Day 24

When we always trade money for neat stuff, it’s easy for neat to become normal and for us to require even more neat stuff in order to attain the same level of thrill that our initial purchase brought. This cycle ratchets up our need for material goods and treats. We require more and more and find ourselves forever buying in a futile effort to achieve happiness. Breaking that cycle will liberate you from the urge to spend.

Through my lifestyle of extreme frugality, I find that the rarity of a treat makes it all the more enjoyable. Mr. Frugalwoods and I rarely go out to dinner–and so, the few times a year that we do go out, it’s a wonderful treat. Conversely, if we ate out every night, it’d be a rote task that we likely wouldn’t derive much pleasure from.

Buying things is an addiction.  Learning to live without can also become an addiction.

What is your choice?  What are your reasons to buy or not to buy?  Work your way through it.

There are times I bought things out of a perceived “wrong” – whether something felt unfair, I was upset, I was jealous, or if I was in a self-indulgent mood.  As a kid, there were times I could get my mother to buy me something if I was obnoxious and persistent – but the fascination and desire was not what it was about, but getting what I wanted to win.  (Poor mom!  Sorry!)

Moving ahead several years, I must confess that at times Mr. 182 and I have had that same pattern as adults.  Really?  Yeah.  Adults can be big babies and kids at times, and if it is for childish reasons, it is not always for the best for anyone.

Nowadays, doing things which mean spending a few dollars really are a treat.  We seldom dine out, we seldom go to the movies, we rarely buy clothes.  As a result, when we do, they are really, really treats because the change of pace in our daily lives makes for a mini vacation.

We use money for necessities and bill payments and the mortgage and savings and investment.  We also use it for personal growth, such as for hobbies.  There are times when not buying something causes problems down the road, such as something for a hobby (i.e. you cannot brew beer very easily without yeast – you can, but it is a much longer, riskier process!).  Knowing what the hobby expenditures will be means we can allocate funds or save funds.  The key is to not go into debt for anything at all!

Simply being alive is a treat for us, and enjoying our lives together and with others.  Sidesteps for a coffee with a friend or a hike in the woods are cheap and free and more satisfying than spending $100.00 for a pair of shoes which aren’t needed, but are objects of lust, and forgotten soon after.

Activities make memories, not trading bucks for a toy or two.