Consumer Confessions

13 Apr

I don’t consider myself a material person. I think I’m kinda simple really. I just don’t “need” a lot of stuff and take pride in being thrifty actually.  Yet, I find myself going in phases where suddenly all my clothes suck, or a piece of furniture needs replaced for no real reason, or I have talked myself into thinking that an item has lost functionality. (Most recently, I decided that our candles were emitting an odor rather than the mulled cider smell promised by the label, and therefore, needed replacement candles asap. Lame-o.) I realize this is a pretty normal phenomenon. Everyone goes through phases where they want a new (fill in the blank) to change things up.  But I am trying to become more aware of my consumerist cravings before I make an irrational purchase.  After all, for my little family, life in your 20’s is about saving and prioritizing spending. So to curb my cravings a little, I’ve been keeping a mental list of all the stuff that at some point I convinced myself I needed or deserved.  Sparked by watching a few minutes of “Extreme Couponing” coupled with “Storage Wars” tonight, I’m honoring my (and probably your) incessant need for “stuff” by listing all the possible purchases that went through my mind just today, since 6:30am:

I Phone (4G, then I talked myself into a refurbished 3G)

Delicious and almost medicinal 16oz. non-fat latte

Mascara (Freaked myself out about eye diseases caused by more than 60 day old tubes.)

Sassy earrings to make up for my plain jane spring wardrobe (Would substitute envious spring wardrobe in sacrifice of sassy earrings, for the record.)

Candles (I caught a whiff of the “mulled cider” and thought it was a bar of soap.)

Some grown up decor for my plain, but freshly painted office

A dining room table (sparked by the bum leg on one of our 1970’s chairs. Amazingly, no one seems to know what happened to it.)


Actual things I bought today:

Soup, dinner roll,and pop a la hospital cafeteria 


So I guess I didn’t do too bad resisting my inner brat. It’s okay to dream about new and improved stuff, but that’s a lot of stuff, isn’t it?  Maybe I could blame too much tv or the fact that we are budget maniacs for having shopping on the brain so much. I just feel kind of bad about it because I know none of it is stuff I really “need”. I mean, before the time of Target and Home Goods, people didn’t even know about this “stuff” and they lived just fine. Granted Malaria was rampant and they lost all their oxen fording the rivers, but I’m pretty sure that was unrelated.


2 Responses to “Consumer Confessions”

  1. Courtney April 14, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    So this post made me feel super guilty about my spending behavior. I just spent the last 3 weeks buying an entire new wardrobe for my 3 day Coachella weekend.

    PS – You can get a brand new iPhone 3Gs at AT&T right now for $50. Don’t buy a refurb, it won’t last.

    • jsurwilk April 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

      Court- don’t feel bad at all. I signed my life away with a mortgage a few months ago, which changed my regard for monthly income completely 😦 Also, I was raised by one of the most frugal women since the Amish roamed the earth, so I am naturally super analytical (though not smart) about money naturally. Thanks for the heads up on the Iphone. In hindsight, a re-furb sounded like too small of a cost savings to even take a chance with. My luck the thing would quit working or freeze on a Lionel Richie Youtube video on day 31, when the warranty has just expired.

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