life. Go ahead and put fun things in there! I budget should help you get to your goals, and I doubt your goals include a shopping-less life.

    1. I think it is both: moderation and not enough shopping budget. 🙂 This is a deadly combination for me and my wallet.

  2. haha. Amazing. I love the honesty – if only other pf bloggers were the same. Everyone has their faults. While not as explicit, I think others blog for similar reasons. Good luck. I’ll help keep you accountable. 😉

    1. Honesty is important in blogging I think. When I read someone’s blog, I want to be able to relate to the author. I want to see a human being behind the words, not just a business person who is talking about money. 🙂

  3. Welcome back!

    I think the main problem might be you don’t want anything more than your shopping. When you have a stronger motivation (you might not have stumbled upon that yet), you will be able to curb your impulse shopping. The trick to keep reminding you of that stronger motivation. For me it is buying our house and another personal life goal, everytime I see something I really want to buy all I have to do is to remind myself of those two things. That gives me the strength to walk past the stuff and not regret.

    1. Your somment made me thingk Suba. It seems that you could have nailed the problem. Partially. I do lack a stronger motivation and a goal that is very important to me. But also… I am not that strong of a woman who can pass a nice pair of shoes thinking that I need to stick to my goal of (whatever that is.) I might write about it! But your point is taken! 🙂

  4. I think Suba touched on something you may want to look at a little deeper. Do you have short-term and long-term goals that could help you to stick to your budget? If your budget does not fit your personality you will continue to struggle with your finances. Set your personal and financial goals first and then come up with a budget that will help you get there. Best of luck!

    1. Aha! Your approach is different approach from the one that I was taking. I always look at a budget and then try to fit goals into it. I do tend to stick to short term goals, i.e. saving for a vacation, much better than to long term goals, i.e. saving a downpayment. And I think I know why!

  5. Hmm, last time I checked the reason most of us blog about personal finance is because we are dealing with issues like this- we’re human! Kudos to you for coming out about this- many of us blog so we can deal with these bad spending habits, so don’t feel bad and be proud you have the guts to be honest!

    If you ever need anything, let me know, we need more women in PF blogging like you! 🙂

  6. I am not going to advice you on anything. Will keep watchful eyes on your proceeding, knowing that you might disappear from the scene again.

    Just want to share a thought. Every success depends on mind set, your mind set is not just the thoughts that occur in your mind but, it is the process of thought prioritization. You take complete control of this prioritization process and you conquer the world.

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  8. It sometimes takes a shock to the system. Three years ago, I would have told you my husband and I were responsible with money, we didn’t spend frivolously, etc. Sure we had some credit card debt, but didn’t everyone? And no, we didn’t really need that new cooking gadget, but we could “afford” it, etc.
    Then my husband lost his job and we had to figure out how to live on my salary before unemployment ran out. Talk about a crash course in financial responsibility. Now, we got “lucky” in that his unemployment coincided with the recession, so instead of 6 months of UE, he got almost 2 years, and before it ran out, I got a major promotion. But that first 6 months, we didn’t know any of that was going to happen and were just struggling, knowing we might have to sell a car that was only 5 months from being paid off in order to keep the house.
    Now, I hope very much that you can find financial discipline in an easier manner, but trust me, we’ve all been there. And just knowing you have the problem, that really is the most important step.

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  10. On your statement “no right to be a PF blogger”, that’s the beauty of personal finance, it’s a story your story and thoughts.

    Unless we walk the path that you have walked, we won’t every truly understand where you are coming from. Your past make you special in the personal finance world, and I think your battles and triumphs will be exciting material to read.

    I hate budgets, so I just get my credit card bill at the end of each month, then based on the balance, make up for it in the next months to so. It’s not 100% accurate, but I’m too busy to be too meticulous about it.

    What an exciting journey you are in for! 🙂 Think of many of the pf bloggers as friends that care and want to see you succeed in life and blogging!

    1. Thank you for a very encouraging, supportive and understanding comment. I wish I could use my c/c for budgets. But they are still too dangerous for me. 😉

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  13. Love the honest confession. Are you trying to change your ways or just sharing your on going struggle? Do you think you have a problem or are you actually living the right way and the overly frugal folks have it wrong? Nice to see you again, but stay away from my wife. Haha! 🙂

    1. I am trying to take control of my spending habits. I am also sharing my experience about this very personal struggle. It is both. 🙂 And, I do need to talk to your wife! 😉

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