I woke up this morning with a fever.   Something I ™ve dreaded since winter began. I could feel it all over, to my very core.   I ™m not sure I can handle this right now.

Is it the flu? Pneumonia? Some new virus brought on by the mosquitoes that have already started feeding on me in this balmy March weather?

No, this one is far more dangerous. Especially to our checkbook.

I have shopping fever.

lots of shopping bags

Those of you who don't like to shop may not understand this, or will for sure underestimate the torture of this insidious ailment.   The rest of you “ you know what I ™m talking about.

It feels like every store in the mall is calling me. Nordstrom says our shoes are on sale .   Ann Taylor's teasing me with her buy any two items, get 20% off deal.   And don't get me started on what the handbag stores are saying.   New styles at Vuitton, Coach, Dooney & Bourke “ catch me before I faint!

I can hear them pleading with me to visit, just take a look. We haven't seen you in quite some time, they say.   See all the new fashions; the must haves for spring that are perfect for you.   It won't hurt just to look, will it?

NO! I say out loud as I try with all my might to steer my car away from that mall Mecca we in Dallas call NorthPark.   MUST-RESIST-TEMPTATION. How will I ever get through this?

I divert my attention to our local Sam's, hoping to satisfy my shopping fever by taking care of the necessities, like groceries.    As I bravely march up and down the food aisles, my fever rises again and I veer off to the other side of the store. How about a 55 TV?   That would be nice. Surely we could use a 12-pack of reading glasses.   No, wait “ how about a complete set of wrenches?

What does this have to do with being laid-off, you ask?   EVERYTHING.

One of the by-products of losing your job is worry “ especially about money.   How to pay the mortgage, expenses like the car, kids ™ college, any debt you might have. We “ my husband and I “ have been in this state for almost two years.  He won the lay-off bingo first; I followed a year later.

Try as we might not to dwell on money, it seeps into almost everything we do.   We were used to a very comfortable income with both of us employed, one that allowed us to rarely question the periodic need to shop.   New shoes? Sure.   Another suit? Why not? Besides, you need it for work.

Since the lay-offs, we question every purchase, even at the grocery store. We debate whether we really need designer lettuce or will iceberg do?   How about colas? We shouldn't drink those anyway. Deodorant?   I really don't think anyone will get close enough to smell us.   And what about vegetables? They're pricey; are they really necessary?

shopping for vegetables

I ™m only half-kidding. For us, the decision to devise a lay-off financial plan was a no-brainer.   We approached this new phase of our lives like we were going into battle. Operation self-imposed poverty was our strategy.   No cable, no concerts, no shopping for clothes, more eating at home – all in the plan.

Before anyone starts fearing for our well-being, let me assure you we are FINE. More than fine; in fact we count our blessings daily.   Thank goodness for our parents, who instilled in us the need to always save, no matter how much you make.   Dad, I wish you were here to see that I listened and learned from you. We both have found ways to bring in money, enough that it's like we are living on one of our salaries. And that works.

Do I still have shopping fever ?   You betcha.   Yet I know that this too shall pass.   My need for shoes is really just a want .

Although watch out, mall. When I get back to work, I ™m coming to visit. I may even buy something.

Welcome to Kids Activities!

My name is Holly Homer & I am the Dallas mom of three boys…

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  1. I think this is brilliant – and absolutely what we all are going through these days. There’s a crazy sense of but… but… with a quivering lip… I want those shoes. Crazy. Good for you for taking the time and opportunity to change your life and your families life. *applause*

    You know, you could always start a garden. Zucchini grows really well, even in pots! 😉

  2. Oh! This post is SO SO true. And I, like you, try to find any kind of retail therapy in grocery stores and even trips with my husband to Home Depot! Don’t get me started on beauty blogs and online shopping! I even find myself being sucked on home shopping channels! ( just WHO buys a 3k ring on t.v. these days?) I look forward to the day when I have found a job and I get my fist paycheck – I have already spent it in my mind!