Whatcha buy that for?

Once I find a product I love, I try to make acquaintances with its relatives. I look for different colors or similar styles or explore the store a bit more. It’s like a gold rush, hoping that I have not found the only golden nugget. To be perfectly honest, this has become my favorite hobby. The thrill, the reward, and the joy of opening bags or receiving packages is so much fun for me. During breaks or down times I find myself reaching for my phone to see what’s new or what’s on sale. Some might call me an addict.

Photo by Viktor Paris on Unsplash

Since I got married, my financial life has changed significantly. I have to confess that when I was single I did not have a budget. It’s embarrassing to me; I went to school for Economics and have a Masters in Business Administration. I should know that constraints are part of life and can actually help us get somewhere. I had an idea of how much I spent and an amount that I would not go over per purchase, but this does not replace a budget. I wonder how much more I could have saved and not have wasted on rags, like my mom would call my fast-fashion acquisitions.

My husband and I knew that without a budget we were not going to do well, so we’ve always had one. That definitely slowed down my spending. It was also around this time that I started being more particular about the things I owned. I have done three major purges since then and have continued to change my shopping habits.

During my time at home with our baby, my phone and ice cream were some of my best friends. I looked through apps for videos and items that I enjoyed, and at night would continue the party with ice cream. It’s been a few months since then and the baby is now adapting to life on Earth, like I call it. I have been working on being more careful about purchases as well as any items that we keep at home. A place where I felt that control was needed was our freezer. We have a conventional fridge and the freezer was full with a combination of frozen veggies, meats, desserts, and fruits. Some items were simply not going to get eaten. I decided to plan meals with what we had and not plan for what I could buy. Well lo and behold, we were two thirds into the month and have only spent about half of our budget.

I am sure that my discovery is equal to the discovery of warm water, but it was just different to what I would do. At first I would always buy all the sales at the grocery store and then overspend. Now I would be buying all my essentials when going to the store for a few things to avoid making another trip. Understanding this habit led me to understand my other overspending habit. Shopping around had what purpose? I knew that I was trying to distract myself from the emotional roller coaster of motherhood but I am currently at the bottom of the drop. I don’t need the extra distraction.

Sitting at work I saw the switch I had made: I was not purchasing items to love them but to collect them. However, I am not a collector. I love to enjoy what I wear and what I pick to be part of our home. My searches have been successful and my methods at times practical, but I had moved away from what I had sought to accomplish at the beginning of our marriage: simple pleasures.

I want to wear that beautiful lipstick over and over again. I want to use a pair of jeans so many times it gets holes in it. I enjoy that feeling of using something up for it means that it fulfilled its purpose, but in my constant search, I don’t give my belongings a chance. This obviously doesn’t fit with frozen chicken drumsticks, but they fit with the idea. Buy to use, not to collect. Most collections resemble museums, with items standing in cases or shelves snowed in with dust. How is that enjoyable? That would be some nasty chicken.

Buy to use, not to collect.

Simple pleasures are easy to come by, and of course, I found a way to complicate them. Is enjoying shopping bad? Not at all, but enjoy with your goal in mind. Shopping is a means to an end. The end is what you bring home, and that is what stays with you. To ensure that I stick to my warm water discovery, I shall add this question to my list before purchasing something: is this for me to love with my use?

Right now, my freezer is not cleared, but it will be soon. Smoothies will be a great munchies killer as well as those frozen cupcakes. What are some spaces you can get the use of their contents soon?

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