Call Me Ang: You're Not Keeping Up...

You're Not Keeping Up...

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I've had readers of my previous blog ask, why I am not getting personal on Call Me Ang. The truth is, I think that private matters, should remain private. Just as we remind our children about Internet exposure, I am aware that what I publish, will stay in public view forever.  There is no taking back what you post, whether it's a picture, unkind words, etc.

With that said, I truly enjoy writing.  I love the click of my nails on the keyboard. I love creating a thought, and then putting it into written words.  So, I've decided that once a week, I will do a "From the Heart" post.  This will give you a better insight to my views, opinions and what I truly value.

Since starting this new blog, something has weighed on my conscience. I'm an enabler.  I am enabling to the miserable reality of, "keeping up with the Joneses."  I don't want to be a part of that clique. We have all fallen into the trap of wanting, craving and desiring more.  We are all guilty of wanting items, we can't afford.

As Internet junkies, we have instant gratification to whatever we want. You want to order food, no problem. You want to order dresses, handbags, furniture, diapers, cars....you name it...the sky is the limit. You want it, order it, and you have it in your possession within hours or a matter of days.  Spending money has become as easy as two clicks of a mouse. That is dangerous.

Let me fill you in on a little secret.  I am an emotional shopper. Having the UPS truck arrive at my door, is a high. Tearing into boxes makes me giddy.  The contents of said boxes, makes me even happier.  New accessories, household items, jewelry, etc....makes me happy....period. This emotional attachment to shopping is a recipe for financial disaster.

Due to my husband's career, we have spent over 50% of our 13 years of marriage apart.  You can only imagine how emotionally taxing this was.  While I'm a tough cookie, I missed my better half. I missed being a complete family.  Enter....excessive shopping. Having new things arrive on my doorstep, would bring me out of my emotional funk. Albeit temporary, which would just trigger my next purchase.

For five years, I bought what I wanted, when I wanted.  How do you think that turned out? I put us in debt. I selfishly spent money we didn't have. Let me stress, my husband runs a zero debt household. He doesn't believe in owing anyone.  When it came to light about my spending (secret credit cards), and the thousands I owed, it created a huge strain on our marriage. I had let him down, I had let my children down.  This burden was on me, and it hurt.

Thankfully, I have a husband who is forgiving. Don't get me wrong, he didn't quickly forget the mess I created.  He devised a plan to get out of debt. My debt. I still cringe at the thought.  I was constantly reminded when I couldn't buy something, or travel somewhere, that it was my fault.  My selfishness caused my children and husband to be deprived of things that they were accustomed to.  The situation still haunts me.  My husband probably missed his calling.  Instead of being a pilot, he probably should have been a finance guru.  He dug us out of the hole, that I created - in record time. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Why am I telling you this? Because I do not want you to make the same mistake. I realize as a blogger (even one as small as myself), that I am influencing someone, somewhere.  I'm not naive to the fact that when I post something I purchase, others will want it too.  I share what I love. I get excited over new purchases. When someone orders an item, I suggested, I get excited. It's a fun way to connect with people.

The difference is, now I'm paying cash for my purchases, and others may not be.  Don't get sucked into buying something you don't have the money for.  Don't get sucked into keeping up with someone...Much less, a person you've never met.  Don't compare yourself to others, don't obsess over something you can't afford.

The other day, my husband and I were reflecting on how, the more money people make, the more they will always spend.  Why is this? We all have financial goals set for ourselves. Whether it is the square footage of our home, or the cars we drive. As a society we are ingrained that these things matter...and they are to define who we are.

News flash...material things do not define you or me.  What defines us, is our moral character. Which is why I'm pouring my heart out to you. I have a moral obligation to say, don't run out and buy what I post. Don't try to keep up with me, or anyone else. If I post something you like, and you have the cash for it, or a financial plan to pay for it, then by all means - buy it and enjoy.

The fact is, there will always be someone with a nicer car, larger home and fatter wallet. While admiring their success is healthy, trying to keep up with them, is impossible. Be happy with what you have. Be happy with who you are. Be content with all your blessings. Remind yourself, there are countless others, who are not nearly as fortunate as you. Just as someone has it better than you, there is always going to be others, who have it far worse. It's all relative.

Live for love, health, relationships and family. Live for the things that money can't buy. I can attest, this is the only way to true happiness.

You're not keeping up....and that's okay.

TTFN,


23 comments:

  1. It is so hard to not want things that make us feel so happy, or want things that we see others happy about. The truth is, that only lasts for a split second and it's done. "Keeping up" is one of my challenges, but it doesn't make me happy, it just causes struggle in the end. Thanks for this post, it is refreshing to see someone so honest.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read. I don't want to be the source of someone's problem. So I felt this needed to be said. :)

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  2. Well, this smacked me straight between the eyes. I'm holding off on that couch purchase Ang...I really think I need to. You're a wise woman. :0)

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    1. I know, it is so hard to walk away from something you really want...but in the long run....it's the right choice.

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  3. A very brave post sometimes in this blogging/ instagram world we only see the perfect life . But behind every picture is a differnt story. We aspire to have these beautiful lives full of the gorgeous items and houses we see but a post like. Yours reminds us to appreciate what we have. Many thanks

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to read. Felt good to get that off my chest! :)

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  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am 100% the same way and we are in debt for the same reason... :( I felt a ton of guilt about it but I'm trying to let it go, because it is what it is and I can only change my behavior going forward. I haven't shopped since November, which has been so hard, but it's what we needed to do to catch up. Glad we are not alone! I love your new blog, hope it brings you as much joy to write it as it does for us to read it. Xoxoxo.

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    1. This happened a couple of years ago...and thankfully have this behind us. You are doing the right thing. I had a shopping ban too. You will get out of this hole and be stronger for it. First step is admitting you have a problem. Excessive shopping is no different than drug use IMO. It's destructive and can ruin lives. Vent to me anytime! I've been there.

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  5. This is such a lovely, refreshing thing to read! I love things, and have always had champagne taste. I find it very hard to save my money and love the instant gratification I get from buying things. But, I try to remember that having money isn't about what you can buy, but how much is in your bank account. And moderation is always key ;)

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    1. Moderation is right! We teach our girls, the only way to get "rich" is to spend less than what you make. :) Thanks for taking the time to read.

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  6. This is the most refreshing blog post I've ever read! Such a departure from the usual..thank you for writing this!

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  7. Kudos to you for sharing your story. Financial discipline is far easier said than done. My husband is also one of those who is wise beyond his years when it comes to finances. The best thing he ever did for our marriage was force me into a 12 week couples class called Financial Peace University. We did it our first year of marriage and it wasn't pretty. But we avoided some big pitfalls and countless arguments by getting on the same page from the start. That said, it's still not easy. It's hard to have to say no to dinners with friends and playdates because the budget doesn't allow. It's hard to be the one wearing clothes from college when your friends are buying designer gym clothes. But I remind myself that the financial legacy I'm leaving for my kids far outweighs any purchase I might make. Not having any debt with the exception of our home is so freeing. We will never look back!

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    1. Ashley you are one of the most beautiful people. I look forward to your IG posts each day. A financial legacy is important..and no, restraint is not easy. It most certainly takes discipline. I've learned that the past two years.

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  8. Ah! Just what I needed to read! As a Marine wife, I COMPLETELY understand the joy and happiness shopping online and seeing that box arrive. When we first got married, my husband had to finish 9 months in Okinawa without me, so I lived at home with my parents. It got to the point my dad confronted me and said, "you've gotten a package or two every week for the last couple months. What are you doing?" I emotionally shop too. I've gotten better since then. Now that my husband is getting out of the Marines, we are on a strict budget. But thank you for telling me it's okay to not keep up. :)

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    1. It's nice to know that you are not alone, isn't it? I'm glad that my post was relatable and helpful. We are retiring in two years, so I understand the importance of buckling down. Best of luck with your new path!

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  9. I really, really love this, Ang. I've struggled with sharing too much personally (via our blogs), which is why I've stopped writing for awhile. I've also had to stop following some other fashion blogs, because the draw to spend money I didn't have was just too great. I love that you shared your own personal story on spending. It's a great reminder and ridiculously refreshing!

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    1. Michelle I always loved your posts! You are a beautiful writer. I'm glad that my post has reached so many. I had a hard time admitting my past, but I also don't want to be responsible for someone going in debt. I felt sharing my story was important. :)

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  10. I love this post, love your honesty!! I come from a household where we always had enough money, and I don't think I really understood what "sacrifice" felt like - even the trivial, silly, can't fill my cart at Target sacrifice. So, needless to say, the first year of marriage was an eye-opener! Luckily, our debts are mostly student loan type stuff, but I can completely relate to wanting to dig deep into that credit card hole for everything I don't really need.

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    1. Thank you Sarah. I know talking about finances is a private matter...but...this needed to be said, to prevent others from making the same mistake. Not to mention, I didn't want to enable others, who are using the "just charge it" mentality. Sounds like you and your husband are off to a good start and being responsible! My husband was always on that track. Sadly, I had to learn the hard way.

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  11. Wonderful post-thanks for sharing!

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  12. You are SO RIGHT!!! I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!

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