Recession Mama

{May 28, 2009}   Guilty Shopper

By: Heather

Mamas and Papas. I’m a guilty shopper. But I’ve done a little shopping lately.


Let me explain. If it’s for me, I usually hesitate.  But if it’s for the kids or the house, I usually don’t feel guilty.

I guess we all have our limits and splurges.

I still set limits on what I’m willing to spend. And I shop by looking at the price tag FIRST.

My husband is very generous and he tells me not to worry.

“If you want it, get it.” he says. But I still feel guilty if it’s for me.

But this week I pushed my guilt aside and finally bought my mother’s day gift. I got a cream colored soft leather purse that hugs me like it’s in love. I’ve been searching for a white/cream colored purse for years but have never really found one I like, at the price I like.

I asked the sales lady several times if the bag was on sale. She repeatedly said no. But I decided to “let go” of the guilt and buy it.


But wait a minute. There are people out of work who can’t pay their rent, who are struggling to buy food. How can you spend that much money on a purse? Ridiculous!

Perhaps. But it doesn’t stop there. I also bought my husband two pairs of leather flip flops and a purse for my mother’s birthday and ordered some dress shoes for myself.

I’m horrible right? I felt a little sick when I handed over my debit card to pay for the purchase. I just kept thinking, “How can I have so much, when some people have so little? I should just put it back and be happy with what I’ve got.”

“I know. I probably shouldn’t get all of this”, I tell the clerk, “but it’s really good quality and hard to pass up. And I can never find shoes that fit me.”

Side bar: My feet are really narrow and it’s almost impossible to find shoes that fit.  So when they do fit, I get them.

“Can I return these if I change my mind?”


“I just feel a little guilty.” I say.

“Well if you can afford it, then I say spend it.” replies the clerk. “It helps us out.”

Hmmm. The comment hit me like a meatball sandwich.

“It helps us out.”

cash register

That’s so true. If everyone stops buying just because they “feel guilty” then the economy will really crash and burn. I wonder if some of our “hesitation to buy” has actually costs people their jobs.

I hope that my purchases will help keep someone employed, and they in turn will keep buying their morning coffee, which will keep the barista employed, which will help them pay for college, which will help their parents financially, which means they can pay for their cleaning lady, which means she can buy groceries for her family.

It’s a big circle. It may seem unfair that some people can spend money on so-called frivolous things. But  here’s my question– “Doesn’t that help the economy?”

My purchases will not break my bank. And I will use everything for a LONG time. Plus we donate to charity, our church and help friends and family when they’re in need. So maybe I should NOT feel guilty. Maybe I should feel good about helping the economy. And hopefully that’ll keep people working too!



Katy says:

First of all, gorgeous bag!! I LOVE it. Next, I really enjoyed this post. My next post is about something similar. You shouldn’t feel guilty if you have the money. If everyone who has money didn’t spend the money, then we’d all be really in trouble. I’ve actually been going out of my way to go to the restaurants that are really hurting in this economy, Sometimes, it still hasn’t helped that much. One of my favorite restaurants had to reduce their hours to pretty much lunch only because they couldn’t afford to keep the lights on and employ the staff for more hours. Now, if the people who can afford it ate there a bit more regularly, then they might be able to just keep more people employed!

Lydia says:

Love the bag! Guilt is one of those emotions that is good in some circumstances, convicting us when we head down the wrong road, but bad in others, feeling guilty over buying a purse that we have the money to pay for and know we will use. Let’s not waste guilt on silly things, let’s pay attention to it when it’s trying to tell us something important.

And, Dave Ramsey would be proud – you used your debit card, not a credit card! 😉

Katy says:

Also, I know department stores are really hurting right now, so shop…if you can afford it!!! Of course, if you have lots of debt and you’re going to use your credit card, then don’t shop for “wants.”

Carla says:

omg i just spent 15 minutes writing something, clicked somewhere, and it vanished…holy crap…plus I have a fussy baby in the background. BUT my point was to tell you, Heather, that you have been SO generous with me and my family…and you have a heart the size of Texas…and if your bank account is that big, too, then so be it! No one should be made to feel guilty for working hard and having money. That’s what this country is all about. Sure, things are out of whack right now with the economy, but if you personally can afford to spend, you really are helping out. I love ya, mama! You’ve always been there for me : )

Heather B says:

Thanks for the comments! I feel better. Good advice ladies. Lydia I will use my guilty radar to steer clear naughty things. Thanks for the reminder about good and bad guilt.

Katy says:

I did a little more shopping today. I am a mentor to a 12-year-old girl who just graduated from elementary school. As a graduation gift, I bought her a “build-a-bear” and one piece of chocolate from Godiva. While we were at the mall, I couldn’t help but buy myself a necklace from Forever 21. It was $10…not really worth the money. I think it should be more like $5. But I’ve had my eye on it ever since a co-worker wore it first.

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