Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stir Crazy, Anti Consumerist

I had been doing fine, just fine with the wintry weather all winter. People would complain about the cold and the snow, and I just wouldn't feel the same abject misery as they were obviously experiencing... until three days ago. Suddenly this past Monday, which was pretty chilly with quite a wind chill factor, I had had ENOUGH. I'm sickofit! Stir crazy! Ready to run out of the house screaming and shouting jibber jabber! To make things worse, I have checked the 10 day forecast every day this week, hoping for a warmish day in the future.... NOTHING. The high temp for the next 10 days hasn't gotten over about 48 F. I'm ready, people! I want to go outside in a light sweater with no hat on! Really badly! Whine whine whine!

Okay, I'm done with that for the time being. Next, I will talk about the second half of my post title: I am working on shedding the habit of being sucked into the consumerist lifestyle. Over the past few years, my finances have been decent, but far from stellar. For New Year's, I resolved to buy / use fewer throwaway household items, and have been doing well with that... but what about other types of waste, like wasting money? About a month ago, I started REALLY looking at where all my money is going. And while it is true that I don't have a TON of flexible/ disposable income, I am just wasting a HUGE percentage of it on stuff I just don't need! I go through phases where I feel like I NEED certain things in my life: my shoe wardrobe is lacking; I obviously NEED several new pairs. I ought to have a bunch of nice makeup; I NEED to buy a whole bunch. So on and so forth. Short of a few items, my jewelry business probably has enough supplies to tide me over for years!

Sooooo, I have committed to changing my spending habits and to really think about each nonessential purchase. Mortgage, electricity, insurance... these are all essential. Clothes, toiletries, perfumes, shoes, snacks, dinners out, nonessential.

Let me tell you, changing my spending habits has been REALLY HARD. Spending a little money on 'a little something' was such a habit, and was a form of entertainment; something to DO; a way to treat myself. Now, I am not doing that, not even a cuppa coffee in the morning. I brought tea from home every day this week. A couple of weeks ago, I was sort of running around in a little circle in my apartment, saying, "I just want to BUY SOMETHING!" It was torture!

As time is going by, it's getting a teensy bit easier. I am getting out of the habit of using money as a little means of entertainment, and am just not thinking as much about spending money and getting little things here and there. I will be interested to see how the mindset continues to change over time, and if NOT spending money will be more of a habit. The thought, "do I really NEED that?" pops into my head pretty often now; I'm wondering whether, over time, I will stop even thinking about buying something. Time will tell.

Wish me luck... and not too many large, unexpected expenses!


sukeyknits said...

Good luck with the adjustment. I was thinking along the same lines. Mine stemmed with buying my CSA food share for the year as usual but then trying to see if I could get a dairy food share which then snowballed into trying to limit my purchases to be local. Still not sure what I'm targeting: local only, non-petroleum, non-corn. I'm never going to go zero, but figured I could start documenting expenditures and see what I'm supporting with my consumerism - essential and non-essential items. Anyways, it's good to take stock of what you already have and what is truely important.

Lizmo said...

Read "Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping" by Judith Levine.

Ok, that would mean buying something, but maybe you can get it at the library. I read it and it is really interesting and useful. I can lend it to you but you'll have to wait until I visit in August! Maybe if you're nice I'll send it to you.....