Friday, September 5, 2008

To Buy or Not To Buy

I did something on Wednesday that is really causing me to lose sleep. It is occupying my every thought and I am vacillating on what I should do about it.

I went to Target and bought three items on clearance.
A watch, $9.08; A pajama set, $12.56; and a pair of flip-flops, $4.86

I know, this is not a lot of money. I think the thing I am so torn up about is: I did not really need this stuff. I wanted it but I didn't really need it. It was a bargain, but I already have stuff at home that works just fine. I have a digital watch with a velcro strap. Not the fanciest but it keeps time. And I have a metal watch with a broken band, so I'm using a safety pin to keep it together. Still functions fine but looks a bit weird - like a nerd with black electrical tape on the bridge of his glasses. Also: pajamas? What's wrong with a big tee shirt? And I have some actual "sleep shirts" as well as one pajama set. However, all my p.j.'s are really old and I wanted something new. Finally, flip flops - I am going to Florida in October so this seemed like a good purchase. They aren't flimsy either - they have fabric straps. But I have two other pairs of flip-flops already. I figured I could toss the older pair since they'd been chewed on by my dog anyway. But the newer ones I just got about 4 months ago. But they're pretty flat and these Target flip-flops are stacked, and.....

I keep switching my thoughts:
Con: needless crap. Adding to the consumerism. Learn to live with less! Be content with what you have. Quit yearning for more. Once you buy it, you'll forget why you think you need it.

Pro: It's so cheap! What's the big deal? Buying something little keeps me from splurging on a big purchase. If I always deny myself I'll just get in a big funk and feel like we don't have 2 nickels to rub together. I don't want to feel poor. I don't want to live without. C'mon, I don't shop at Nieman Marcus or Saks or even Abercrombie & Fitch or even the Gap! I'm all about Target, Kohl's, Wal-Mart, and thrift stores.

The thing I keep coming back to is that if I just return the stuff, I'll probably even forget that I ever bought it. I won't think I need it. And if I'm feeling this guilty, maybe that's a good sign that I should really return that stuff. On the other hand, why do I feel so guilty? Is it the purchasing of stuff or is it that I feel like I've got no will power? Like hogging down a dessert when you're supposed to be on Weight Watchers? Maybe I feel like I kinda let myself down a little bit. I always wonder if my habits are helpful or destructive when it comes to my family.


Anonymous said...

OK OK. Come sit beside me. I've always been a big believer in: If I have one, I don't need another. That applies to winter coats, shoes, etc., and I'm the ONLY woman who operates on that principle. BUT, if it doesn't break the bank, cause bloodshed or the loss of your hair, then an additional pair of flip flops secures you in case of a flip flop war! And the watch? baby, if anyone ever needed one, it's YOU. And the Tshirt sleep thingie? You'll feel SO much better if you just toss out the oldest and ugliest and then, enjoy it.

Bridge said...

by the way you describe it, you will use these things and thus they are not useless crap. i know its your role as mom to feel like spending on yourself is a waste, but hey...
your husband may appreciate you wearing something that is not stained, ripped or holey to bed
your punctuality may improve with the new watch and its better to buy new flip flops now than in the spring.

now save your energy to feel sick over something that needs your worry...;)

ReformingGeek said...

When you start ordering off the home shopping network then I'll start to worry about you. Similar to what Bridge said "don't sweat the small stuff" and in the overall scheme of things, not much isn't small stuff.

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

Dana has awesome advice. I'm gonna go check her blog.

On another note - just stay the hell away from Target. Don't you know they play subliminal messages in thier veering you to the clearance aisle which usually isn't so clearance priced, by the way.

Seriously, my best remedy for not wanting more, is to not see what is out there. meaning, I do not go out to the stores much just because I have some time on my hands. It is really working.


The Nice One said...

I am having the same feelings right now. Husband just did the "You spent WHAT at Target? What the heck did you get?" Uhhh, picture frames, and wash clothes. But they were on CLEARANCE.
I can't wait to get a job, then he can't do that crap.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Willpower??! What's that when it's at home then?

I'm convinced you need them, so I say enjoy guilt free

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Don't beat yourself up---I am betting the husband appreciates some nice night time wear over a big t-shirt anyway ;)
I personally don't like to use things broken because then I feel 'broken' if that makes any sense. And if the watch makes you feel better about yourself --way cheaper than a shrink.
Cherish those little things :)

stephanie (bad mom) said...

This is why I continue to try working The Compact (link on my page) - living with what I have or finding what I "need" at the thrift stores or through bartering.

It's really hard to make that mind shift; we're so trained to be consumers. I have found that the guilt I feel is usually a pretty accurate gauge of whether I truly needed something.

But then I jump for joy if I get a GAP gift card (see "still trying").

be well*