I swore this time it would be different. Do you do that? Do you ever make that kind of grand declaration, slamming the refrigerator door and yelling like Scarlett O’Hara, “I will never be hungry again!”
I do when it comes to getting rid of Tracey’s Huge and Embarrassing Debt. In my quest to pay off $85,000 in credit card debt, I’ll do whatever it takes. This month that “whatever” has had its ups and downs in ways I did not expect.
Recently I was traveling for work but was close enough to visit my only sister. I bet you can guess what my sister and I like to do together ... that’s right, shopping!
So before I picked up my sister, I had my Scarlett O’Hara declaration that I would not shop. Perfect!
Then we drove past an outlet mall in the middle of the California desert. My sister said, “Let’s stop. I need some new shoes!”
Now I have always hated the desert. And the Cinnabon called to me. So I mentally played the negotiation game in my head. I gave myself a budget of how much I could spend.
I told myself if I was able to keep within my budget I could feel happy and proud of myself at the end of the day.
What was I thinking??? It was only weeks after starting this journey and I was celebrating by going shopping? I didn’t have money to spend. I had debt.
But this was my sister. And we love to shop together. This is how we spent time together. This is how we bond. This was something I was not going to give up.
Then it hit me: What was I giving up? Was I giving up shopping or was I giving up my sister?
I should have told her about my debt and not been embarrassed to share. But I was. I still am. Knowing my sister she would have been totally supportive. She would have driven past the mall and we would have still laughed ourselves silly as we always do -- but I was embarrassed.
Plus, there is another kicker here. I love to give gifts, not receive them but give them. This is my Love Language to my family and friends. How do I show love without giving you a little goody?
I don’t know that. But if I am really going to get rid of Tracey’s Huge and Embarrassing Debt, this is one of the skills I have to learn. This is the next step for this journey. This is the question I need to answer.
So I hope you can help me answer that question. I need a different way to show love that does not involve buying things for people. How can I pass that mall next time and not feel I am missing out?
Because I know I am going to drive through that outlet-studded mall in the desert again someday. The shiny lights and the scent of Cinnabon will reach out for me. Willpower only goes so far. And the Scarlett O'Hara declaration doesn't work.
Do you have any suggestion for me?