Friday, January 23, 2009

Breaking old habits

When we first made the pledge to forgo retail shopping for one year, I really thought the only difficulty would be in finding the things we needed second hand. And that has proven to be true in the one instance of something we needed--a converter box--but that was quite an unusual circumstance. Other than that, we haven't actually needed anything, and of all the things we've wanted we've gotten our hands on them easily. The real challenge, surprisingly, has been reminding myself not to buy the things I don't need.
"Clearance" is a powerful word! I'm always sucked in by it. (that's why we have so much stuff!!) I never realized how much of a habit it was until now. I'm continually navigating away from the 90% off Christmas stuff at the grocery store, pinching myself not to click on the Ann Taylor link when they advertised 70% off and I had a coupon code. (that one still hurts) It's gotten easier NOT to click on the Gymboree and Children's Place links when they e-mail me about their HUGE SALE. I delete the Kirklands e-mails and printable coupons without looking at them now. The Bed ,Bath and Beyond coupons go straight to recycling and I just don't look at the sale ads anymore.
There's also been quite a shift in our perception of what we need. At this time last year, we "needed" a new TV because ours was so old. And a new entertainment center, because a new TV wouldn't fit in the old one. And new appliances, because ours are ugly and stainless steel is so much better. I'm certain that if Circuit City had gone out of business last year, that would have been all the encouragement we needed to replace all of these things. How could we not--all those things we "need" at clearance prices!! Well, out of everything, all we really "need" is another bottom dishwasher rack, because ours is beginning to rust. And even so, we can still use it. A good detail cleaning of our appliances will be enough to make us happy with those again. And the TV--the converter box solved that problem.
All in all, its been quite an interesting learning experience for me to get to the bottom of where our consumption habits really lie. Who would have thought that the biggest problem was actually with what we never really needed to begin with???

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