I had a real world HotFrugal moment yesterday. I was at a Michael’s craft store and they were having a huge sale on ribbon. That probably doesn’t sound very exciting to most readers, but I have a slight obsession with ribbon. This is largely due to the fact that my mom and I engage in competitive gift wrapping every Christmas. (Yes, I recognize that this sounds a little crazy, but those of you who know my uber-competitive family will understand.) Each of us strives to create the most beautifully wrapped presents under the tree. To win the wrapping contest, one must have elegant papers, creative accoutrements, and of course, fabulous ribbon.
So you can imagine how my eyes lit up at the sight of huge bins filled with spools of discounted ribbon. I dove in with visions of wrapping glory filling my head. The next thing I knew, I was up to my elbows in satin and organza. I grabbed so many spools of ribbon that I couldn’t carry them all. My friend Lauren was shopping with me, so I started handing her the spools I couldn’t carry.
Lauren gave me a look implying that my ribbon frenzy might be a sign of mental illness, but she’s a good friend so she took all the ribbon I kept thrusting into her hands. After a few minutes, she said to me, “Angela, you know the HotFrugal thing to do would be to ask yourself how many hours you’ll have to work to afford all of this ribbon.”
Wow. That comment snapped me right out of my frenzy. I looked down at the bold colors, zebra prints, and plaids that were overflowing in my arms, and I immediately saw the ribbon in a different way. I quickly calculated how many hours of work would be required to buy all the spools I’d already picked up. The truth is, it wasn’t really that much money or that many hours of work, but it was more than I was willing to give up for ribbon. I picked out the ribbons I liked the most and returned the rest to the bin.
The really cool thing about this experience is that my friend spoke up to help me when I was about to get a little off track with my spending. It might have been in relation to a small purchase, but what Lauren did was provide me with support and a reminder of my goals when I needed it. This is the amazing part of discussing your finances openly: When people know what you are trying to achieve, they will help you.
Lauren, thank you! You’re a great friend.