Today I was scouring the local mall, looking for cute pieces to wear that don't cost an arm and a leg, when I stumbled into Wet Seal.  I DID happen to find a cute plaid tunic, and when I went to pay for it, I was shocked by a comment.

The mother and daughter pair in front of me were paying for some clothing, and the mom handed the cashier a credit card (one of many in her wallet.) He ran the card through a couple times before looking at her, and he said, "Sorry, it's saying transaction declined." She just chuckled and handed him another card, replying "Oh, I suppose that one's probably starting to run out of money."

WHAT??


First of all, is there no budgeting going on in your life? Overdraws on a checking account are at least $20.  Why would you waste at LEAST $20 when if you take two seconds to write down what you spend, and spend that $20 on a cute new shirt or something? Second of all, we're in a recession. Over-spending now could really come back and kick your butt, especially with banks tightening spending limits and increasing punishment for going under, and credit cards becoming harder to manage and acquire. Third, people who were irresponsible (like this woman) and didn't watch what they spent and what money they had are the reason we're in a recession in the first place. And another thing - what is this going to teach your daughter? If she acquires the same spending habits, she could get into a lot of trouble. Just two seconds of watching what you spend can make all of the difference.

Since I've begun having to save and budget my own money for what I want, I have become a much smarter shopper - I have a debit card that I manage very closely, but unless I'm out of town and NEED to use the debit card, I only carry cash with me. I don't bring a lot unless I know that I'm going to be buying stuff, and I look for bargains wherever I go. Especially when I found out I was in charge of my BTS shopping, I made a list of what I wanted and looked for the best deals.

What about you? Do you watch your money when you shop, or do you just whip out the card to pay? Am I the only one bothered by spending habits like this mom's? And for those who are going back to school, how are you going about your shopping - see something and buy, or pre-planned?