This year I have been trying to be conscious of the buying choices that I make. For items other than necessary household purchases, I have asked myself the question ‘Do I need it or do I just want it?’ before actually making a purchase. I went shopping with friends a few months ago and found a pair of ankle boots that were just what I wanted…but instead of making the purchase and adding something else to our credit card, I asked myself the question and quickly put the desired ankle boots back down. I certainly didn’t need them, they were a want, and honestly I have that many shoes my cupboard is bursting with them. There are a few reasons for doing this – financial is definitely one of them, because we want to get better at living within our means without popping things onto credit at the drop of a hat (which we have been fairly good at doing this year but there’s always room for improvement!!). We have also discussed being consumed by material possessions that are meant to make our lives simpler but in the end make us feel cluttered and over flowing instead. We just don’t have the room to have more items that we honestly don’t really need.
I have been following a blog this year called Nothing New. It’s about one woman’s quest to live more simply and be less taken by consumerism. It has been really inspiring, and whilst I am definitely nowhere near as good as her at this, I am definitely better than I was. I have referred to Sash before in this post; she has made me think about what makes me happy – is it really buying new clothes, homewares and toys for my son when we are already tripping over the ones he has?! It isn’t always easy, and there have been times where I have made justifications that turned a purchase from a want to a need, but most of the time what follows is guilt. I am someone who needs less stress in my life, not more, so guilt is an emotion I can do without…it’s this that often stops me from making purchases that are wants. No one is perfect, and after having many years at uni and trying to make it in the big smoke – socialising and buying the latest fashion trends – I have had my fair share of living off credit cards, eating baked beans and tinned spaghetti at the end of a pay cycle, and I remember how stressful that was. I have progressed a bit since then and make wiser financial choices, but since hearing about Sash’s journey with the Nothing New project, I have thought a lot more about what makes me happy and what I spend my money on. Don’t get me wrong, I still splash out and spoil myself every now and again, but when I do it’s generally on something that I have admired for a while and saved up to get, or it might simply be buying a coffee and then joining my son and friends, or just my son, at the park. It’s often the simple things in life that bring us the most joy, and they don’t always have to cost money.
Does anyone else feel that they spend time justifying purchases that perhaps you really didn’t need and then felt guilty about it afterwards?! Does anyone else ask themselves the question of ‘is this a need or a want?’ before making a purchase? I’d be interested to hear your stories, and especially hear from those who also do this and how you have made it work for you.