And the purge continues…


I’m not sure what has gotten into me other than the fact that I am happier than I have been for a VERY long time. It’s funny how sometimes things can just fall into place. The changes that I wanted to have happen at work happened without me doing much about it (other than saying “this is what I want”). I have finally started to spend some weekend time relaxing (and hanging with friends). And I am starting to believe what Eckhart Tolle says about coincidences not happening; it’s all for a reason (and with most of my life, I get the reasons for even some of the unpleasant things happening). Example: last week my manager and I were talking about me needing to travel to one of our dev centers. She recommended Ireland (oh yeah, I am totally doing that!) and I said “why don’t we have a dev center in Amsterdam? I really want to go there.” Then this week, I got an e-mail inviting me to speak at a conference in Amsterdam. How ’bout that? I’ve decided not to question what forces (if any) could be invovled with things like that happening. I’m just going to enjoy it.


It’s taking me a long time to get to the point here. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I don’t know what’s gotten into me lately, but it’s good. So, the purging. It continued today. I tend to carry around a stack of gift cards and coupons with me. I can’t tell you how many times I have spent money on something and then realized that I had a gift card or coupon for it. We are gift card happy at work (which I like) and we have something here called the Chinook Book, which you buy for $10 and it’s full of coupons (significant ones) for what they call “green savings”. Lots of “$10 off a purchase” coupons. And the book only cost $11 so it’s easy to recoup the cost. I love the idea of saving money, but I don’t love having to remember the coupons and gift cards.


So what else is going on is that I spent my paycheck down to the last $50. I know! Let’s just say I have made plenty of discretionary purchases lately. Another sign that I am in a good mood (when I am in a bad mood, I don’t shop much; maybe just things I really NEED). I remember that feeling of spending my paychecks down to the nub. I used to have to do that all the time. Now, not so much, but I still did it this paycheck. Ouch. Good thing that pay day is Saturday. So I have limited funds remaining but I still want to shop.


So? I have challenged myself to use all the gift cards I have been lugging around and the coupons too. It will help asuage any shame I feel about my $150 vitamin store purchase this morning. You don’t even want to know what’s that’s about but let’s just say my thoughts about taking vitamins is “more better” and it does take me a while to choke down my daily stash. I feel good though. And the people at the blood bank let me give blood.


So the gift card purge actually started when I went to Australia and my friend/housesitter asked if the gas tank on my grill was full (I have had it for 8 years and have gone through one tank). It wasn’t. And I should have known better because she grills pretty much daily. Good thing I had a Lowe’s gift card to leave her so she could get a new tank. Not sure when I would have used that card anyway so I was pretty pleased with myself for remembering it.


Now fast forward to this week with me wanting to shop sans cash. Ew, how American. My credit card and scooter will be paid off at the end of August (yay stock!). So no worries. First thing I did (after the vitamin store) was go to Peet’s. I drink Peet’s coffee but I get it delivered through the mail. So I had $50 in Peet’s cards that I hadn’t used. I decided to go and buy “stuff”. I got a coffee press, some tea and a cute little tea pot. Cost to me: $12. And two gift cards unloaded. Whee!


Then I went to Whole Foods. All the coupons I had were for non-perishables (earth friendly and organic) that I would have bought anyway. So I decided to buy them all now and then I will have them on hand. And I’ll be ready to clean my house, eat frozen organic pizza and make risotto at a moment’s notice. I saved about ten dollars in coupons and then used a visa gift card I had for another ten dollars. Whee again!


So I basically got $70 worth of free stuff today. I’m not sure when I will ever work my way through my copious Starbucks cards. But I am going to The Barking Frog the week after next and will use up my gift card for there.


It may be a little ironic that I am purging and getting stuff all at the same time. But it feels damn good.

Comments (7)

  1. Programmerman says:

    One thing you can do for your copious Starbucks cards is to have them put all the balances together on one card, then you can ditch the rest of the stack.

    And thanks for the reminder, I actually threw away a few things out of my wallet because of this blog.

  2. HeatherLeigh says:

    Yeah, Ive got it down to 2 cards but there’s almost $75 on them! At some point, I might just do what I did with Peet’s and go in and buy something.

    It feels good to get rid of stuff, doesn’t it?

  3. Programmerman says:

    Especially once you notice you’re almost level again!  (My wallet lives in my back pocket, so it acts like a wedge.)

  4. crawdad13 says:

    you can go broke buying "good deals" too.

  5. HeatherLeigh says:

    Programmerman – yeah, it’s different for me. It’s about whether I can snap my wallet closed and whether, at that crucial moment at the cash register, I can find the card I am looking for (yesterday it was my Vitamin Shoppe card that I had to dig for but usually it’s my Borders card).

    Darren – ain’t that the truth.At the grocery store, I limit myself to only things I have bought before and used. So I can think of it as a long term shopping strategy. When I was younger and shopped for clothes, I was a sucker for the sales (and Old Navy, which doesn’t appeal to me any more…I’m more Gap and Nordstrom….what a weird combo). Now with the clothes and the furniture and stuff like that, I have an honest conversation with myself (don’t worry, it’s silently, in my head) about whether I LVOE the thing and will be happy when I look at it. That is how I ended up with less clothes but better quality clothes that I enjoy wearing and that’s how I ended up not having a coffee table for years until I found the special one I had been drreaming of.

    When I call my mom’s house and she’s out shopping and my ste-dad answers, he says "she’s out saving 25%". I have to admit that I don’t so much enjoy the ceremony of shopping as much as what I get. I’m not one of those people that spend the weekends at the mall. Maybe just once a month or so.

  6. Austin Chu says:

    Great post. I work for a company that manages and tracks gift cards, and we hear about those problems all the time. Consider this: A study was taken last year $100B was spent in gift cards, and $8b was lost/unclaimed. In addition, there are many retailers who are filing for BK and have filed and they have completely voided their gift cards. google: signature days and read the yelp.com reviews

  7. HeatherLeigh says:

    Interesting. So roughly 10% go unused. I have heard about how service fees can reduce the amount on the card as time goes on. It weas great to unload some of those this week.

    I will also admit that I regifted a Best Buy one at Christmas. I was a Nielsen household and they kept having to come out to fix my system (literally, like 5 times until I asked them to take it out….all those boxes and wires!) and so they gave me a $50 Best Buy Card. My friends’ son is into electronics and you know how people like to buy their own so he was very happy with the gift card when I gave it to him for x-mas. I may consider regifting them in the future!