Sometimes I’m Selfish (and not for the right reasons)

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sometimes i make the wrong decision. sometimes i say the wrong thing. sometimes i’m selfish. i suppose that makes me human, as we can all think of times we wish we would have reacted differently.

chelsea avery the new wifestyle

first, some background. my name is chelsea and i am a gift card hoarder, hi. no joke that i still have gift cards i received from my days in high school. i cannot tell you the joyous feeling when they made the law that gift cards cannot lose their balance just for not being used in a certain amount of time. music to my ears and to my hoarding tendencies.

i have a hard time spending gift cards, especially ones to department stores. i always feel like whatever i decide to buy, i will go back a few days later and immediately find something better and regret my decision to use the money on whatever item i bought originally. the struggle is real.



recently my husband and i were walking around downtown portland and we figured we would go into macy’s since i have gift cards there (5 to be exact). i saw the same purse from two months prior that i teetered on whether to buy or not. after much deliberation and strutting around the store with the purse over my shoulder, i bought it. (here it is in nude…which is now making me want that one instead). this still left $100 in gift cards so we continued to wander around, the entire time confirming with my husband that he liked the purse and it was the right call. i’m telling you…gift card spending goes weirdly deep for me.

the new wifestyle purse

we passed through the men’s section and my husband spotted some new shoes that he really liked. he tried them on, stood in front of the weird little bench mirrors and then said “would you be willing to use your gift card on these?”

my immediate reaction: “umm….no,”  complete with one eyebrow raised and a look that he must be kidding.

his reaction: “oh. okay.”

in my head i was thinking that these gift cards are still around because i meticulously spend them at just the right time and on top of that, they are mine. they were presents from family for my birthday and christmas and i should spend them on me. i don’t necessarily think that just because you’re married, everything immediately becomes “what’s mine is yours.” i still agree with those sentences but upon further reflection of my reaction, i did not like my response.

my husband is such a giving person and he gives without hesitation. i hesitate at times, which is hard to admit. we’ve been sharing and dividing up our money together for years and that feels good because there have been times when i made more than him and when he brings in significantly more. it works for us in regards to income but for some reason when it comes to gift cards, i get a little possessive.

later that night after shopping, my husband said to me “i totally get that those are your gift cards and i shouldn’t have asked. but it also makes me a little nervous that if and when you make a significant amount more money than i do, you might hesitate to share it.”

that stopped me in my tracks because in my mind, gift cards vs. income are two very different things but i could also see where he would get the impression of this since they are both technically money. i told him that wouldn’t be the case and hopefully we cross that bridge soon because it would sure help with our next big dream!

now would be a good time to also tell you that if i’m given cash on a birthday or for christmas, i tend to hold onto that too. i still had a crisp $100 bill from four christmases ago. true story. since we all know actions speak louder than words, i made a decision to share my christmas money with him on his birthday.

the new wifestyle selfish purse


this may not sound like a big deal to you, but it was quite the decision for me. it’s like what i would imagine a bacon lover might feel if they suddenly became vegan. i gave him my bacon (can we all just acknowledge how well this analogy is working in terms of literal bacon and ‘bringing home the bacon!?’)

i placed the crisp $100 in his birthday card, explained that i had it tucked away for four years and that i wanted to give it to him so he could go scuba diving in mexico in two weeks. as he read the card, he knew this was not something to be taken lightly and he asked if i still hesitated when i put the money in. yes, yes i did but after the decision was made, i knew it was the right one.

i’m not here to debate on whether or not to share gift cards or how you divide up money with your spouse, but i am here to share authentically about my continual process of becoming the best woman, wife and partner i can be.

1) gift cards. love ’em, hate ’em, or hoard ’em?
2) is there something you’re more selfish around that you wish you weren’t?
3) what’s an item you like to splurge on every once in a while (purses and shoes for me)


  1. Audrey

    May 6, 2015 at 10:31 am

    I feel your pain. I have a Disney Store gift card that I got my junior year of high school. There’s $2.36 left on it. I haven’t spent it and I won’t pitch it… I know that’s weird. I also have Bed Bath & Beyond cards from our wedding. Like, we’ve TOTALLY needed and bought stuff since then…but not with those cards. I get it.

    That said, sometimes I just give them to K to get ride of the anxiety of them. I always give him the Kohl’s Cash I get because it feels like a chore to shop and spend it. (Although that has an expiration date.) The only time I’m selfish is Starbucks & Target g.c. Those are mine… but I treat him often, so it works out.
    Audrey recently posted…Summer Book Challenge 2015 #scsbc15

    • chelsea

      May 6, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      oh so glad i’m not alone in this audrey! i wouldn’t be able to pitch the gift card with the money either, no way! i’ve had an anthropologie since i was 16….12 years ago. what. it does seem like it works out since you treat your husband too and i don’t blame you for holding starbucks and target close, so many good things come from there!

  2. Shelby

    May 6, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Food. It sounds so silly and awful, but I am selfish with it. I buy meatless chicken patties, or tofu sausage because I don’t eat meat, and sometimes Dan will eat it. Totally not the end of the world, and sometimes I do take a long time to get to it. But when I see he’s eaten it, I always get a “That’s mine! You have all the other food, meatless meat is MINE!” attitude.
    Shelby recently posted…Wedding Wednesday: The Gangs All Here

    • chelsea

      May 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      oh man, i get weird about food too shelby! however, yours seems more valid since you don’t have the meat options and i know at least in terms of food, i always seem to know exactly how much is left of something so it feels thrown off when it isn’t there! thanks for your comment!

  3. Courtney! @ Redefining Athlete

    May 6, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Bah! I’ve been lugging around 6 different gift cards in my purse for months now. MONTHS. And I was pretty sure they were empty, but I had to call to find out (annoying!). I finally did it. Just now. Because of you! I feel so FREE! haha
    I don’t quite hoard gift cards, but I agree they need to be spent on the PERFECT thing. Something I wouldn’t normally buy. It is trickiest with like a Target card because I don’t want to be buying like TOILET PAPER when I use a gift card. I gotta get something good!
    Courtney! @ Redefining Athlete recently posted…Happy Bike Month!!

    • Courtney! @ Redefining Athlete

      May 6, 2015 at 11:41 am

      And great purse!! I think you made the right choice with camel over nude.
      Courtney! @ Redefining Athlete recently posted…Happy Bike Month!!

      • chelsea

        May 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm

        THANK YOU! i’ll get all the validation i can get on this courtney 🙂

    • chelsea

      May 6, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      hahah YES! i’m so glad you called to find out your balances, woohoo! also very good call on not wanting to buy toilet paper with gift cards either and they do need to be on something you wouldn’t normally just buy! hope you have some good places to spend yours on!

  4. Brittany

    May 6, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Love the bag–great way to use your cards!
    Brittany recently posted…Mother’s Day Giveaway feat. Amy Waltz Designs

    • chelsea

      May 6, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      yay! thank you brittany! i am obviously still trying to get all the validation i can on this purchase haha 🙂

  5. Paula Howley

    May 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Oh honey, I SO get it. I am very much the same way- maybe because I’m a Cancer and we are very money oriented.
    My husband and I just pool our money. BUT. For some reason, the money I make cleaning this millionaire’s house in the summer I regard as MY money. A few years ago I had saved a couple grand over the summer and I was going to use that money to go to the next TM convention when my idiot husband crashed his motorcycle and then explained how much higher our insurance rates would be if he reported the crash. So, we didn’t report and paid cash. MY cash.
    I guess I still hold that one over his head.
    1. LOVE gift cards. I just used one for a restaurant with my daughter on our girls’ weekend in the city. it gives me so much joy to get a FREEBIE.
    2. I am selfish with time and money. The two biggies.
    3. I like to splurge on clothes, especially shoes, and books.
    Paula Howley recently posted…Head Start Public Speaking For Kids- Speeches Outside the Box

    • chelsea

      May 6, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      ohhhh that is a super rough way to have to spend all that money you saved up, paula! OUCH. also i hadn’t thought about being selfish in terms of time. good one for me to ponder because i am too and sometimes i think that’s okay.

      you do always have fantastic shoes! thanks for sharing your story…makes me feel a little less nutso.

  6. Jennifer Haston

    May 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Oh Chelsea! Thank you for being honest, I know that was tough! I have so had that moment with Jeremy but ultimately it is both our money and it all comes out of the same place .. but I will be brutally honest as well there are times when I am feeling like.. but but that was mine.. do I really have to share? Then I remember the things he does to be generous without EVEN thinking about it, and I say okay, sounds right.
    1) gift cards. love ’em, hate ’em, or hoard ’em?hmm before your post I would have said hoard but I think I have two in my purse which pales in comparison to you, my dear!
    2) is there something you’re more selfish around that you wish you weren’t? I am selfish about my sleep. I have gone out of my way to sleep in and find ways to get just 5 more minutes.. yes, yes, I know you are more productive when you don’t snooze.. but I don’t care! I need that extra few blinks!
    3) what’s an item you like to splurge on every once in a while (purses and shoes for me) Shoes for me.. but I have actually put that on hold until we are out of debt.. we have 9,915.21 left and I previously said I would not buy any more movies till we are out of debt, and at the end of March I realized that 20.00 here or 30.00 there.. that is 50.00 less I have to put towards debt.. and how awesome will that foot picture be!!! I am imagining such a gaudy ostentatious shoe!!! I can’t WAIT!!!

    • chelsea

      May 7, 2015 at 10:54 am

      thanks for sharing your story too, jennifer! glad to hear i’m not the only one feeling this way. sleep is an important thing so i’m glad you do what you can get to what you need! i know when i don’t get enough it makes the rest of the day and my choices a lot tougher!

      so impressed and proud of you both for attacking that debt! those 20 an 30 dollar purchases do add up and will make those ostentatious shoes even MORE worth it! yay!

  7. Shawna

    May 6, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    FINALLY! Someone understands me. I am sooooo weird about gift cards too. I hate spending them for some reason. I have cards still from Christmas. We got married over a year ago and I still have two Pottery Barn gift cards…not sure what I am saving them for but, haven’t used either!

    • chelsea

      May 7, 2015 at 10:56 am

      haha glad i’m not alone in this shawn! not to one up you…but that pottery barn gift card that is in the picture above is also from our wedding….4.5 years ago. it’s like $25. what! i need to just spend it. i hate spending them too but we know we will eventually (maybe) pick the right thing!
      chelsea recently posted…Sometimes I’m Selfish (and not for the right reasons)

  8. Vivien

    May 6, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks for sharing about this chelsea! I love gift cards but I love receiving cash even more; I usually find myself running to the bank quickly after that, depositing it, and dreaming about that money earning interest. (Spoken like a numbers person, lol).

    I don’t imagine I would have any problems with the “what’s mine is yours” phrase. The only thing that causes me anxiety (in this day and age with high divorce rates, etc) is having that other person walk away with part of the assets I’ve had to earn all by myself. I guess I want to somehow magically “know” we’ll work out for the long term, but of course that’s never a guarantee.

    Trust me, I’ve seen a lot of couples that are very clear cut on the “yours is yours, mine is mine” phrase. My workplace has even seen a fair share of couples refusing to pool together applicable tax credits (even if it benefits them as a couple more) because then he would be “taking” her tax credits, or vice versa.
    Vivien recently posted…Reaching Deep, Being Brave

    • chelsea

      May 7, 2015 at 10:59 am

      hah that is totally spoken like a numbers person, vivien and i love it! compound interest…yes please!

      i think there needs to be a balance of obviously sharing many things but i’m also not so into that i feel i have to give him every little thing either. i definitely don’t want to be on the end either likely our tax clients because they are nervous ‘taking’ their tax credits. hmmm.

      relationships sure are interested, eh? (that was a canadian reference for you viv) 🙂

  9. Amanda

    May 7, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I think it’s super brave and commendable to openly admit a time you realized your selfishness. I catch myself being selfish more than I’d like to admit too. It’s so hard to be selfless sometimes. Ugh.
    Amanda recently posted…Let’s Talk About Feminism

    • chelsea

      May 8, 2015 at 1:12 pm

      thanks amanda for your encouraging comment! i was hesitant to share because of course most of us don’t want to admit when we our selfish, let alone share it with others but i realized i want to authenticity to be a forerunner of this blog! it is hard to be selfless sometimes….ugh is right 🙂

  10. Pech

    May 8, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    1. I am totally a gift card AND a coupon hoarder, where multiple times I’ve accidentally found out a coupon has already expired. I can’t really explain why – there are some times I will want to go spend it right away and will make the trip for it, but most times I just keep carrying it around in my purse for when I think I’ll want something (but since I don’t shop a lot, it just sits there…)
    3. Food. I spend the majority of my money on food and drink! It used to be clothes, but when I got married it turned into dining experiences instead.
    Pech recently posted…Ox Blood Cocktail Recipe with Dickel Whisky

    • chelsea

      May 9, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      ohhh man how could i forget about the coupon hoarding too, pech?! you’re totally right i’ve done that more than i’d like to admit of finding them after they are expired.

      mmmm food and you find lots of delicious places to eat so i suppose that money very well spent 🙂

  11. Elyse

    May 11, 2015 at 7:21 am

    1) I got married 8 month ago, and we received LOTS of gift cards. They are ALL sitting in an envelope, because I HATE using gift cards just willy nilly.
    2) Food. I have serious dietary restrictions that I go crazy if my husband actually eats food that is mine. I try not to, but it happens more times than I’d like to admit.

    3) Dining experiences, since they are so few and far between because of my dietary restrictions.

    P.S. Just found your blog and I love it!
    Elyse recently posted…Why We Work

  12. Stazi

    May 15, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I, too, am a gift card hoarder. It’sa problem. I have a box of them from birthdays and Christmas and it’s alphabetized. I HATE to use them for some reason, and that is actually one of my new years resolutions – to USE my gift cards that I have had for years and years.

    I am selfish about my baby! At family gatherings everyone wants to play pass the baby and I’m like…but I made that. She’s mine. (My precious style almost.)

    I splurge on wine or really nice yarn. I have put a freeze on the yarn though, as I have a metric shit ton (real measurement) that needs to be used. With an infant, nursing school and working full time I have little time to make blankets and stuff! Also chocolate. Oh god the chocolate.


  13. Jacqueline

    May 18, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    I am the exact same way! I hate when my parents, grandparents, brother, or any family member give me money. I have some weird emotional attachment to it and can never spend it.

    1. You know that’s why retail stores love gift cards. I don’t know the exact number, but a ton of those gift cards never get redeemed. Win win for the company.
    2. Time. I am not the most punctual when I make plans. I know it’s completely selfish and it really is something I am working on!
    3. Watches!