Ever since the raise at my job and the move to a cheaper apartment, I have loosened the tight leash on my game spending. I have picked up a number of things I’ve wanted for quite some time (and a few things that were, frankly, impulse buys). For the first time since my raise, nearly a month ago, I have no packages coming to me from Amazon this week. No plans to go to Labyrinth Games before my Friday boardgaming group to pick up a new game to bring. No “shopping list” of items that could be helpful in running my Sunday RPG group.
There are two reasons for this: one, I am a federal employee, and the rumors of a government shutdown are reaching an unignorable crescendo, and two: to avoid going nuts with spending, as I have every other time in my life I’ve had a financial windfall, I have established a very generous budget, generous on the condition that I stick to it. I WANT to stick to it. I want to be a “reasonable consumer.” I don’t want to be on Hoarders: Extreme Geek Edition.
And yet, here I am, counting down the days till October 1st, praying for no government shutdown so I can have a clean slate again to go nuts in October.
I don’t give myself a hard time about this too often. I’m making more money than I’ve ever made in my life. I have no children. My wife also has a job. This is my primary hobby. Though there are some important, mature things I can do with my money, like pay off my remaining debt and build up more savings for retirement, both of those things are budgeted for sufficiently. So what the hell else is a 34-year-old married man who doesn’t drink much and hates the outdoors supposed to do with all that money?
I think I may have a minor shopping addiction. I love the high of obsessively stalking something I want, then finally being able to pull the trigger on it. I love getting it in the mail, or bringing it home from the store, and rapidly plundering its secrets, discovering the joy of it, and later mentally cataloging what specific “fun niches” this new thing covers. I relish that feeling of tranquility, of knowing that something I wanted is now mine, to do with as I please.
Is that wrong? I guess the answer to that would be “Well, if you can stick to your budget and pay all your bills, absolutely not.” And therein lies the very reason why I’m writing this. I want to pull the trigger on more stuff RIGHT NOW. And I’m writing this in a desperate attempt to understand this hunger and hopefully stave it off, at least until Tuesday (again, assuming there is no government shutdown, at which point I can literally no longer afford to indulge myself). I write this as nothing more than a direct attempt to fight the urge. Like performing surgery on one’s self, I’m cutting into my own mind to see what the problem is, and seeing if there’s anything I can do to ease the pain of waiting.