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Can't stop buying crap for my kids, even though we've got no cash - what the F is wrong with me?

(20 Posts)
Sycamoretree Sun 07-Sep-08 21:30:31

DH got made redundant about 9 months ago - he's home now looking after the kids so at least we aren't paying childcare anymore. But we're just come back from an expensive holiday which we booked before he lost his job, and we are skint. We are more skint because of bloody credit crunch crappy mortgage renewal deal, and whilst I find it completely easy to never spend a penny on myself or DH in terms of new clothes or whatever, or shop sarnies (making own for work now), I just can't stop buying clothes, toys and general baby paraphenalia that we frankly could do without. I'm not talking pathological (it's stuff I would probably buy if we were feeling flush - ha ha, can't remember that feeling) but new clothes for DD just cos they are so pretty. New bibs just cos old ones have a few stains etc. I'm driving myself crazy. I feel sick about it - and DH is going to find out soon when he sees I"m just pissing away all our hard won ebay kitty. HELP!

serin Sun 07-Sep-08 23:00:51

Well at least you have admitted to yourself that you don't need this stuff!! Do you buy in shops or on line??

If it is from shops maybe it's the getting out and going somewhere/ doing something that you enjoy, so maybe you could try to change your routine and make time to visit the local gym or go for a hike or something instead.

If you are buying online, then you need to log on to Mumsnet instead!

Also you couldwrite lists of all that you need to buy and make yourself stick to it.
I have found that if I draw money out at the beginning of the week and don't carry a cash/credit card with me I spend a lot less.

Sycamoretree Sun 07-Sep-08 23:16:12

Have been thinking about dumping the cards - read somewhere once that you should freeze them in a block of ice...hmmm, can't really function without at least my debit card though. Not really buying online - more in shops. Like DD really did need slipper, but I had to go to H&M 3 times in a weeks to keep checking if they had her size cos they said they get orders everyday. They had them on third day, but by time I went for them, had bought so much other stuff for the kids that I never intended to. This was in my lunch break....

Yes, I think it is the something to do...cos the kids don't even appreciate it - like kids care less if they have new jimjams or whatever until they get older...I think maybe I'm looking for ways to spend that I can justify? i.e. kids stuff is cheaper, and I can pretend to myself it's ok cos it's for them, not me? But really, it's for me, if you know what I mean. I also shop ebay but I click to watch loads of stuff then at the end of looking, I just feel guilty and delete all the watched items...

cupsoftea Sun 07-Sep-08 23:17:26

Pay in cash only

expatinscotland Sun 07-Sep-08 23:18:28

spend more time with them rather than buying for them. it's free and much more satisfying.

cargirl Sun 07-Sep-08 23:21:26

you are probably buying stuff to give you the feel good factor to cheer yourself up about your dire situation. However it is short lived and doesn't help at all does it?

Can you discuss with your dh how you are feeling, can you ask him just to listen and comfort you about how exactly worried/scared you are so the elephant is out in the open and you don't have to secretly splurge anymore to make yourself feel good?

Can you turn it about and set yourselves a challenge on how little you spend each week, so you have something to drive at - perhaps you and dh could have it as a competition?

Sycamoretree Sun 07-Sep-08 23:24:23

I think the challenge idea is good.

Expat - not sure how helpful that comment is. If you read my OP you'll see my DH is out of work and I am working my arse off full time to make the mortgage - am splurging in my lunch hours - work on a high street - a very big one in a big city - can't move for shops. I spend every avail moment I can with my LO's - maybe part of the prob is I've had to drop my Friday's off to help with the financial situation

cargirl Sun 07-Sep-08 23:31:50

Can you and dh menu plan together, go to Aldi etc and set yourselves the challenge of what to spend for the week and perhaps reward yourselves for a good week ie with a £4 bottle of wine? Perhaps you need to think dc1 would like this, set your dh the challenge of how cheaply he can get it on ebay etc?

I don't know it's about changing your mindset but it must be very hard when you're struggling with your mortgage payments.

Set up a christmas gift fund for the family so everything you come under budget by goes in the pot - make it a glass vase so you can see it visibly. Can you get some books out of the library to read at lunch times rather than set foot out the office?

expatinscotland Sun 07-Sep-08 23:36:43

how helpful?

um, i read the OP.

and you didn't say you were spending your lunch hour doing this or much about your work situation, even that you were working full-time.

how i was supposed to read your mind and come up with a solution?

times are tough for everyone.

you know you need to cut it out and if you post here people will suggest all kinds of things.

but unless you give your full situation in the OP then excuse me, but you're going to get all kinds of suggestions.


best of luck.

serin Sun 07-Sep-08 23:40:56

I really feel for you, have been in the same boat for some time but DH has found employment again recently.

I think there are a lot of people going though exactly the same thing but money saving websites have some really good advice.

You sound like a wonderful caring mum to me but don't be upset by expat's comments I think she meant it constructively, she has offerred me good advice in the past.

Heated Sun 07-Sep-08 23:45:24

Don't take your c/c, debit card with you to work? And go through cold-turkey (seriously!)

Sycamoretree Mon 08-Sep-08 10:19:26

Thanks Ladies, and I'm not taking expat to heart - not in cold light of morning anyway! She's right - can't expect people to mind read and I think when I posted I was feeling more flippant about it than I really feel so didn't both with my whole life story - and wierdly it was only reading her post that suddenly there was this massive sting to my heart - I didn't know where it came from, and I realised that so much of this is tied up in fact that I work full time whilst my DH does full time child care. And I've been in my job for 11 years - since having the kids I have wanted to look for something part time, but he was always in such a precarious profession that it was too risky - you know when you weigh things up in your mind - benefit of kids having you around vs benefit of holding down the secure salary so that you don't lose your house etc if things go tits up with DH's job....well, they did go tits up, and now I just feel like the dream of part time is now 100% that - a total pipe dream. And I have troubles in my job - I'm good at it, and I get paid well enough to cover the mortgage (just) on my own, but it is desperately political and every day something happens which makes me feel sullied in some way. And not that it's relevant to this post, but I saw my dad battle cancer all through my maternity leave (6 months) with DC2 so it just went by in this agonsing flash. I went back to work in February 2 weeks after he died. I suppose I feel a bit robbed - and now my DH has all this time with them. Crap - I think this post has opened up a can of worms in my own head I wasn't really expecting it to. BTW, am posting from work.

ninedragons Mon 08-Sep-08 10:29:36

Poor you.

It sounds like you are applying the "calories in birthday cake don't count" theory to your spending. But as you know, birthday cake does have calories and money spent on your DCs is just as gone as it would have been if you'd spent it on yourself.

Afraid there's no solution but to take yourself in hand. If you enjoy the shopping, could you give yourself a small budget to spend in charity shops?

Sycamoretree Mon 08-Sep-08 20:21:06

I think/know I am spending to try and blot out feeling things I don't want to. It's probably either that or carrot cake - and having just lost x2 baby weight (ha ha, more like pig out weight) of 3 1/2 stone, I feel like I'd rather see my bank balance crippled than start to hate myself for what I look like again.

fivecandles Tue 09-Sep-08 09:51:47

You may be trying to 'compensate' to your kids to make up for other things they or you aren't getting. Why not try Charity shops? I know my kids don't need any new stuff but sometimes it's nice to give them a treat that's not food so I let them choose a new video or DVD for 50p from Charity shop. We treat it a bit like a video library so then they take back stuff they've watched and buy a new one. Works brilliantly. Obviously you can also get other great stuff for kids there - games, puzzles. Or as expat says if you feel the need to treat your kids doesn't have to be 'stuff' that you buy. What about baking cakes or going to soft play centre? And then there's always the library.

cmotdibbler Tue 09-Sep-08 10:02:25

You've made the first step in stopping this - admitting that you are doing it. Whilst you are getting to grips with it, get DH to have all the cards and change the PayPal password so you can't use it. Then decide on how much you can spend per week and take that in cash with you, so then you can't be tempted by stuff.

Rather than hitting the shops at lunchtime, why not set yourself a walking challenge so that you can keep the weight off/get fit whilst not spending any money. Then you'll feel good about acheiving that too instead of buying stuff to make yourself feel better, but feeling crap cos you've spent money. Or use your lunchtime to list stuff on Ebay to make a little money back from the clothes and toys.

My dad adores the challenge of buying stuff for DS at carboot sales - he gets amazing bargains like huge amounts of Brio for 2 quid. The thrill of the chase and bargaining entertains him for hours for very little.

Sycamoretree Tue 09-Sep-08 10:11:37

Thanks. I like the charity shop idea, but no access to anything like that where I'm working, and it's just not a problem on weekends because then I AM with the kids, and DH and we are always doing fun stuff, visiting family, soft-play, parks etc. It's just when I'm at work, missing them I suppose, and feel the stress of all the other things related to and affected by our money situation and the unconventional childcare set up.

I've been better since starting this thread, but like yesterday, I had to/wanted to buy a dear colleague a little present for her new baby. I found something nice in M&S for £5 - some blocks and a book, and was pleased to get a bargain but lovely card for £1 - bless M&S and their £1 cards. But - then I convinced myself it was a really good idea to buy about 15 of these cheap cards because it's always such a hassle when it's someone's birthday, or anniversary to get out and find a nice card, and you end up spending nearly £3 if you're working on the certain street I work on. So now I have a nice little box of cheap but lovely cards, but completely failed to keep my cash in my bank account - again!

Oliveoil Tue 09-Sep-08 10:14:22

before you buy something ask yourself:

do I need this or just want it?

if the latter....PUT IT DOWN AND WALK AWAY smile

I do this most days atm <<<is craving Pret lard arse sandwich and coffee but saved £4>>>>

ninedragons Tue 09-Sep-08 12:18:13

It sounds like you need to bear in mind that M&S will ALWAYS have cheap cards, H&M will ALWAYS have cheap clothes, etc etc etc. Keeping one spare is thrifty, but keeping 15 isn't. Really, when are you going to have 15 simultaneous occasions requiring a card?

Even if it costs one p, something is only a bargain if you actually need it.

theworstaddiction Tue 09-Sep-08 12:26:00

Your not alone - have a look at my thread in Legal/Money Matters

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