Saturday, May 24, 2008

Emotional Economics

So often we all suffer from this. That disease where we buy something and “Save” it for “Good”. My Grandmother did this. She grew up dirt poor – compounded by the Depression, and a marriage to a drunk. Later in life when she “had a little pin money” she would buy beautiful clothes. When she died, we found so many truly lovely things in the closet – tags still attached. “Saved”. For What? None of us could wear them, they went to charity. I remember her primarily in housecoats that didn’t hold stains.

I find myself doing this. Only with queer things. I mean – napkins?!?! Use the little buggers. Conditioner? A bottle lasts a long time – even longer if you don’t use it; of course my hair reflects that. Or how about the great new shampoo that makes your hair shine and bounce? Can’t use it until I use up the rest of the bottle that makes it hang lank and lifeless. And energy is spent schlepping this stuff, dusting this stuff, preserving this stuff.

I’m also guilty of “stepping over a pound to pick up a pence”. Yet how many times has those small economies actually saved money? –OR- worked even half as well as the slightly more costly item? Strangely I don’t do this in my home. I want TAO to have the best, most reliable, easiest. Appliances, conveniences, pantry items…buy (if the not the best) the Goodest.

TAOs hobby is amateur body-building. So of course, he has to have Stuff. $75 in protein powder…no problem. Special weight lifting gloves…okay, whatever honey. Tanning? I wish you wouldn’t but it’s in the budget. (When your ears rot off from melanoma don’t expect sympathy from me!) I love TAO and want him to be happy. He works very hard and deserves to indulge.

So what message am I sending to myself when I cut/scrimp on myself? It’s a Janus faced coin…”you’re not worth the money” to “You’re not valuable.” I’m not even that concerned with where the thought came from, right now I’m looking at the little ways that I reinforce it daily. Listen to some of these and see if you hear your own voice.
• This one is $2 more than that one. Buy the cheap one. But the other one is so much softer/nicer/better fitting. Buy the Cheap One. And it’s not about the amount of price difference. Have you ever bought the crackers that are 10cents cheaper, even though the Nips taste SO Much Better?
• You don’t need a new (item) The stain/tear/size of the old one doesn’t really show. Besides it’s just for work/play/a little while. It doesn’t really matter.
• Don’t buy that skein of handpaint (okay, so this conversation doesn’t happen that often). What will you do with $60 handknit shawl? Where do you ever go that you could wear that? You won’t finish it anyway.

I caught myself playing this game this week. I have decided to Zumba for the rest of the 100 days. I have 3 class options. Tuesday night is within walking distance and will have the advantage of camaraderie with co-workers. Least favourite of all the routines/most expensive cost. Thursday/Saturday offer two other choices. One is 3 miles away and costs less to attend. My favourite is 12 miles away and costs more. With gas prices….Do you see where this conversation heads?

I have a great workout bra. It’s hard to buy one for High Impact if you are a C cup. Especially in a smaller band size. Off I went to shop. No success. I ended up ordering the one I have off the internet. While I was already having to take everything off in the dressing room…perhaps some workout clothes in fabric that breathes? Did I even look at the full price stuff? NO. Sales rack. I did buy a great top. Then I didn’t want to cut the tag off and wear it, it was too much- I should take it back. If a friend said that to me, I’d whip out the scissors, tear up the receipt and hand it to her.

I’m not advocating wild spending. I’m not justifying extravagance and debt. There is a balance to be found. A state of Shaker philosophy, where things are simple, useful and lovely. I’m talking about wiser utilization of my greatest resource – Me.


ChelleC said...

Oh my gosh!!! You are so right. This isn't about extragance (sp?). This is about treating yourself like the best friend you ARE. I'm watching these changes, and these observations, and being very inspired by them. Keep talking.

May said...

hear hear! I whole heartedly agree. Sometimes, we'll get the cheaper stuff because it doesn't matter. However, there are plenty of occasion to treat yourself.