Memories of Becoming A Spender

the most “glamorous” moment of my life… in 1993

I believe that I officially became a “Spender” in a K-Mart at 8 years old. I was in line (with my mom and sisters and little brother) and had in hand some money that I had recently received as a birthday gift. I decided that I wanted what I wanted. I had the money. I was going to get it. What was it? A miniature gum ball machine complete with gum balls. OF COURSE!

I had convinced myself that I needed it so I could set it on my dresser and look at how cute it was, so I could impress my best friend Melinda, and so I could buy gum balls from myself whenever I wanted.

This made complete sense to me. Cuteness, impressiveness, and gum.


While waiting in line a thought crossed my mind. I remember thinking that if I saved all my money from here on out I could BECOME A MILLIONAIRE! and maybe even by the time I’m 20 (20 sounded old then)! Then it was my turn at the register and fantasies of millionaire-hood left my mind as my money left my hand.

All these years later that moment in line continues to stand out. I think because it was a turning point. A point when I consciously decided that I wanted what I wanted and at all costs. I wanted more than anything to keep up with my friends whose parents made more than mine and I wanted to seem like I had all that I could ever want. I wanted to play millionaire and pretend that I was somewhere I wasn’t. I couldn’t accept where I was at in life- which wasn’t bad by any means- it just wasn’t the richest and it wasn’t the best bEST BEST WHOA WHOOA BEST! you know? And our society says “be the best” because if you’re not it’s tantamount to being nothing. Which obviously isn’t true but if you think about it, there’s really not much “let’s be okay with where we’re at”. It just doesn’t happen much because money drives everything which means things drive everything. Success in our society is measured largely by the amount of things we own and how impressive those things are. That’s kind of whack right? It is.

What have I learned from this all these years later? More than anything, I’ve learned that having everything I want isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Is there a moment in your life that marked a turning point in your relationship with money?


in Enough (Crap, Debt, Guilt), Family, Friends, & Relationships, Make Do & Mend, Personal


  1. Meghan // August 3, 2011

    I remember being on a family roadtrip when I was maybe 7 years old and having a ziplock bag full of money. I had so much change that the bag had ripped a little. My older sister kept buying herself souvenirs and finally she talked me into buying something too. I bought a bouncy ball from a vending machine for a quarter and a piece of fool's gold. I felt sick afterwards because I wanted my money. I think I was just a natural born saver.

  2. Anna Newell Jones // August 3, 2011

    aww i can just imagine a bag full of money! how sweet! wow… yep, you're a born saver! lucky lucky lucky! ;)

  3. Happy Homeowner // August 8, 2011

    I have so many of these kinds of memories/moments that I'm writing a new series on my blog–check it out!

    PS–Just stumbled across your blog & am lovin' it!! :)

  4. Rich // August 16, 2011

    I have several of these but my most recent was about three weeks ago when my credit card balance topped $60K and we were a few thousand dollars away from the limit on all three credit cards. I sat at work having near-migraine headaches, unable to focus. I have religion now. The data plans are gone, the satellite is going (hello antenna and Hulu), and I joined a carpool for my daily commute from Northern Colorado to Denver (savings from that alone = $8,000/yr). I am also faithfully budgeting and tracking expenses, which is something I used to do dailiy but stopped when life got busy and the money was flowing in. This blog inspired me a LOT! I am aiming for debt free in four years.

  5. Lisa // February 26, 2013

    I love, love, love your site! Your sense of humor and down-to-earth attitude puts you in a category all your own. You make me believe that I can do this and that I can laugh about myself along the way. I am a natural-born spender, too, and I also remember the high I felt when shopping at K-Mart as a kid! And the mall, and just about anywhere else. We are trying hard to take charge of this debt thing, and we’ve made some progress already so I will celebrate that. It’s hard with two kids in tow, knowing when to say yes or no–are guitar lessons a necessity? How about the occasional babysitter? All things we have to weigh…

    • Anna Newell Jones // February 27, 2013

      I’m so glad to hear that and you’re so sweet to say such nice things! xo!

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  • Anna

    Hi, I'm Anna! I paid off close to 24k in debt in only 15 months & it completely changed my life! I want you to have a debt-free life too so here you'll be able to read all about: How to do a Spending Fast®, saving & making more money, DIY's, & a lot about living awesomely with less. Let's do this!

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