Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Guilt Spending

Twice in the last week I have felt guilt-ed into spending my money.

The policeman's association called asking for donations. I give to a number of different things but it's not like we're independantly wealthy. I have to have my limits. I'm making grilled cheese for my kid's lunch today while this guy on the phone tells me that the money goes to support families of officers killed in the line of duty. I mean, who could argue with how worthwhile that is? I so appreciate the men and women who put their livbes on the line to protect us everyday. And it's such a good cause...

But frankly, I just got a $600 bill from the hospital from my daughter's table accident and I don't even know how I'm going to pay that! Yet I still felt guilty for saying no. I'm obviously still feeling guilty about it.

But where does it end? I could list hundreds of wonderful worthwhile causes - the infomercials about Operation Smile and Saint Judes always make me cry. There's the policemen and the firefighters and the rescue squads. There are the telethons and the wheelchair basketball leagues and associations for just about every letter of the alphabet all wanting my money. Then there are the "mission-support" letters we get by the dozens each year. There's the ranch in Tennessee that takes care of neglected kids. I could go on and on.

Everybody has an opinion about where our money should go. Yet being on a tight budget forces us to make choices about everything - including where we will give our money. It's not easy for me to say no and because I want to help, it makes me feel bad when I can't.

My solution has always been to give where I feel led to give and then make myself let go of the rest. It's all I can do.

And that leads me to the second guilt trip of the week. My daughter's bus driver sells Avon. Yup - you know where this is going. It would be easier if my daughter wasn't the only kid on the bus - she gets transportation for her speech therapy and gets a whole bus to herself, and the driver gets my ear every time I get her off the bus. I'm going to have to order something. It's just as simple as that. But it's only because I feel guilty.

And that leads me to all the people that sell stuff that you feel like you should support but just don't have the money to. I'm talking about the Creative Memories, the Tupperware, the Pampered Chef, the Southern Living, the Toys, the candles, that list goes on and on too. I want to support my friends by going to their parties but it can cost a small fortune to keep up with all of that. Which is why I don't host parties anymore. The free stuff makes it tempting but it starts a terribly vicious cycle that is hard to get out of. You host a party and your friends come, then you have to go to all of their parties because they agreed to host one so that you could get that extra 50% off that item you really wanted. Then you have to actually buy something at everyone else's party. It's craziness, and my checkbook just can't handle it.

So guilt and money are never a good combination. But it does help when you don't have enough money to give into the guilt. Okay, so what have you bought (or given money to) simply out of guilt? I can't be the only one!