I think today's a personal record: I spent over eight-hundred dollars at the mall and didn't come home with anything.

First, I went to Sears and bought a dishwasher. I promised Jessie that I would buy one as one of the highest priority items after I started getting paychecks from my new job, and Friday marked the depositing of my second
paycheck, so it was time to buy one. I'd originally intended to get one from Best Buy, but we need a hookup installed before we can get a dishwasher, and Best Buy's technicians don't do hookups. All of their policies are geared towards replacing an existing unit, not putting in a new one where none was before, so they couldn't help us. Sears' sales reps claimed that they could do the hookup installation as well as the dishwasher installation, but that would be extra on top of what we'd already paid. They also said, however, that if we chose to cancel the installation we would get a full and instant refund on the dishwasher purchase itself. Thus, I felt safe in dropping
five-hundred-forty-three dollars and change on a tall-tub Kenmore with a three-year full warranty, delivery and installation.

Always get the warranty. I cannot stress this enough. When it breaks—and it will break—the warranty will save you. If you get the warranty, it may not break. If you do not, it almost certainly will. If you don't get it, and it breaks, you will wish you'd had it. 

After that, I wandered through Wilson's Leather and found a leather trenchcoat that I really, really liked. It's a men's coat, which annoys me mildly, but they will not make a women's leather trench that fits me right. I can guarantee it. So, a men's coat it is. They had two styles, one with a removable liner and one without. Each was on sale, from $350 to $250, or $425 to $270. They had the ones with removable liners up to large, and those without up to extra-large, but none in XL with a removable liner, so I asked the clerk if they carried such a thing. He checked with his manager, who informed him—and me—that they did make them, but that they were
out and likely wouldn't get any more considering the season and the fact that they hadn't sold the ones they had. I asked the clerk to call around for me, and after four tries he found a store that had the one that I wanted in the
size I needed, and they even deliver! So, I paid an extra five dollars to have it delivered, and I'll have a new coat in two or three days.

The only real problem with all of this is the sense that being as in debt as I am, these kinds of expenditures are... not frivolous, but ill-conceived. Poorly planned. I have more important uses of my money, going to things like debt repayment and savings in case I lose my job again and retirement funds so I can quit my job one day. These kinds of expenses, especially the trench coat, really make me feel like I could've done something better with the money.

All that said, though, I recognize that the quality of life is as important as the quantity, and right now these are things that will greatly improve the quality of my life. I have wanted a trenchcoat for years, and having found one that fits that was on sale makes me incredibly happy. Plus, I needed a new coat; the one that I've got really doesn't serve as a useful winter jacket, even if I did wear it as such. As for the dishwasher... it's a luxury, I admit, but one that I really think we could use at this point. Jessie's getting sick of doing the dishes, and with her arthritis, she just has trouble keeping on top of them. I could do them, but I get so little time in the evenings to just relax because of my commute that I really have no desire to spend my time working on more chores. Keeping up with laundry and cooking is enough for me.

Plus, it feels good to spend money like this, in a roundabout fashion. If I'm well-off enough to buy these kinds of things, I'm well-off enough to help people again. I may have to watch when and how, but I can do so and not
suffer for it. I like being able to do that. Plus, even little things like not having stacks of dirty dishes on the kitchen counter will make me feel better about my house, and that's important to me.

One thing I'd love to do is schedule a refinance on my house. I know I just bought it, but I'd love to be able to roll my standing credit card debt—or even just a chunk of it—into my mortgage payment to lower my bills. Right now I'm dropping $600 a month on one credit card, and then balance-transferring $400 off of the other onto it. It's taking down my debts, but not nearly as fast as I'd like. I could do more, but I need to rebalance my budget again and actually see what things cost me before I tweak anything else.

I'm also looking forward to upping my spending on my retirement account, but for now that's just waiting on my dividends to roll over into more stock. There's a critical mass I'm hoping to achieve, of every dividend payment I
receive earning me enough to buy more stock, but until my dividends reach a certain level, I'd be paying too high a percentage of my expenditures on commissions to make that viable. It'll be a while before I'm at that level,
but once I'm there, things should snowball nicely. 

I can do anything I want, if only I have the patience and focus. 

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