At some point in the last 5 or 6 years I have become that person who insists on using everything up until it is done. I don't know when it happened. I was the girl who had seventeen different shampoos and conditioners sitting in the shower, 14 million containers of body lotion, hoards of unused makeup all of which would eventually get tossed when it became older than Nancy Reagan and minutes from being confiscated by the EPA. Now? I insist on using everything up. I had a Costco-sized Head and Shoulders shampoo that I decided sucked goat scrotum, yet made myself use up the entire thing. I won't buy something new until I use it all up, can sell it for a decent amount of money, or it is medically necessary (like my Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo - have to thank my father for the lovely dermatitis (I think... could be mild psoriasis) he passed down to me).
Back in the day, I even had a flippant nature with purchases as large as vehicles! I leased a new Acura Integra in 2000 for 3 years and at the 2.5 year mark I just HAD to HAVE the new Mini Cooper S and so I just went ahead and bought it. Even though I still had the other car lease to finish paying. A single gal with two cars for 6 months. After a year, I decided the Mini wasn't working with the dogs so I traded it in for the RAV4. What a colossal waste of money.
I have some theories on how this change came about. One theory is that I have some OCD thing now with frugality and it's just my nature to latch on to something and GO. The other theory is that the ball started rolling when I bought my second house with The Husband and the whole $400,000 of mortgage debt scared the living shit out of me. It may be a combination of both, but I am leaning towards theory #2. I have found in the past 6 or 7 months now that I will hunt Craigslist before immediately going to buy it NEW. I've had 2 garage sales this past year when I never even considered doing one ever in my life. I plan on keeping my paid RAV until 200K miles or more, if it holds up.
What gives? I think - though I am suppressing it quite a bit - that I am majorly freaked out about the fact that we are now $60K underwater with our house (owe $453K, now worth $390K). I am trying to accept it for what it is, but I am having a really effing hard time losing 140,000 dollars of value since we bought his last house. And in my mind, the only way I can exercise any control over the matter is to cinch everything up real tight with the money. But seriously? It's like shooting an elephant with a beebee gun. Like trying to plug up a big crack in a dam with some Bubble-Yum.
I suppose I can take this change as a positive one. I mean, it's a good thing to save money, yes, but at the same time, I hate that I feel bad buying anything. It's like this economic situation has made me a prisoner with my money. Sometimes, I wish I could just buy something I want for me or my husband without thinking about how this one purchase will affect OUR ENTIRE FINANCIAL UNIVERSE. I mean, obviously a $100 purchase isn't going to affect us in any measurable way, but my head can't help extrapolating it all the way up to the big picture. Maybe it's a factor of getting older, maybe it's an obsessive thing I need to let up on, or maybe this is something lots of people are battling with right now. I don't know. All I know is that I have a veritable love-hate relationship with money and this recession is NOT HELPING.