It’s no secret that one of my all-time favorite books is Your Money or Your Life. The book constantly talks about the Gazingus Pin. The Gazingus Pin is the ridiculous thing you continue to spend your money on. The book couldn’t say “clothes” or “movies” because specific items would be too close to home for many readers. As I read that book, I kept thinking “I don’t go to the mall. I’ve stopped going to Target and Target clearance was my Gazingus Pin. I’ve already solved my problem!” Maybe you’re thinking that, too. You’ve stopped getting coffee on the way to work. Congratulations! Unfortunately, the problem with the Gazingus Pin is that it’s not usually the thing that’s easy to cut out. It’s that thing you need that you never realized you buy in quantities too large to be useful.
What are our Gazingus Pins?
Of course, in true “I’m awesome” fashion, I was able to identify Mr. T’s Gazingus Pin right away: Shoes. Mr. T isn’t a hoarder, a major shopper, or an impulse buyer. He has two feet that are slightly different sizes and both very wide (which throws me off because he’s so skinny!). In short, it is VERY hard for him to find comfortable shoes. They hardly ever have wide sizes in shoe stores and his size differs from brand to brand and even from shoe style to shoe style. This means, if Mr. T finds a pair of shoes that is comfortable, scarcity hits him hard and he has to purchase the shoes.
You probably guessed that I do, in fact, have a Gazingus Pin. And I came face-to-face with it as I was touching every item in my house. I mentioned that Lui’s closet was the biggest hurdle for me. It is full of craft supplies. What I did not mention, however, is that half of them are mine. I don’t “craft” and I certainly don’t claim many of the “crafty” things in the closet, but I have copious amounts of beautiful paper and go wild when school supplies are cheap. When I was a kid, my Grandfather owned a printing shop. Every time we went to his town, we stopped at the store. I loved it there. I loved testing all the pens, looking through the binders of wedding announcement styles, and playing with all the binder clips and fancy paperclips. In the back of the shop, they did the printing. Large machines print and cut paper of all shapes, colors, and sizes. All the scraps that were cut off were stuck in piles on a bottom shelf and we got to pick what we wanted! We had a paper cabinet at home where we stored all the paper. We had long sheets of shiny gold cardstock, giant piece of sticker paper (you pulled off the back!), florescent pink square paper. We had it all!
There’s Always a Reason
Of course I feel the need to provide boxes of paper to my children and always have school supplies on hand when they want them. And the Sharpies! Necessary! Combine my love of office supplies with living in a high-cost area, and you can see that the five-cent school supplies sales at Office Depot each summer are bad news. When I finally opened Lui’s closet to start to tackle it, Mr. T was still at work. I filled a laundry basket of unopened school supplies and realized immediately this was my Gazingus Pin!
Identifying Your Gazingus Pin:
Coming face-to-face with my Gazingus Pin was both helpful and immobilizing. I now knew my true weakness but knowing didn’t help. I still couldn’t get rid of them. And I knew that even looking at the plethora of Sharpie colors I already had available, I would immediately buy another one if it went on sale! But identifying my Gazingus Pin helped me admit I needed help with it. I had to wait for Mr. T to get home from work to help clean out Lui’s room because he could sort through the office supplies in a rational, yet accepting way. We created a small bin of supplies that would be used for the kids for school and limited what we kept to things that made sense or would be used. Mr. T allowed me to keep slightly more than just a sensible amount, which allows me to feel like I’ve still got a Gazingus Pin collection.
The Gazingus Pin is the thing that may never go away. It’s the spending reflex that you know you’ll do if you see. But identifying it allows you to be smart about it. Mr. T will be involved in school supply shopping. And I’ll help him identify specific purposes for new pairs of shoes. We’ll allow eachother to indulge slightly (because if you cut yourself off completely, you may binge later!), but keep each other in check.