week #22 minimise non-essentials

shoesI have been sitting here for a considerable length of time trying to work out what my regular cheeky indulgence is. For some it is a steaming latte in a paper cup, on the way to work. I don’t work. Hence, no pre-‘nine to five’ pick-me-up necessary. For others it is a daily chocolate bar or bag of crisps but, as much as I enjoy both, I can go without. I’m not a smoker nor do I buy expensive shoes. But, I do manage to spend plenty of money on things that are non-essential. I am just having a hard time pinpointing where my weakness lies.

My routine consists of waking up, walking the dog and then coming home to study. Around 1pm I make some lunch, do a few chores and continue studying. Most days I have to nip to the shops for odds-and-ends and……aaaahhhhhh…..my light bulb moment. I like to think that I can be a focused shopper when necessary. Yet, sometimes it takes a will of steel to leave the shops with only those items for which the trip was intended. At times, special deals can be impossible to resist. It’s January sales coming up, for goodness sake! I mean, who can ignore a t-shirt that has been marked down by 75% or half price Christmas decorations (it might be over for this year but you will always use them!) or even 2for1 price Ben and Jerry’s? No sir, not me. However, I wonder how much I spend on the things that I really do not need. What is the personal cost of succumbing to strategic marketing?

My intention from now on, is to ensure that I always arrive at the shops with a conclusive shopping list…and to make sure that I stick to it! Not only does this minimise the risk of spontaneous purchases but it helps me to be more organised and intentional with the things I buy, thus saving money in the long run. However, I know it would be too easy to deviate. So, for every item that I purchase which is not on my list I have to put the equivalent amount into a dedicated jar. Once the jar is full, that money is then donated to a worthy organisation or charity of my choice. This way, I am more aware of how much I spend on unnecessary goods and others benefit from my new-found insight.

This does not mean I am completely disallowing myself little treats; as long as they are on the list prior to entering the shop. If not, they are an impulse buy and no matter how good the deal is, it won’t be such a bargain if I have to pay for it twice. But then again, some things will always be just too good to pass by….


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