• Like a bad penny, debt always turns up…

    unless we change how we interact with money, of course!

    The Bad Penny is dedicated to two pursuits: getting out of debt and staying out of debt! It recognizes that frugality and caring for our planet go hand in hand, and that our unsatiated need for stuff is hurting us in so many ways.

    Easier said than done!


    I am not a finance professional. I write about the world as I know it, and my advice may not be the best course of action for you! Please seek qualified advice for your particular situation.

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The Peanut Butter Cup Problem

Just after Halloween, I bought 2 bags of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. The fun size.

Why? Because they were half off. And I like the taste of Peanut Butter Cups.

Most of them are still sitting in my pantry – along with the Halloween candy my two-year-old got from trick-or-treating.

Gabe Trick or Treating - Halloween 2007

The thing is, as much as I like the taste of that candy, it makes me feel sick afterwards. The sugar in it makes my blood race and my stomach feel strange. Yet I keep buying it, and eating it!

Shopping is a lot like that candy for many of us. It’s exciting to buy something – exciting to imagine the “taste” of our selection when we get home.

But if any of you are anything like me, it’s easy to buy things that aren’t good for us – things we don’t need.  That we might even not use, even if we think we will.  Some of us even go so far as to buy things we don’t even want – simply for the sake of the purchase. I’m sure many of my readers can all relate me when I talk about the shirt we thought we would love that we never wear. Or another magazine subscription we don’t have time to read. What about the healthy box of granola in the pantry that routinely gets passed over for the chocolate puffs?   We feel ill that we aren’t using the items, but we ignore the fact that those items are in our house the next time we want a taste out at the mall or the grocery store.

The thing is, the “sick” feeling isn’t just from the fact that it’s sitting in your house, unused and unwanted. It’s because of the money you wasted on that purchase.  It might even be because you are still paying it off and accumulating interest in the meantime!

The only solution I can think of to my Peanut Butter Cup Problem (PBCP) is simple hindsight: I shouldn’t have bought them. Yes, they are delicious, but it doesn’t take long before I feel ill from the sugar, and it’s just not worth it. Will I remember that the next time I want to purchase Peanut Butter Cups at half off? Hopefully. Probably not. 🙂

Take the next step: The next time you want to make a purchase, ask yourself if it will make you “sick” in the future. If it will, don’t buy it!


3 Responses

  1. This is very good advice. I had that problem too, and my new rule is that I’m only allowed to buy things if I think about wanting them all on my own- completely independently of advertising, friends, or wandering past them in the store.

    So if I’m getting ready to go out and think “I need some new eyeshadows, I’ve used up almost all the ones I like” then I’m allowed to buy some. But if I’m randomly walking past the MAC counter and want to buy them on impulse, I stop myself. It works great because I’m cutting out impulse spending but not depriving myself of the things I really want and will use.

  2. I like that – how do you manage television advertising? Sometimes I see a commercial and decide I want something I’d never even have thought of without having seen that advertisement.

  3. I actually don’t have tv (well, I have *a* tv, but cable is ridiculously expensive so it’s not hooked up, I just watch dvds on it.) so I am protected from commercials for the most part.

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