Personal and Family Finance


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Stuck in a Cycle of Spending

I started this blog with every intention of discussing real issues facing everyday families while incorporating research-based information. I have not been doing a very good job of this lately, not wanting to admit that I have my own faults when it comes to my own finances.

Stuck in a Cycle of Spending

I’ll be honest, sometimes I don’t do everything right when it comes to spending and saving money even though I should know better. That’s what behavioral economics is all about. So this week I am going to open up a bit about one of my major money habit flaws – Kohl’s Cash. I am not endorsing any store or program, I am not saying it is “good” or “bad”. This is just a story about a spending habit I am not proud of.

I like shopping at Kohl’s; usually it’s for holiday gifts for others, when I need a few new pieces of clothing for a conference, new bedding, or a piece of wall art for my home. I wait for the weekends because it seems that is when everything is on sale. I am signed up for their in-store rewards program so when I purchase something I earn points (which adds up to Kohl’s Cash). I usually wait until they offer Kohl’s Cash too.

The problem with this is, after I buy what I want or need, I end up with this “free” money I need to spend in a certain amount of time. So, I shop again for something I have been wanting. I say wanting because I really don’t need any of the things I end up getting. At first I did, like at Christmas when I had enough Kohl’s Cash to buy a new set of knives for my kitchen. We were still using an old set of knives we had gotten as a wedding gift in 2002, but some of the knives were missing or had broken.

I always feel that if I don’t spend this “free” money, I am just throwing it away. The biggest problem with that is, I never buy anything for the amount I have. I spend even more! Then I get more Kohl’s Cash and the cycle repeats itself. A few months ago I used my Kohl’s Cash to buy a new coffee pot. I already had a coffee pot, but this one has a frother so I can make my own specialty coffee at home. I didn’t end up spending the Kohl’s Cash that I earned with the coffee pot because I realized I needed to break this cycle.

The store knows exactly what they are doing. I know what I am doing too. I study this type of behavior for a living! It just goes to show that our behaviors play such an important role in how we spend money.

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