Memories of Becoming A Spender

Anna Newell Jones 1993 Glamour Shot

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?

P.S. Want to change your mindset? Here’s a game-changer alert! CLICK HERE for the Money Magnet + Abundance Affirmations Super List


7 thoughts on “Memories of Becoming A Spender

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  1. Meghan

    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. Rich

    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.

  3. Lisa

    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…

  4. Caitlyn

    UGH, this hits home for me. I realized I was a natural spender when I would make $4k in my summers between college and then go to college and blow it all.

    I’m working on starting a simple living/style blog, and I keep almost convicing myself its okay to buy a bunch of clothes (for the blog) despite my debt. Now I’m sitting here thinking… I may really need to reconsider… I want out of debt so badly. U have so much of it… it’s just DUMB.

    Glad I found your site.


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