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Am I A Compulsive Spender?

My boyfriend thinks I am.

Today, my boyfriend and I headed to Walmart to find something for lunch, as well as pick up some housekeeping things I needed. After roaming around and being indecisive for a while, he mentioned he really wasn't feeling that well and would be okay with just a coffee. We left Walmart with the groceries in tow and headed to Dunkin Donuts, because if you're going to have coffee you might as well do it right.

Our order came to $9.67. That's a lot for two coffees, no? Totally. But, since we weren't eating lunch I think it was a fair splurge. My boyfriend also drinks coffee with 4 shots of espresso in it, but that's besides the point. I heard my boyfriend shuffling through his wallet beside me, but I paid no mind to him. Being the generous person I am I refused the money he attempted to shove in my hands and handed the woman at the window my debit card.

"Have you ever thought maybe you're a compulsive spender?"

I could almost hear the regret in his tone of voice even as he said it, knowing he shouldn't have, but I was completely offended by what he had said nonetheless. I track everything I spend to the penny and never spend more than I have, while still ensuring I have a cushion in case something goes wrong in coming months (like the company I work for going out of business, ha). I tried to shake the tears welling in my eyes as I graciously accepted the coffee from the woman working and pulled away from the window. I don't think he noticed my tears; I was furious. But mostly, I was offended.

Everyone is a slightly compulsive spender. You cannot go to your favorite store and not spend money, even if you have intentions of not. When I am stressed, I do tend to spend more than I otherwise would, but only by a few dollars. Most of those extra stress dollars are spent on drugstore makeup I don't need or coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. But I still know how to control my "compulsive spending" by allowing myself one new drugstore makeup item once a month that is under $10. I think my spending habits have a much deeper root than just compulsiveness.

To me, even growing up, being able to afford things was my way of feeling independent. It made me feel like I could do anything on my own and could get whatever I wanted, just from this piece of paper or plastic in my hand. I enjoy being able to pay for my own living and expenses. Along with the fact that my boyfriend tries his very best to buy everything he can for me when he's around. I do appreciate him paying his fair share of things, but there is nothing wrong with me paying for dinner and coffee runs either.

As a woman in this day and age, being able to support myself and pay for my own expenses is a big deal. It is something a lot of women older than me cannot do. My own mother, for instance, is working two jobs and is still living paycheck to paycheck. My dad left her with nothing, not even an education. My mom became pregnant with me when she was just 21-years-old. Growing up, that seemed so old.

"My mom was 22 when she had me!" I just remember thinking that my entire life was going to be planned out and in the workings by the time I was 22, and being so proud of my mom for having me young. I secretly beamed at school when everyone's moms were older than mine. I don't even know why.

I am 20 and I cannot imagine being married and getting ready to start a family. But she thought she was, and therefore did not go to college. Instead, she stayed home with Baby Me, while my dad went off and got his education, and worked every day to provide for us. When he left her 13 years later, he was only nice enough to have finished paying off the house for us.

I can remember being little and wanting to pay for things on my own. It made me feel like an adult. A responsible one, at that. After a while, I felt like I was taking some of the burdens off my parent's backs by being able to pay for my own food, toys, etc. Once I turned 19, I stopped eating at home almost entirely, so my mom would not have to spend more money on food than necessary. She did have my little sister too, after all.

I calmly wiped my tears that were about to break the surface and accepted the coffee. I silently forgave him for his words and pulled out of the drive-through. 

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