Monday, August 17, 2009

The Family Who Quit Shopping

I was at the eye doctor’s office this morning, and read an article in Good Housekeeping about a family that stopped making purchases unless the item was edible or depletable.  She contrasted their previous, very consuming lifestyle, with their new, simplified one, and they felt, as a family, that they came out ahead with this remarkable experience.


I was trying to discern what she mean by depletable.  I think she means items you use up; for instance, I think a roll of toilet paper is, but a disposable plastic cup isn’t.  That fired my imagination, too – isn’t it amazing when you read about the things that American throw away and have to go into landfills?  Just imagine, the disposable razors, disposable diapers, paper plates, fast food drink cups…  What’s more, I believe this lady said they eliminated restaurants, too.


They did this for a whole year, saved some serious money, and it sounds like they enjoyed the new lifestyle a great deal, enough to keep most aspects of it after the year was over. 


It’s so easy to buy things – things we don’t need, that get in the way, that are around long after their emotional expiration date has come and gone.  My husband and I have worked hard to get where we are, out of debt and with one boy through college and a solid financial plan to get the other one through, that it’s easy to rationalize purchases. 


One of my favorite financial tricks is to merely stay out of the stores.  This is reasonably easy since I don’t really like to shop anymore.  When I was a young, single girl, shopping was a form of entertainment, but now, after years of shopping for a family who need things, I’m tired of it.  I buy groceries – once a week, period.  I buy gasoline.  I buy supplies for work (network stuff).  Otherwise, I haven’t got much interest in shopping and tend to stay out of the stores.  Since I’m such a brown-bag-luncher, and since Steven went to college and isn’t around and asking for money, I might have the same $40 in my purse for a couple weeks.  Not hitting the mall means I have more time to do other things.





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