When I go shopping, it goes one of two ways: I have money or I don't have money, which means that technically I am window-shopping and I don't particularly enjoy window-shopping. That's because usually when I am just window-shopping, I will inevitably find something great to buy. I wander the aisles seeing item after item that I want or think I need. I find treasures for the kitchen, bedroom, and every other room of the house and then, of course, personal items as well. I could totally use that super-cute tunic in my favorite color. WHY I DO THIS IS BEYOND ME. It is utter torture. But here's the thing. I have noticed when I do have extra money, I am just as picky about finding a bargain as when I have very little money. So what does this tell me about myself? It tells me I have been on a budget my entire life!
I hate budgets. When the children were young, we were on a fairly strict budget. Even back in the nineties our economy revolved around both parents working and it was a task making ends meet as a one-income family. I worked numerous part-time jobs from home, but never full-time until much later after my kids had left for college. I enjoyed my stay-at-home-mom status and have never regretted those days because being a mom was all I really ever wanted to do until later in life when I caught the photography/writing bug. But the small amount of money I did make was mine-all-mine. If I wanted to buy all bubble gum with it, it was mine to do so! There is much to be said about making and having your very own money over which you have complete control. It has always given me great satisfaction to make a purchase or pay a bill with money that I earned myself. So I guess the wanting-a-deal/cheapskate-in-me/on-a-budget gal that I have become I came by naturally over a progression of years. I have learned over those years that a good budget allows you to not only have money for the necessary things, but it puts some aside for the unnecessary as well, and we all need a little fun money. The hard part of a budget is the waiting part, and I am not a good waiter (although I have always wondered if I would make a good waiter, as in a restaurant, because I do like to serve people food). I do not like to wait in lines, at doctor's offices, or in restaurants when I'm hungry. Waiting takes patience and, as I have said many times before, even though patience is believed to be a virtue, it is not one of my virtues. I will agree, however, that budgets are a totally necessary evil, maybe even for the rich. I have heard stories of people blowing through their wealth or an unexpected inheritance and ending up in worse shape than before they acquired wealth. But budgets are an especially good thing for the self-employed like my husband and me. Being self-employed sometimes brings a feast; sometimes it brings famine.
In spite of my budget-abhorring history, those budgets have forced me to be careful how I spend my money. I learned as a young mom that waiting for what I wanted was always best, but once again confirm that I was not good at it then and neither am I now. An even more important lesson than that, though, is I have learned over the years to live with less. Do I really need or even want so many things that it begins to make my life complicated? I have decided I do not. I would rather spend my money on "doing" things more than "having" things. So when I do have the rare occasion to shop a bit and do a little damage, I have a three-step system. No. 1, I make sure it's something I really really really WANT or something I really (only one really) NEED. Needing is definitely more important than just wanting, wouldn't you agree? Step No. 2 involves asking is what I'm about to purchase something I could make myself or is it something worth buying because I cannot make it myself? I will never, ever buy an expensive cup of coffee, just ain't gonna happen when I can make a perfectly good, even better, cup at home with Mr. Coffee and Mr. Keurig. A really good glass of riesling on the other hand, I'll put up the $, because, after all, to buy a whole bottle of really good riesling to take home would be expensive. Plus, I don't always keep wine in the house; it's for special occasions usually. So when it comes to a great glass of wine, the atmosphere surrounding that glass of wine is important as well and I find worth the extra buckaroos! Step No. 3 involves whether or not I think the object I am considering is classic enough and well-loved enough to stay with me awhile. Gone are the days of buying every trinket or faddish item out there and then it ends up in the next garage sale. Remember those talking fish from the nineties? Never did buy one, and I'm so glad I didn't. Can't tell you how many I've seen at garage sales! If I'm gonna spend my hard-earned money on anything, it needs to be a keeper. Good art and dishes are probably my weak spot. I mean, you really can't have too much art or too many dishes, right? Don't answer that. When Hollie and I went shopping recently, she tried her best to buy me a birthday gift. I chose an orange spatula for the kitchen because, well, I really needed another spatula. She wanted to buy me something else, but I was happy!
So I was thinking the other day why I usually end up not buying much even when I have money to spend. The conclusion I've reached? It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks! Plus, there is very little that I really need, so the three-step process helps as well, Besides, if you are not sure, it's best not to buy. Every time I stick to this rule, I almost always end up finding the perfect item at the perfect price at a later time in the future. Cha-ching! There's no feeling like the thrill of the hunt and finding the deal of the century. The cuter than ever coffee plaque in the picture was a steal at Hobby Lobby I found recently. And what made it a steal? They were 50% off, so I got two pieces of wall art for the price of one! Word art is another one of my weaknesses. To have words that inspire me every day as I work or make me smile when I rise in the morning is something worth having in my opinion. It's beautiful and inspirational and gives back to me every day with its quiet voice of encouragement!
Now, this just might be the deal of the century. My two daughters are very cold-natured, so when they come home they end up putting my electric blanket under the fitted sheet on the bed to stay warm. What's that old saying, being cold-natured is the mother of invention, or something like that?! I truly do hate buying things that are necessary, but unseen. After all, I am all about pretty. But this mattress pad is good quality, heated, and I got it for under ten bucks! I can spend ten bucks and have no regrets. You can always find a treasure for ten bucks.
I totally rest my case.
Posted by CC
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