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Get Thee Behind Me, Target!

So y'all know I've been about these financial goals lately.

I've been actively paying off debt, saving money where I can and most importantly, not giving in to my shopping addiction. I've been good at staying out of stores, not making pointless purchases and then taking the money I would have spent shopping and putting it towards my goals.

And then came Pajama Day.

We were having Pajama Day at school last Friday. Now I'm usually pretty “Bah humbug” about our theme days, but I’m trying to turn over a new positivity leaf, so I decided I'd participate. Much to my chagrin, however, I had no publicly presentable pair of pajamas (say that three times fast), so I needed to make a quick purchase.

And then came Target.

I walked into Target to buy a pair of pajamas. Just a pair of pajamas. But somehow, $99.35 later, I had far more in my cart than pajamas. I had financial sabotage in the form of hair care, skin care and other random toiletry items.

How did I get here?

Thankfully the $99.35 fit into the fun money budget I made for myself, so it wasn’t completely ruinous, but I had gotten here because I didn’t plan. I didn’t have a clear strategy for how I’d operate in enemy territory, so I got caught up.

And isn’t that how life works? You think you’re rocking all your goals and all then suddenly you get tempted and you’re not on track anymore. We’re warned, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

So, knowing there will be another theme day, another Target or another tempting situation that wants to knock me off course, I need a strategy to fight back. What should that look like for finances:

  1. Set a budget for unexpected expenses: You should have a line item in your budget that allocates money to miscellaneous items because you never know when you’ll need street pajamas.

  1. Know your triggers: What things cause you to spend money unnecessarily? What things tempt you? When are you most likely to spend money? How are you feeling when you spend money? Those are your triggers. For me, I’m more likely spend money on beauty supplies when I’m feeling tired because I want to make myself feel better. That means I should probably only go to the store early in the day when I have energy so I can only buy what I need.

This financial freedom life is war and we have to have strategies to win. Even in the fight against Target.

Lourdes Anita

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