Consumption is a big focus of this blog. Saving money while consuming, yes. But consuming nonetheless.
There’s no doubt that a certain level of consumption is inevitable, normal, and even healthy. I mean, we’ve gotta feed our families, right? They need toothpaste to brush their teeth and shoes to run around in.
So, I don’t want to knock shopping. And I certainly don’t want to knock deal shopping. I love it as much as the next person. Probably more, if I’m being totally honest with myself.
But I think there is a fine line — which I struggle mightily to walk — between being a wise shopper and being a consumer stam.
When we moved into our new home in February, I spent about six weeks doing an inordinate amount of shopping. I bought everything from sconces for our dining room (which we still haven’t put up) to BPA-free storage containers for my kitchen pantry. I must have made three dozen trips to Home Depot.
We had carefully budgeted for our move and all those incidentals, but even still, I was spending, spending, spending. When I finally checked off the last of my lists, and the UPS guy stopped coming to my house every day, I felt decidedly let down.
It was like I was a junkie – a shopping junkie – and I needed one more fix. I kept perusing Amazon and Overstock, putting stuff I didn’t need into my cart, just to experience that thrill again.
Oh sure, I didn’t actually buy the stuff, but I wanted to. Like a weed, stuffitis was breeding itself. The more I bought, the more I wanted to buy.
Maybe some of you are immune to the lure of stuff, but I suspect that most of us have fallen prey to it to one degree or another.
So, what’s the cure? I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, I think the only way to truly quiet the I-want-to-buy-something-anything-right-now pangs is to practice being content with what I have.
I used to think that contentment was synonymous with settling. With accepting an inferior bill of goods.
Now I’m coming to understand that contentment means seeing the bounty all around me, both material and spiritual, and being profoundly grateful for it. So grateful that it quiets everything else. Even the wanna-buy-it pangs.
When I can focus on having this level of contentment, I inevitably spend less. Because I need less. Because I already have more.
Shabbat Shalom, dear readers!