I read about a woman who decided that for one year she would not buy anything she didn’t need. No new clothes, no new shoes, no new makeup, no books, no magazines, no gum at the checkout, no Starbucks coffee, nothing. Just the essentials. Food from the grocery, no restaurants allowed. Utility bills. Insurance. Rent and that was about it. I wondered how in the world she did it.
You would have to just stay out of stores except to get groceries or medicine. I don’t know if I could do it. Just this week I bought several things I did not need. I bought more fabric, some good smelling soap at a store in Nashville, some paperback books and a Christmas present(yes, I shop early.) I almost bought some paint I didn’t need today just because I liked the color. David and I looked at lights we want to buy for the new porch we plan to build. We looked at a new vanity and sink for one of our bathrooms. We consume all the time. Some things are needed, but did I really need that extra fabric when I have bolts and boxes of fabric in my shop?
I have been looking at things differently lately. When I was younger it was all about getting things. Now it is all about taking care of those things, cleaning those things, insuring those things and moving around those things. The important things in life aren’t things, I read somewhere and it is true. In fact, some of my things are getting in my way. That’s why every so often I have a garage sale to sell some things to make money to buy more things.
Still, when I see a cute blouse or an interesting book or some new line of fabric I want to buy, buy, buy. And it is worse when David and I are together. He is my enabler.
I think how if you just did without one Starbucks coffee each week for a year, you would save enough for a night on the town and a hotel room. If you drink Starbucks every day, you could save enough for a week’s vacation in a year if you stopped drinking it. I’m not picking on Starbucks. It’s just one thing many people believe they cannot live without. If you smoke, think of all the money you would save if you banked all that money you are burning up? If you eat out two or three times a week, think of the money you would save by eating at home? Now life without eating out occasionally or drinking a Starbucks, if that’s what you like, would be downright boring, but just think of all the money we American spend needlessly. Does your dog need that new toy? I find myself looking at dog toys all the time. My dogs have a wagon full of dog toys. They are well played with, but did I need to buy so many? Did my chickens really need a rooster picture in their coop? Those cute cowgirl socks I bought when we were out west. I’ve worn them once and felt like a dork. I try to keep only things I really love around me, but do I really need three magazine subscriptions when I barely have time to read one?
I know I will keep consuming. That is what we Americans seem to do. Have you ever passed a store at any time of the day that didn’t have cars parked in front with people consuming inside? I have decided, though, to think long and hard before I buy something from now on. I want to go a whole month without buying an article of clothing. I love clothes, but my closet is packed. I can’t wear all the clothes I have. I get so many catalogs because I love to order on the internet. In fact, most of my clothes I have ordered online. I have to make myself not look at the clothing sites. Some people in the world are fortunate if they have new clothes at all. I know I am blessed to have so much and I really don’t need it all.
I don’t know where this blog is going. I told David I would like to try not to buy anything unnecessary for a whole year and blog about it, but then I chickened out because I don’t think I could do it especially since we are doing some remodeling next year. Maybe I will just be more careful how quickly I decide to buy something in the future. David doesn’t spend dollar bills. Whenever he gets change, he puts the dollars aside. You would be surprised how much he saved one time doing this. There are all kinds of ways to save money even if you like to buy stuff. For now, I am going one month at a time to see how little I can spend and still have fun. It should be interesting.
I think I will find I can do without so much more than I thought I could. It will be a challenge. But don’t be surprised if you see me consuming in a store one day. Bye.