Feeding the Mogwai

Enemy, thy name is Ebay. Seriously, Ebay can be so difficult to say NO to. Especially when you find a great deal on something that you never knew you always wanted. All of a sudden that magical countdown clock until the end of the auction becomes your deadline for how badly do you want this one of a kind whatever? The minutes tick by, you refresh the page, the price climbs slightly, you feel a moment of “Oh no, I’m not going to win it.” Ebay should really come with warning signs like “Not for the fiercely competitive” or “Remember, you have to pay with real money”. The game is the fun. Paying for it after is not.

Really, I make it sound like I have fierce Ebay addiction. I don’t, but I definitely have friends who do (not you, of course). Kind of sounds like denial, huh. What I think I have is a very cheap way to buy exactly what I want and get it shipped to me quicker than any store will ship. Like I shared with you, I bought most of my Christmas presents at the black Friday sales, but almost everything else I bought online at either Ebay or Amazon.com. I now LOVE shopping online. I don’t have to drag my three children into the store. I don’t have to go to 5 different stores to find what I want. Plus I can check the other stores prices and usually find it for cheaper. It is brilliant! …and slippery.

The ease of purchasing at a click with the fantastic power to find everything you want makes for a deadly budgeting combination. There is an old joke that the easiest way to save money shopping is to not go shopping. If you never go to the stores you are guaranteed to spend less than if you go all the time. It just makes sense. But the problem with Ebay and Amazon.com and shopping online in general is that the store comes to you.

So here I am in the throws of quiting my credit card and you just absolutely can not order things online without a credit card. I can use my bank account directly, but quite frankly that makes me a little nervous. But how do I get the cheapest prices on a birthday present for my sister-in-law that needs to ship ASAP? And what do I do with finishing shopping for Luke’s birthday? I am still in the quandry over these things, but what I do know is that it is time to tame the Ebay monster in my life… and mine only looks looks like a mogwai (you know the very cute and cuddly pet that when they ate after midnight they became hideous Gremlins? If you haven’t seen “Gremlins”, please don’t rush to rent it. It’s scary. I had bad dreams for a long time after…). But it’s time for the mogwai to stop eating. Maybe your online shopping habits look more like a full out nasty Gremlin. In which case, I might be touching on a very sore spot for you.

The thing is, that if you weren’t looking at those things on ebay, you would never know what you were missing. You would spend less, you would somehow make do with less. How did you survive before online shopping? I think my rule is going to be, if it is something that I am going to physically drive to a store to find, then I can look for that online. But if it isn’t worth a trip to the store and if I don’t have a plan (in advance) for it in my budget, then I definitely don’t need it.

The whole point of this month of blogs entitled “Life After Credit Cards” is that credit cards can many times sabotage your dreams and they can be a very easy pit to fall into and extremely difficult to get out of. If you have a spending problem (which you may need to ask your husband or wife or close friend if you do, because it can be easy to justify it in yourself and thereby difficult to recognise) then places like Amazon.com and Ebay may not be safe for you. If you are living in debt, or would like to be in a different financial position than you are right now, then online shopping might be the hole in the boat that is sinking your dreams. If it is, it is time to stop feeding the Mogwai and get a hold of your spending. Anyway, that is my plan. However, that is also terrible news for the new pair of boots I have been wanting. Whatever will I do? I guess I’ll just have to let the auctions pass and wait until I have the money in hand in order to buy the boots. The waiting is the hard part and is what throws many of us off, but the truth is that the waiting can make it all so much sweeter when you finally get to buy it.

I have seen God do miracles before I buy something and after I have already bought something, and I would much rather the before. It is so fun to ask Him for the provision for new shoes (or whatever), and then see Him provide for those shoes, and then to go buy them. The issue is that we often don’t even include Him in our decision making process and so we buy things not knowing where the money is coming from and then ask God to provide when we get our credit card bill at the end of the month.

Anyway, this is part of the pattern that I am stopping in this “Life after Credit Cards”. It is time to believe God in advance. It is time to be careful what my eyes see because it causes my heart to go after other things than what God has for me. In other words, it is time for me to stop feeding the Mogwai 🙂 How about you?