My book, A Year in the Life of a Recovering Spendaholic, changed my life. Well, that isn’t exactly true. The book did not change my life, but the changes I made during the year of no personal spending (other than on limited disposable items when they ran out, such as makeup) did, somewhat. What has really changed my life are the changes I continue to make as I deal with the reality that I am a spendaholic and will always be. That fact is why the book is titled “Recovering,” not “Recovered.” These changes are daily work, and sometimes even hourly work! Perhaps some of you can identify with this. If so, this post if just for you!
I was in Home Goods recently to return an item, a pillar candle that I had bought to fit a glass container that I had bought when I found it on such a great sale that I could not pass it up! Now, the irony of this is not lost on me. I bought an item on a great sale that required another purchase for it to be complete. If I can’t find the candle on sale, this sale purchase of the glass container might not be such a good purchase after all! The candle I was returning was too large for the glass container, so I am still looking for one that will fit. And I plan to (try to) sell the glass container which includes a candle, because I think it will sell better with a candle than without, in my small antiques and gifts business. It remains to be seen if it will. And the time I am spending looking for the right candle has a cost, does it not?
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Behind me in line at Home Goods was an elderly woman who was with a younger woman. I was so struck to hear the elderly woman say, “They have so many cute things, but I don’t really need anything.” I immediately thought of a recent conversation with my friend, Leah Friedman, a professional organizer. Leah and I were talking about her business, www.raleighgreengables.com, and the increase in consumer consumption. Leah said she tells her clients to stay out of Home Goods and to put the money they are spending there in savings or the stock market. Her clients are paying her to help them get rid of stuff they bought, and they keep buying more! Leah also recommends buying quality, not junk, such as investing in art from galleries, instead of buying something elsewhere because it is cheaper. Buying quality is often an investment, not just a cost.
Now, this isn’t about Home Goods or any particular store or purchase. I love love love Home Goods, and if I need something, that is one of the first places I go to shop for it. It is when I go to those stores out of boredom, or because I want something, that I get into trouble and break my commitment to myself. I have learned how to quickly separate my needs from my wants, although I don’t always listen to my inner voice and buy based on my wants instead of my needs. I am a work in process. Remember, “Recovering,” not “Recovered.”
Oh, the younger woman shopping in Home Goods with the wise elderly woman had a basket full of stuff. I should have given her Leah’s contact info.