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Danger Will Robinson! Danger!


We’ve updated this popular post for 2023. We hope you enjoy looking back on it!

Telling myself no is getting to be old hat. Sure, there are definitely things I would love to have, but I’m becoming more comfortable with the thought that I can’t have everything my heart desires.

I’m even pretty good at limiting myself with purchases for the baby. Correction, I’m pretty good at buying NOTHING for the baby. Hmm. Perhaps I need to at least work on getting a bed for the poor little dude.

But I have a fatal flaw…

I want my husband to have absolutely everything and I’m realizing this could be a problem.

We received notice from his school that he is eligible to participate in the graduation ceremony next month. He’ll have two classes to take in the summer, but since they don’t have a winter ceremony, summer graduates walk early.

Ever since we received the notice, we have been receiving a barrage of e-mails, letters, and phone calls from the school and outside vendors to buy everything under the sun for the graduate.

$200 invitations? Yes! We NEED those. They have the OFFICIAL school seal! He DESERVES it.
$500 lifetime membership to the alumni association? Of course he needs that! How else will we get tickets to games?!?
$299 diploma holder? It’s important!
$175 cap and gown package? Yes! How much more for the tassel?
$400 graduation day photos? Sure!

I set all the information in a neat pile and started to review it with my husband over dinner. After listening to about 10 seconds of my spiel, he grabbed the pile.

‘No. No. Definite no. I don’t need it. That’s ugly. And not on your life’ he said as he looked through each one. He tossed the pile into the recycling bin and started to do the dishes. He looked at me and smiled, ‘How was your day?’

‘A lot better before you rained on my spending parade’ I sighed.

My husband is one of the hardest working men I know. He works a full time job, attends school full time, and somehow finds time to make money on the weekends. It’s hard to get past the ‘deserving’ factor and focus on the ‘lack of money’ factor. Thankfully, he doesn’t take advantage of my flaw.

Can you say ‘no’ to yourself but find yourself saying ‘yes’ to everyone else?


  • Reply Maggie |

    Oh the Female/Mom trait of doing stuff for everyone else. We have some cash right now and my home desktop computer bit the dust in a lightning strike. So I was looking at replacements. But I have a laptop at home supplied by my employer and I can bring home my newer work laptop. DS16 has a school laptop, Hubby has a work laptop. DS11 has a netbook… The desktop was only used as a last resort. So we talked about getting a tablet (ok, an iPad) But now I am thinking we need a new bed int eh guest room, or both boys need new beds… (My husband is going to yell at me). I almost backed out of getting lasik for myself in 2005 when Hubby graduated with his degree, but he would not let me. Of course he’s also the one who rack up a good portion of the existing debt. LOL!

    And my baby advice: If co-workers want to get together a buy a big gift for you, pick out a high quality baby seat/stroller combo. If you have to buy it, do it. It will be well worth the spending. But these new! And often times, once yous tart spreading the word that you need baby thing, people will start pulling them out of their basements, garages and attics, thrilled to give the things to a good home. Or find a resale shop such a “Once upon a time.” They are wonderful! I found with my boys, that after the age of 2 I coudl not longer find clothing in the resale shops, but target and Walmart clothes tend not to wear out before they outgrow them. My 16 YO still wears Walmart and Target clothing unless Grandma buys it for him.

  • Reply Kaye |

    My children are my weakness. And not that, “Mommy can I have…” bit. I can say no to that without a problem (my children are so deprived, you know). My problem is things that I think they should have.

    It’s one of my weaknesses, but I’m getting better!

  • Reply danna |

    Example of my wants vs. needs. I was looking at a new hair dryer at Target, thinking I NEED a new one. Then this morning as I was drying my hair, I realized that I don’t NEED a new hair dryer, I WANT a new hair dryer. Mine works just fine! What was I thinking???

  • Reply ib |

    You can definitely get nice name brand stuff at a fraction of the cost. I went to a Y neighbourhood sale last week and bought my kids clothes. I have 3 year old and 3 month old. I spent a total of $232. Now before you start going on how much that is, I got 156 pieces of clothing for that price. They are also a wide range of sized from 4-6 for the 3 year old and 9mo-3x for the little one. So now they are set except for a few pieces that are missing. Some of the things that you can buy for $1 or $2 would have cost me over $30-50. Especially for the cute dresses. And they are almost brand new condition.

  • Reply Vicki |

    My flaw in saying ‘Yes’ to placate or please someone but ‘No’ to my wants is why I am in debt. I am learning to just say ‘No’.

  • Reply Mrs. M |

    I have the same problem with DH. I can tell myself no hundreds of time but if it is for him – I have no backbone. It’s not like he asks for things, I just want to spoil him.


    I can drop tons of money on my daughter and not think anything of it. Her closet and dresser are overflowing with clothes BUT she needs this or that lol

  • Reply Holly |

    I have the same problem when it comes to my kids. They know we don’t have tons of extra money to spend, but when they DO want something, I hate to say no. After all, I was the one who got into debt; it really had nothing to do with them, and I hate to punish them for my money mistakes. I rarely buy anything for myself, because I don’t feel I deserve it. And honestly, I’m getting used to having an outdated wardrobe and “lived in” furniture so it’s no big deal. I want more for my kids though.

    I live with constant “mom guilt” about the things they don’t have or the places they haven’t visited because I was stupid about money.

    But someday things will get better…..and someday my kids will get to Disneyworld.

    They just might not get there for quite some time…..

  • Reply Brianne |

    Graduation is such a big waste of time. When I finished my M.S. last year I didn’t even contemplate attending the ceremony. Independent of how much money it would cost, I couldn’t imagine trying to park near the campus in order to go to the ceremony. Plus, the engineering school’s ceremony was at 9AM on a Sunday morning with line-up of graduates at 8AM. No thanks, I’ll just sleep and you can mail the diploma.

  • Reply Rochelle |

    I am the same way. I’ve worn the same tenner shoes since pregnant with my daughter (she’s now 12.5!) yet see nothing wrong with getting my husband new running shoes every few months. I transferred that on to my children when they were born. I can even spend money on our pets before me! Strange huh?

  • Reply Claire in CA, USA |

    I could have written EXACTLY what Holly wrote, minus the Disneyworld part. 🙂 Unfortunately, our income will probably never allow us to provide the things I’d like my kids to have. They are teens now, so I hope they pursue careers that net them good incomes so that they never struggle like we have. It’s just not any fun, at all.

  • Reply Kim |

    This is me in a nutshell. I will wear old clothes and buy my kids things they don’t need. I am terrible about this.

  • Reply Megan |

    I am horrible about this. My husband can have ANYTHING he wants, but a $15 purse for me because my wallet is falling out of mine? Its a struggle to spend that money. Its getting better though, he gives me cash when I see my sisters and tells them to get me some clothes.

    As for the baby sleeping thing, we just emptied the bottom drawer of our dresser and tucked our son there at night. We also tossed a towel in the bottom of a laundry basket and put him in that in the living room when he wanted to nap during the day. It was much easier and cheaper than a fancy bassinet. Once he transitioned to a crib, I put clothing that fit my new body into the drawer and had an extra laundry basket for the million clothes a baby needs.

  • Reply amy |

    I have the same problem with my husband. He buys dirtbikes, guns, big screen tv, etc. while all I want is new sunglasses or a new outfit that I’m afraid to buy because we might not have enough money until the end of the month. If it makes him happy, it makes me happy, even if I have to sacrifice. Oh well. I just hope one day he appreciates my frugalness.

So, what do you think ?