I am a stinge-bucket with my money.  A big giant one. (I'm also an introvert and kind of a hermit these days, which makes me more like Ebenezer Scrooge than I ever hoped to be...)

When I was in the seventh grade, my parents let me go to France on an exchange trip with my middle school French program.  They gave me some spending money to buy souveniers.  During our two weeks there, my friends bought dresses and scarves in Paris, charcoal drawings of themselves by the street artists, books from the Louvre, and food outside the Eiffel Tower.

I came back with some postcards, a keychain, and a bunch of Francs that needed to be converted back to dollars.

I felt so foolish and vowed to never let it happen to me again - but it did.  I went to Mexico with my youth group in high school, and we spent a day at in Tijuana shopping for souveniers before we crossed the boarder back into the States.    My friends bought ponchos, fake Rolexes, belly button rings, and sombreros.  Two girls on our trip even bought canteens that were make out of cow hooves.  They were bizzare.  The girls carried them around California when we got back, taking big swigs and drawing looks of horror from the passersby.  It looked like they had sawed off a cow's leg and hollowed it out for their Evian.  I think the hooves still might have had some dirt in them.

And do you know what I left with?  A bobble-head chihuahua.

It's that bad.

After the France and Mexico fiascoes, my mom decided she had had enough.  For my birthday this year, she sneakily got me a gift certificate to a store that only exists in Indiana, forcing me to come visit so that she could supervise me spending the money on something other than life insurance.

You may be thinking that this is a very sensible, endearing trait - and that my husband allows me me shop without fear or anxiety because he trusts fully in my frugality and prudence and my inner scrooge.


Dan still has a teeny, tiny panic attack whenever I decide it's time to change out of my pajamas and leave the house.  You see, ironically enough, frugality comes with a price tag.

You may not know it, but NOT buying things is mentally exhausting and takes a very long time.  Dan knows that when I go "shopping," I will be gone for at least 6 hours.

The conversation goes something like this:

Me:  Honey, would it be okay for me to go out this afternoon?  I have some things I want to pick up.

Dan:  Do you want me to watch the baby?

Me:  If you could.

Dan:  Yeah, I'll take the day off.  What does Madeline need for lunch?  And where are her pajamas?

But it's my process!  I walk into every store "just in case" I happen upon the Hope Diamond, wrapped in a cashmere sweater, stuffed inside a Louis Vuitton purse in a clearance bin at Marshalls.  You never know!

And by the time I have driven around to every clothing store within a 30-minute-radius, well then I'm ravenously hungry so I grab a very large coffee and a cookie - lunch of champions.  Then I go BACK to the store I deem most sensible (usually Forever 21),  where I proceed to stare at a wall of cardigans for 30 minutes and ask myself:

-Do I really need this? -Exactly how many outfit combinations could I get out of this? -If I wore this twice a month and it lasted for 3 years, how much am I paying PER WEAR? -What would the starving children in Africa think?

At which point I try it on, spend another 30 minutes deliberating, put it back and walk away, looking over my shoulder longingly.  Then I buy some earrings or a headband or something to quell the urge to get something. (I've found that at the end of the day, I feel much better about earrings than a bobble-head chihuahua.)

But my friends,  the REASON that I can't purchase anything unless it is marked down, down, down to the depths of the earth is because, just when I consider paying full price for something?  THIS HAPPENS:

Liberty of London Queen Size Comforter Set, brand new (I yanked it out of the package for the photo):  $30.

Starbucks mugs: .50 each.

Belts: $1.45 each.

I also snagged a Gap boyfriend cardigan for $3.50 and a pair of cords that fit me like a glove.

Was it worth 6 hours?  I think so.  I mean, I also got a coffee and a cookie out of it.