I'm not sure what has gotten into me other than the fact that I am happier than I have been for a VERY long time. It's funny how sometimes things can just fall into place. The changes that I wanted to have happen at work happened without me doing much about it (other than saying "this is what I want"). I have finally started to spend some weekend time relaxing (and hanging with friends). And I am starting to believe what Eckhart Tolle says about coincidences not happening; it's all for a reason (and with most of my life, I get the reasons for even some of the unpleasant things happening). Example: last week my manager and I were talking about me needing to travel to one of our dev centers. She recommended Ireland (oh yeah, I am totally doing that!) and I said "why don't we have a dev center in Amsterdam? I really want to go there." Then this week, I got an e-mail inviting me to speak at a conference in Amsterdam. How 'bout that? I've decided not to question what forces (if any) could be invovled with things like that happening. I'm just going to enjoy it.

It's taking me a long time to get to the point here. What was I saying? Oh yeah, I don't know what's gotten into me lately, but it's good. So, the purging. It continued today. I tend to carry around a stack of gift cards and coupons with me. I can't tell you how many times I have spent money on something and then realized that I had a gift card or coupon for it. We are gift card happy at work (which I like) and we have something here called the Chinook Book, which you buy for $10 and it's full of coupons (significant ones) for what they call "green savings". Lots of "$10 off a purchase" coupons. And the book only cost $11 so it's easy to recoup the cost. I love the idea of saving money, but I don't love having to remember the coupons and gift cards.

So what else is going on is that I spent my paycheck down to the last $50. I know! Let's just say I have made plenty of discretionary purchases lately. Another sign that I am in a good mood (when I am in a bad mood, I don't shop much; maybe just things I really NEED). I remember that feeling of spending my paychecks down to the nub. I used to have to do that all the time. Now, not so much, but I still did it this paycheck. Ouch. Good thing that pay day is Saturday. So I have limited funds remaining but I still want to shop.

So? I have challenged myself to use all the gift cards I have been lugging around and the coupons too. It will help asuage any shame I feel about my $150 vitamin store purchase this morning. You don't even want to know what's that's about but let's just say my thoughts about taking vitamins is "more better" and it does take me a while to choke down my daily stash. I feel good though. And the people at the blood bank let me give blood.

So the gift card purge actually started when I went to Australia and my friend/housesitter asked if the gas tank on my grill was full (I have had it for 8 years and have gone through one tank). It wasn't. And I should have known better because she grills pretty much daily. Good thing I had a Lowe's gift card to leave her so she could get a new tank. Not sure when I would have used that card anyway so I was pretty pleased with myself for remembering it.

Now fast forward to this week with me wanting to shop sans cash. Ew, how American. My credit card and scooter will be paid off at the end of August (yay stock!). So no worries. First thing I did (after the vitamin store) was go to Peet's. I drink Peet's coffee but I get it delivered through the mail. So I had $50 in Peet's cards that I hadn't used. I decided to go and buy "stuff". I got a coffee press, some tea and a cute little tea pot. Cost to me: $12. And two gift cards unloaded. Whee!

Then I went to Whole Foods. All the coupons I had were for non-perishables (earth friendly and organic) that I would have bought anyway. So I decided to buy them all now and then I will have them on hand. And I'll be ready to clean my house, eat frozen organic pizza and make risotto at a moment's notice. I saved about ten dollars in coupons and then used a visa gift card I had for another ten dollars. Whee again!

So I basically got $70 worth of free stuff today. I'm not sure when I will ever work my way through my copious Starbucks cards. But I am going to The Barking Frog the week after next and will use up my gift card for there.

It may be a little ironic that I am purging and getting stuff all at the same time. But it feels damn good.