Reminders of the Old You
The other day, I was cleaning out the space below my bathroom sink, came across the soap dispenser you see above, and when I pulled it out, I laughed out loud. Why did I laugh? Because I realized that this soap dispenser was the physical embodiment of the “old me,” the person I was before I decided to get control of my finances.
I have shared this in the past, but for those of you who don’t know, I am a recovering mindless spender. There are all sorts of reasons why I used to spend money mindlessly; however, one of the biggest reasons was my entitlement mentality. You see I grew up in a household with five kids where finances were tight. At one point, my mom was working three jobs to help make ends meet.
When I turned 14, I started working my first job, and once I did, I had to start paying for any extras that I wanted, and by extras, I mean anything other than food and shelter. If I needed deodorant or tampons, I paid for it. Gas money? That was me. Ticket to the prom? Me too.
Growing up, I never felt resentment for this, in fact, I am thankful for my family’s poor financial situation because it encouraged me to become the hard worker that I am today. The one problem with how I was raised, though, is that it left a hole in my life that needed to be filled at some point. It’s actually a hole that I never knew developed, until I started reflecting on my life, and I realized that my spending was overcompensating for what I did not have as a child.
The Beginning of Bad Habits
Once I graduated from college and secured my first real job in the investment-banking world, I started to indulge in luxuries that I did not have when I was younger. I used my starting bonus to buy nice furniture for my apartment, and as soon as I got my first year’s bonus I traded up cars even though my used car functioned properly.
A few years later I met my hubby who also came from a humble upbringing, and despite the fact that he was more frugal minded when we met, I convinced him that he needed to enjoy the finer things as well.
Seasonal Items Were A Weakness
Which leads me to this picture, one of the craziest things the old me would do is purchase seasonal household goods. I was a sucker for a seasonal theme, and I indulged in anything from soaps, to paper towels, to seasonal décor. I not only indulged in these items, I indulged in the exact wrong time to indulge, when they were in season.
Rather than delay my gratification and purchase pumpkin scented soap when it is on sale in December, I purchased it as soon as it came out in September and paid full price for it. What is even worse than this, is that I refused to use the fall scents once we crossed over to winter and so on; which meant that I either tossed the half used fall stuff in the garbage or saved it for another year, only to forget about it when the new fall stuff was released. Yes, I cringe when I think about this as well.
Those Days Are Gone!
The silver lining, though, is that I no longer feel these urges. Once I realized that I couldn’t fill that childhood hole with stuff, I stopped wasting my time, money and energy. I have discovered happiness in my job of helping others and in the pursuit of a financially healthy lifestyle alongside those clients. I don’t feel the need to have seasonal soaps or spend my money on what marketers convince me I should spend it on.
I will always keep this soap dispenser in my home, though, as it is a wonderful reminder of the old me and how far I have come. I look at this like I look at the fat picture of the old me. It makes me cringe a little bit; however, it’s an excellent reminder of not only how far I have come, but it’s a warning to not fall back into my old ways. If you have something like this, I encourage you to keep it as well for the same reasons.