I thought I was being such a bargain babe by shopping for an ugly Christmas sweater party at a thrift store, where clothing prices top out at $5 per item. But I ended up overspending by 130%!!!! Egads, as my grandmother used to say.
Here’s how I overspent at the thrift store.
I entered the store with two items on my list – an ugly Christmas sweater for me and one for my husband. But my shopping list was in my mind, not written down, and I quickly was taken by the stylish merchandising in the store. Neat racks of clothes, sorted by colors, never overstuffed. Baskets of neatly wrapped scarves. A handsome display of Christmas dazzle.
I planned to shop in cash, and had just gone to the ATM machine. I typically withdrawal $100 at a time so I don’t have to go to the ATM again any time soon. I try to stretch that $100 over the entire month. Everything else goes on my credit card. I was feeling lush.
I was also shopping with my daughter, so I had to make quick decisions. And I knew I was not going to have another opportunity to buy us ugly Christmas sweaters before the party. The pressure was on.
Somehow, I ended up buying twice as many items as I intended.
Here’s what I bought:
- $5 Red with white polka dotted Christmas dress (think Mrs. Claus, see above)
- $3 Red and white stripped short sleeve short for my husband (think Where’s Waldo?)
- $2.50 Neon green fringe-y scarf to clash with my Mrs. Claus dress
- $3 Christmas ball ornament that opens like an Easter egg
- $5 Red sequined tank top that I was going to wear under my Mrs. Claus dress so that even if I didn’t look sexy, I would feel sexy
The extreme irony of my overspending is that on the night of the Ugly Christmas Sweater party, I couldn’t find the neon fringe-y scarf (which is probably why I didn’t win the prize for ugliest sweater!) The sexy red sequined tank top was still air drying, so it couldn’t wear it. And the next day the ornament broke.
My intentions for these extra purchases failed. Completely.
My $10.50 in extra purchases went utterly unused. Which makes me feel even worse for overspending. I spent $18.50 when I could have only spent $8. I overspent by 130%!!!
Here’s what went wrong.
- I got caught up in my emotions. The spirited Christmas music pipped into the store, the excitement at seeing my friends at the ugly Christmas sweater party, and the nicely laid out merchandise all worked to boost my feelings of well being. Which in turn helped me justify the extra purchases.
- I was feeling rich. With my wallet stuffed with cash, I felt I could splurge. I asked myself, how expensive could splurging at a thrift shop be, anyway?!
- I was under time pressure. I shop best when I’m alone and I’m not under time pressure. But as a mom, that doesn’t happen often.
I overspent by $10.50. Who cares?
Let’s take another look at the numbers. I overspent by 130% – an extra $10.50 on top of the $8 I could have gotten away with. Not a lot of money, all things considered. I regret the extra purchases, but I’m not flogging myself for this one.
What’s interesting is that the numbers don’t tell the full story – the emotions do.
My overspending occurred because my emotions got the better of me. My logical, thrifty ways failed me. The dollar amounts were relatively low, sure. But my overspending could have happened anywhere. I If I had been in Nordstrom Rack, my overspending would have a few more zeros. Luckily, I was not at Nordstrom Rack (or Nordstrom, for that matter).