Posted by Carly at Apr 26, 2006 6:00 am
First, let me say that I’ll be away from Thursday through Sunday at an RWA (WRW) Retreat in West Virginia and I hear there’s no internet access, so if you don’t here from me until Sunday or Monday, that’s why!
Now on to today’s post:
STUFF? WHAT STUFF?
I recently saw a TV news clip about how Americans collect STUFF. Actually it was about Americanâ€™s need to buy stuff. How many of you buy things and are so excited at the moment and then when itâ€™s too late to return, wonder what the heck you were thinking? Maybe this is why Weird Al Yankovicâ€™s Ebay song was such a hit (Shattnerâ€™s old toupee, a Kleenex used by Dr. Dre, a Farrah Fawcett poster). But seriously, weâ€™ve hit on my secret addiction. SHOPPING. It doesnâ€™t taste as good as Janelleâ€™s Starbucks addiction but damn it feels good in the moment! And internet shopping has only made the obsession and ability to buy things easier and hence worse. If I want to procrastinate writing, click around and hit buy. Credit cared store, Paypal, all designed to destroy us!
Good Morning America, the show I think did this special report, discussed people who decided to give up buying nonessentials for ONE YEAR. Iâ€™m shaking in my shoes (donâ€™t ask me which pair. I have too many to count.) They saved so much money. I thought about it, I really did. I promised myself I would stop ordering things I donâ€™t need. I returned two boxes of stuff sitting in my office because I was disappointed in the contents. Good job, right? I pat myself on the back. I ignored the shipping costs of returning the stuff, which cost nearly as much as some of the items to begin with. But Iâ€™d sent it back. Good job, I thought. No more nonessentials.
Yesterday, I went shopping with my mother. My mom is like my best friend. We have a fantastic relationship, can tell each other off, yell and be laughing two seconds later. So shopping we went. I needed things, I tell you. Throat cream for the wrinkles on my neck. Iâ€™ll be forty one in a few months. I need prevention! Soapless soap to wash my delicate face. â€œDid you see our new spring/summer line?â€ The makeup lady behind the counter who knows my weakness brings out two gorgeous book with blush, lipstick, eyeshadow and bronzer. Two different color packets. And no they donâ€™t come together but if you buy them separately, youâ€™ll have the darker colors for the summer. Theyâ€™ll look great on you! Of course. And of course I own them now. So much for not purchasing nonessentials. This is why I donâ€™t make New Yearâ€™s Resolutions, folks! I justify by telling myself they gave me enough free travel size samples to keep me smiling. Never mind that if Iâ€™d stayed home, I could be pages and pages beyond where I am now. Time out with my mother is worth everything, so what if I canâ€™t control my buying impulses?
There are the small purchases that are easy to justify in the moment but add up over time and the big purchases that seem so necessary but set you back big bucks and send you scrambling to hide the items in my closet and hope when I wear them, hubby wonâ€™t even notice. Yeah right. Try doing THAT with two hawk-like teenage girls watching my every move. â€œMommy is that necklace new?â€ â€œDonâ€™t you already have that bag Mom?â€ When theyâ€™re older, theyâ€™ll understand thereâ€™ a purpose to the same black and beige and pink bag!
I recently sold some items on eBay through a store that took a percentage to do all the work. The amount of unused barely used things made me cringe. The money they sold for added up to a nice tidy sum. Unfortunately not nearly close to what Iâ€™d originally paid but the glass is full person that I am when it comes to shopping said, â€œMORE MONEY TO SPEND ON NONESSENTIAL ITEMS!â€ Okay that wasnâ€™t what I said, but something close. My husband merely shook his head and warned me not to spend more than what was in that check.
I didnâ€™t spend more. But I have two shiny new pieces of jewelry to call new. Right now I wear them daily. Next year, theyâ€™ll be in the closet and Iâ€™ll barely remember them. OR maybe theyâ€™ll be the sentimental item I love and canâ€™t seem to take off now matter how many other little things I buy in between.
Hereâ€™s my philosophy: Iâ€™m not putting us in debt. Iâ€™m spending less than my hubbyâ€™s golf and car â€œhabitâ€. And really, Iâ€™m not spending as much as I led you to believe in this blog but you get the gist. And Iâ€™m HAPPY.
Makeup: None of your business.
HAPPINESS and time with Mom: PRICELESS
(Thank you, Mastercard!)
Seriously though, I donâ€™t see myself giving up nonessentials for a year. I do, however, hope to THINK first and hit purchase NEVER. And when Iâ€™m out spending time with people I care about, I vow to remember itâ€™s the quality of that time that counts, not the number of shopping bags I come home with. Iâ€™ll be more careful. Until the next time that clever sales girl waves the newest â€œitâ€ item of makeup in front of me.