It has taken me 20 years to figure out this statement. It may not be true to everyone, but it is true for me. SHOPPING IS A NEED, NOT A TREAT.
When I was a child, we didn’t keep candy bars in the house. They were a special treat. I don’t know that very many people did. We didn’t even have a Wal-Mart in our entire county back in the 80s. Once a week, on the weekend, my parents would stop by the gas station on Friday evening to get my mom’s super long cigarettes and my dad’s beer. As a treat, my brother and I got to pick out a candy bar.
Fast forward a few years. My parents got divorced, and my dad kept candy bars at his house. My mother would stop at the store every couple of days and let us get a candy bar. First of all, if they had played nice with each other, they wouldn’t have tried to buy our affection with candy. Besides that, the treats were no longer special. They were expected.
Now, let’s fast forward again. I come from Tiny Town America. An hour drive for all good shopping. Still no Wal-Mart when I was 17. Going shopping at a mall was a rare treat. See where I’m headed?
I started working. I grew up learning that hard work and long days equal money. I worked every hour tossed my way. Someone didn’t show up, call me! I still lived at home, and cell phones were only starting to become popular. In our tiny town, you couldn’t even get one because there were no cell towers. I had like no bills. I had decent paychecks, or what I thought were decent paychecks, and I could do whatever I wanted with them. A smart girl would have listened to her father and saved money. I “treated” myself until I was broke every week.
Shopping made me feel happy. I had the ability to buy that shirt that I wanted, and 5 others that I didn’t need. Once, I went for an entire month without doing any laundry and still had clothes in my closet with tags on them, an entire closet full of clothes. I only did my laundry because I was down to my underwear that wasn’t super comfy. Like those candy bars, there wasn’t any special left in shopping though. It was expectation.
Now, I am decluttering my home, and trying to get my children to understand the accumulation traits that I’ve taught them their entire lives are wrong. We’re working on that one. One of the biggest things that I’ve learned? You can appreciate something without buying it. I can say that a jacket is cute, but not own it. I mean, if I have 5 jackets and rarely wear any of them, another one will only make me excited that first time that I wear it. Is it worth $50 after taking 40% off. Good deal at the Gap or not, I don’t need that jacket.
If I have zero jackets and I need one, and I find that jacket for $50 at 40% off, I go buy it then, but not before. I do it as a need. Since I only do it as a need, it becomes an actual treat again. Now, that I have figured all of this out, I need to declutter the serious shoe issue going on in my closet! Boots are my weakness…sigh.