"I LIKE SAVING MONEY, I do, I really do!!" Repeat 1000 times until you actually believe it.

I was listening to the radio this morning and the announcer mentioned that many people who have not been affected by the recession (who's that???) are embarrassed to purchase luxury items such as jewelry, high end cars, or designer clothes.

This, in turn, is not good for the economy, because companies that produce these items are suffering. You know the story. So to those of you who are loaded...get out there and buy yourself that new diamond tennis bracelet and that Hermes Birkin you've been eyeing up!! Help the economy! Keep your housekeeper and your gardener...they need the work.

Okay, now I'm going to talk to the rest of you.

I am not a person who has alot of luxury goods, but I have been trying to be really careful. Knock wood, Brad my husband still has a job, but he who knows what tomorrow will bring.

In the spirit of saving money I've been trying to ENJOY spending less.

Take my car, for example. My minivan is five years old. Lately I've been eying up some cool SUVs. They look great, but I'm going to resist. My car is paid for, it runs great and as long as I keep it clean I'm cool. Yeah, I don't have a sweet Lexus LS 570 with rain sensing wipers and alloy wheels, but at least I won't have a fit if my girls spill ice cream in the back seat.

I've also been working on little things like skipping the McDonald's Diet Cokes and Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce Lattes. (God help me)

Some things I haven't cut back on. My husband would love it if I let go of our cleaning lady who comes every two weeks, but I'm not ready for that. I need her, DESPERATELY. Plus, she needs the work and she's been with us for 8 years. I can't do it to her.

My 9 year old has Ugg boots and a North Face fleece. These are the normal uniform for kids in our town. Throw in gymnastics, tennis, swim lessons and a beach club and things REALLY add up fast. I hate to admit it, but around here, these things are the BASICS. Even when you're "being careful" normal life is EXPENSIVE.

I really hate being panicked and tight on money. It stresses me out and it REALLY stresses out my hubby. So, as part of my quest for self improvement, I have to THINK before I spend. I have to be aware of what's coming in, and what's going out. About college savings, retirement and a safety fund in case, god forbid, my husband loses his job.

Scary stuff.

My strategy is to try to enjoy the feeling of not spending. Yesterday I didn't spend one dime. I made my own coffee, ate at home and didn't shop for anything, not a magazine, not a candy bar...nothing. Sure it's hurting the economy, but I'll let the rich people spend their cash.

If I'm good now, I can spend my golden years hitting tennis balls and looking out at the ocean from my awesome retirement home on the beaches of North Carolina.

And you're all invited to visit me.