This past holiday season I had a problem. I had done most of my Christmas shopping prior to Black Friday (yep, I’m a freak), I was on a budget since I didn’t officially have a full time job, and I really didn’t need or want to buy a whole lot of stuff since I was (am) trying to be more minimalist out of a desire to have less stuff, but also out of necessity given the limited amount of storage space in our house.
But then I went shopping for the few things that I did need and gifts for others, and oh my goodness the beautiful gift sets at Target, the fabulous sales at Macy’s, and all the pretty things. I swear to you, they called to me. Like adorable puppies in pet store window.
And it wasn’t even stuff that I really really loved, it was just pretty wrapping. Nice packaging gets me every time.
I really like shopping. I like looking at all the great options and the beautiful items and I like the feeling of buying things. Gifts, but also things for myself.
It was hard. To have self-control and not just buy things to buy them. To not “supplement” gifts for people that I’d already bought for sufficiently. To not buy things for myself “just because.”
And I feel so lame admitting that it was hard, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s like this. Who is often caught up in wanting and has trouble telling the difference between want and need.
But here’s what I’m trying to do.
I’m trying to go to a store and just buy the things I need, not everything I want. And be ok with that
I’m trying to think about what the money I want to spend could go toward instead (house and car payments, gifts for upcoming occasions, utility bills).
I’m trying remind myself of how I feel when I look at our closets that are stuffed full… I feel awful, I don’t need all this stuff.
I’m trying to remember that once I buy it, especially if I overspend, eventually I often feel worse, not better.
I’m trying to see all these beautiful things and just be happy that they exist, rather than insisting that their existence depends on me buying them.
I’m trying to remember that people make new pretty things all the time, and there’s no way I can have all of them.
I’m trying to notice the things that I really really like, and are worth buying or investing in, versus the things that are just wrapped in a bright, shiny wrapper.
I’m trying to remember that people, work, God, creating things, and awesome experiences make me happy. Stuff does not actually make me happy. And spending money on stuff that does not make me happy makes me angry.
Does anyone else struggle with this?