How To Break Up With Buying

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I’m cutting it close, I know, I’m sorry, we’ve had some stuff going on.

To catch you up on this topic though, May was amazing. Life changing and eye-opening. I stopped buying anything I didn’t need and it’s been incredible, for me and my bank account. Starting June 1st I’m challenging you to stop the consumerism. Stop giving in to the emptiness that we’ve created in buying.

Here are my suggestions to stop buying:

  1. In the last 2 days of the month buy what you want. At the end of April, I bought 3 things before I knew I couldn’t just buy: cheap mascara (awful) a book (wonderful) and a clearance shirt to wear for family photos. I kept it in my head that if there was something I really wanted, it could wait until the end of the month and if I still wanted it and could afford it then I probably won’t forget or regret it. Surprisingly there is nothing on my list at the end of this month.
  2. Buy as much of your groceries as you can online. Sams club and Family Thrift near me offer online shopping and easy pick-up. This saves overall time as well as prevents impulse buys.
  3. Rediscover what you already have. Think you need more stuff on your mantle? A new pair of shorts? Look through what you own already and find ways to repurpose it or just use it (see my conditioner issue at the bottom). A great inspiration for this is listening to Joanna Gaines in her book The Magnolia Story (the audiobook is free on many library apps).
  4. Get thrifty. Buying second-hand and used items not only makes you work a lot harder to buy but it also saves you a lot of money. A little trick I used was I would sell things I needed out of my house for garage sale money.
  5. Find hobbies. Instead of browsing through Amazon, read a book. Instead of wandering Target go for a bike ride. Do things with your time that enrich your life not empty your pockets.
  6. Go places besides stores. Museums, parks, a friends house, getting out doesn’t have to mean going to a shopping center. Explore the culture and not the aisles.
  7. Be kind to yourself. No one is disappointed in you if you end up spending money on something that you want, but practicing mindful buying, in general, will make you more aware and considerate of the purchases that you do make.

On a side note, I’ve needed hair conditioner for over a month now. I’ve used up all the old bottles in my house (good for decluttering) but I’ve also had to use some really awful stuff. I googled home-made conditioners, but somehow it doesn’t seem worth it. And, if you’re wondering if I held fast through the entire month, I’m sad to say that I did not. I bought my husband and myself a pair of nice athletic shorts, they weren’t cheap but they are very worth it, no regrets there.

Only a few days in you’ll start to notice the freedom that you gain. It’s as if you are finding out who you are again because you are no longer your possessions and shopping/buying is no longer your pastime.

Buh-Bye Buying

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Four weeks ago I was at Target perusing the aisles, as is the norm for any female over 10 when at Target. I happened upon a severely discounted Dyson cordless vacuum. Because it was 75% off and I didn’t own one like it yet, I put it in my cart. Ignoring the inner-voice reminding me that I already own two, working, Dyson vacuums, but, they had cords. This one didn’t. I called my mom for should I?/ shouldn’t I? but she didn’t answer. I went back and forth in my head and eventually put the vacuum back and bought a $9 broom.

I’ve been a long-time consumer. I like nice things and buying nice things makes me briefly happy. The problem is: having nice things doesn’t make me a nicer person. Buying new shoes doesn’t make me more fun to be around. I’ve been a happy, self-inflicted, victim of American capitalism. Having the latest and greatest does not make me a better person in any part of the spectrum and here’s the real truth– buying things (generally) does not make you happier so what do we buy the things we don’t NEED?

There are some things that I’ve bought that have made my life easier or more fun- maybe those are okay, but I have now made it to a place where buying things is second nature: She moves, she loves, she buys.

I reached the point of disgust in the last week of April and vowed that May would be the month of not buying. Starting on May 1st, I wouldn’t buy anything new that wasn’t a need. I mean nothing. If it was a desperate want I allowed myself to buy it if I could find it used, meaning thrift stores and garage sales are still fair game but only for things that are actual needs and not because it’s a good deal.

It’s been just over two weeks into the month, the halfway mark. I’ve adjusted by ordering all my groceries online to prevent impulse purchases, I have yet to step foot in Target, when I have free time I spend it on something deliberate, if I need coffee I try to wait until I get home to make my own.

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I have broken the rule twice. Both because of special occasions and with limitations.

I expected to feel restricted, instead, I feel free. Free from the pressure of society and advertising, free of the restrictions of my bank account, lesser a slave to money and what it means in our society today.

Giving up buying has shifted some things in the way I think. I’m sure I’ll elaborate as I go on but as for these two weeks, like a diet, weights have been lifted by cutting things out and it feels so good I’m not even anxious for the end. Instead, I think I’ll add another month, this time as a group.

Before the end of May, I’ll update with a more thorough list of how to avoid the spending and shopping hole. If you want to join us, you should! It’s the best kind of life-diet I’ve experienced in ages. I’d suggest you begin preparing your heart and mind now, the week before May started I did make a couple last-minute purchases in order to carry me through, and while I don’t regret them, I know they also alleviated any temptation I may have experienced in those first few days. So say goodbye to mindless shopping and buying and let’s make June a month free of consumer-void.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

Parenting and Presidents

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To all my friends using their children as tools of guilt and shame the outcome of this election: stop. Stop the “how will I explain this man to my kids.” Your kids are hardly influenced by what our president elect says but they do hear what you say, what the television is saying and they are listening to those evening conversations between adults. We set the tone for how our children interpret the world and the adult issues happening now.

I am a child of 1986 (barely a millennial) and I don’t remember either the Reagan or Bush presidencies however I do remember President Clinton. I remember him lying to us on TV and admitting that he lied. I remember learning about the Lewinski dress, not fully understanding the meaning behind a stain or what exactly happened besides the fact that he lied to everyone and we couldn’t stop talking or thinking about it. I remember the news, the scandal then the middle east and I remember learning about impeachment before it was taught in social studies.

The news is still good, because despite his remarks and mistakes I know that what he did was wrong both in action and intention and I am not a worse person for having him as a president. I have no strong feelings towards him at all.

Our president should not be the ideal that we hold ourselves to. The president isn’t even a daily discussion in our house but Jesus is. Jesus is the standard we hold ourselves and our children to, He is what we strive to model our actions and thoughts to and when my children face difficulties in life I want them to look to Jesus not “What would POTUS do?”
Presidents come and go they are mere men that will make multitudes of mistakes just like the rest of us. If the president becomes an idol over Jesus, no matter how great he or she may be, then something is wrong.

I’ve been absorbing myself in the Netflix series The Crown. In The Crown, Queen Elizabeth contemplates her role in governing and returns to the standard set in the British constitution: that there is the dignified and the efficient. The efficient is there to govern the people but the dignified is what the people uphold themselves to, an ideal. Our government, the elected body is there to be the efficient, let them pass laws and govern our country as we see fit and it is up to us to be the dignified, let us be the ones to uphold our moral code and show our kids what it takes to be a decent human being.

 

The Fourth

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We celebrated the fourth of July in the geographic center of the United States, Belle Fourche, South Dakota. It was beyond American, hundreds of people lined up and down the streets wearing red, white and blue and drinking coffee or beer at 10am.

This was our second year going to the Belle Fourche parade and I think we will be there for years to come.
Growing up in the nineties my family, immediate and extended, all traveled down to an itty bitty town in Iowa named Battle Creek. This is where my grandmother was from and where my great grandmother still lived. We would camp in my Great Grandma Wonder’s back yard (as well as the rest of the family, think 2 campers and a few tents in a city home’s backyard) and head down to the parade. The parade involved pretty much everyone from the surrounding towns, firetrucks and shriners, they would throw tootsie-rolls and dumdums and we would jump and run after every piece of candy that flew past us. After the parade the kids would walk over to the baseball fields where we would pay a small fee and pick out our frogs for the frog jumping contest, my frog never won, this would be followed by lunch back at the house, playing at the schools play ground (the school had a slide for a fire escape which was fascinating for me) and sparklers, snakes and bottle rockets back at the house until sundown. At sundown we went to park our butts in the grass and watch the fireworks, one year they all caught on fire, the next year (my last there) they had a kid play the national anthem on his electric guitar. Even at 12 years old I felt that was weird.
Moving to Arizona the “America” feel of Independence Day was totally lost. Sure there were fireworks and festivals but it didn’t feel as genuine as it did commercial.Bringing my boys back to South Dakota has opened up all these innocent forms of childhood memories to form and thankfully The Fourth is one of them.
After all that reminiscing… The Belle parade is just lined with people
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My aunts family brings a flatbed trailer for additional seating.

My aunts family brings a flatbed trailer for additional seating.

Willem and I waiting for 10:30 to roll around.

Willem and I waiting for 10:30 to roll around.

Harper watching the Cowboy Band go by.

Harper watching the Cowboy Band go by.

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If there's one thing my Harper loves it's trucks with lights and sirens.

If there’s one thing my Harper loves it’s trucks with lights and sirens.

Clowns aren't scary, they are strange and weird, but not scary.

Clowns aren’t scary, they are strange and weird, but not scary.

waving and yelling for some candy

waving and yelling for some candy

Tips for next year:

Take an umbrella, rain or sun we will need it.

Wear athletic clothing in order to ensure my kids get the best candy (ok I want the candy too).

Take photos of all the “mayors” cars, because all they said was mayor, never a city, so as far as I know Belle has at least 5 mayors.

Take water guns for Harper to shoot at the “wet” floats, plus it’s just good entertainment.