The other day I was sitting around when I heard my phone ding. It was a text from a friend letting me know that NOW natural products (which I use to make homemade health & beauty products like deodorant, toothpaste, lotion, etc.) were 30% off on www.well.ca. Right away, I was on the website, looking for things to buy for my next batch of products. Within minutes, I had $40 worth of products in my virtual cart. Only $40 – pretty reasonable, right?!
Like a mindless robot, I filled in my info to create an account and pulled out my wallet to complete my purchase. Then, my inner voice made itself heard – a faint whisper at first, then gradually increasing in volume until it was yelling at me. What are you doing?? Do you really need cocoa butter? Do you actually have a recipe in mind that requires it? Why tea tree oil – you still have some at home?!!? I thought you were trying to save money this month?
Then this… Are you really that much of a sucka that you can preach about saving money and avoiding mindless consumption and yet one little text is all it takes for you to do the EXACT opposite?!?!
That was it. I emptied my cart. And I put my wallet away.
Obviously, this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened. Online shopping makes it so easy to buy, buy, buy – anytime, anywhere. Sometimes, impulse wins out and I order things I don’t need. Other times, like this one, I mull it over and decide against buying. Every time I resist a purchase, I’m proud that I did, but I also feel a brief moment of guilt that I was almost sucked in, and also sadness (grief?) that I won’t be able to enjoy the things I almost bought. This time was no different.
But this time, I turned those emotions into action. Immediately after emptying my cart, I logged on to my bank account and transferred $40 into our kids’ RESP. And just like that, the guilt and sadness that I’d felt just moments earlier was replaced with contentment. Because spending money isn’t a problem in and of itself – it’s a question of what we’re spending our money on. And knowing that my $40 was spent on investments that would increase in value over time instead of on things that would just disappear or depreciate over time, was very satisfying.
I hope that in the future I won’t be so easily tempted to spend money on things I don’t need. But if I am, at least I have a new redirection strategy in my back pocket to immediately turn that financial DON’T into a DO!