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How A Wave Of Emotions Can Derail The Best Laid Plans

April 29, 2015

I didn’t see it coming. It only happens to other people.ReleasingInnovation

I have my weaknesses but being an impulsive spender is usually not one of them. Last weekend’s experience taught me just how easy it is to lose control.

The Story

Last Saturday, my daughter Julie and I were enjoying some mother daughter time over one of our favourite activities- you guessed it; shopping! Our challenge was to find some cheap and cheerful items to spruce up a dreary bedroom that my son vacated 2 years ago when he moved out. I’ve always hated his bedroom. It stares me in the face from the top of our staircase. It’s the only room in our house that’s never been touched since we moved in eighteen years ago.

Armed with a minuscule budget and a daughter with expensive taste, I was determined to master the task anyway. Julie is more of a spender while I (rather obsessively) am the practical one- always on the hunt for a good deal. I knew Julie would need “reigning in” and I came prepared. Isn’t it always more fun to spend someone else’s money?

As we browsed through the merchandise in our favourite home decor store, I found myself getting more excited. I’ve waited a long time to finally LOVE my spare bedroom. We passed by a gorgeous white leather chair- wouldn’t it look lovely in my new room? The possibilities became endless- pretty lamps, cozy wool carpet, a sunburst mirror, vases with fresh flowers, a gorgeous duvet with geometric throw pillows, a pretty piece of modern art. My heart was racing and I couldn’t wait to try out some new ideas. Finally this bedroom would be one that I wanted to spend time in!

Much to my surprise, I started loading our shopping carts with these amazing finds. As I pictured the transformation of my room, I found myself wanting more and more to make it even better. Conveniently, I ignored the tight budget. Who really cares about money if my new room is going to look beautiful? I was shocked- this attitude is SO NOT LIKE ME!

As I paid the bill (about 5 times more expensive than I planned), I couldn’t wait to see the items in my room. The whole time, Julie had a strange look on her face- what happened to her frugal mother?

The Lesson

If this kind of spending behaviour came over me (the careful accountant), I can only imagine the impact on someone else! What do people do when this happens?

Thank-goodness for the passage of time (and return policies). Over the next few days, I came back to earth (and to my senses).

With help from Julie (and a reminder from my bigger spending priorities), we significantly paired down our purchases. I was thrilled that my daughter took charge and used her design creativity to eliminate the unnecessary. Happily, we returned all but the most economical things with the biggest impact. Best of all, I LOVE my new room (and those returned purchases are barely a distant memory).

What if these crazy emotions came over me when I was buying a home or a car? Would have been an expensive lesson (and not easily returnable)!

Emotions (of any kind) have a powerful effect on our behaviour with money. I’m sure I don’t need to tell YOU that. I can only hope I remember these words before my next big shopping trip. If I don’t, will you please remind me?!

Related Posts:

Take Control Of Your “Cost Of Life” Before It Controls You

How To Make Great Financial Decisions

Peeling Back The Layers Of Why We Spend

Proud founder of this blog Let’s Talk About Money, Patricia Gass, CPA, CA, provides personal finance coaching and education to improve your money skills. Follow her on linkedin, twitter or pinterest.

Photo courtesy of scottpropp.com

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