I have struggled with overspending for as long as I can remember. I am now committed to planning a budget and sticking to it because it’s necessary to live the life I want to live. I am learning to enjoy my life outside of things. In the past, I have used money in exchange for love and that isn’t a fair trade. I believe life supports me; all I have to do is show up, be present and do the next right thing. Yesterday was a powerful reinforcement of those beliefs.
I had a coupon from Younkers for $60 off an outwear item that costs $100 or more and I needed a coat. I had up to $55 budgeted for it. My partner found me the PERFECT one but when it came time to check out, it rang up at $79.99 (40% off). The clerk couldn’t change the original price back to $110 so I could get a better deal with my coupon.
I froze. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I asked the clerk to ring up everything except the coat. I had money for a $55 coat. I did not have money for an $80 coat.
As I walked through the store to see if someone else could get the coat price down to one I could afford that day, more and more things were jumping out at me and my mind raced with dialog.
“Oh, what a cute tumbler, I could use it!”
“You already have all the tumblers you need, another one would take up room in the cupboard and not bring you any more joy”
“Oh yes, that’s right”
“Slippers!!! I can use slippers!”
“You have slippers that fit and buying more will not bring you more joy.”
“Oh, pants!!!! My son could use more work pants. Good mothers buy their sons plenty of pants.”
“Dear one, your son is loved and cared for. He has pants to wear to work. They wash, they fit, and if something happened, there are 24 hour stores that sell them. He will not go without pants.”
“My goodness, I need to get out of this place”
I refused to let myself go down the path of bargaining with myself for an extra $25. I attempted that game many times before and always came up short. As I shared my angst with my partner, he likened the experience to an alcoholic visiting her favorite bar. In a former life, I would easily spend $400-$500 in a single visit buying all the items I didn’t buy this trip. The result was a house overflowing with stuff, an empty bank account and unending stress. I reminded myself I am changing and it’s safe to change…
We eventually arrived at another counter with an experienced looking woman who I hoped could help me. I approached without expectation that I would get the coat or not get the coat but I REALLY WANTED the coat. When I explained the situation, she regretfully informed me that she couldn’t adjust the original price either. My heart sank. It was perhaps the most perfect coat I have ever found but I was $25 short. In my disappointed state, I asked the woman behind me if she wanted to go while I thought about my situation.
Although she could barely speak English, the woman next in line handed me a printed out coupon stamped with yesterday’s date. It was for $25 off any item $50 or more. I read the offer as words but the meaning didn’t sink in. I looked up at the woman who handed it to me as if to ask “what is this for?”. Her eyes said it was for me. I looked back down and suddenly realized this coupon would make the coat affordable! I looked back up on the edge of tears and said “Is this for me?” accompanied with a gesture. She nodded. The waterworks came as I said “thank you so much” over and over again.
Tears are flowing as I write this now… I am grateful for the kind hearted woman who was born speaking another language but connected with me anyway. She was a quiet person; I can be loud. Her face didn’t express her emotions outwardly like mine does but she had wise, knowing eyes. When I made eye contact, I saw a hard working woman who knows the pain of heartbreak and has made many sacrifices in her life. I felt like she understood me completely in that moment despite our differences. After I paid, I turned around again and asked if I could give her a hug. She agreed and even more tears fell down my face.
I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and grief for all the times I felt misunderstood and unloved. On top of the gratitude for the coat, I was grateful for the experience and the sensations of my feelings I was experiencing in real time. She reinforced my faith that everything works out perfectly!
Thank you, dear, sweet woman who made it possible to buy my coat. I will think of you whenever I wear it. Remembering your kind act helps me be aware of opportunities to give what I have at the right time for someone else.
From my heart to yours,
Thanks for reading