I have been mulling over an idea I read on Ginger’s blog a couple of days ago. She originally got the idea from Andrea’s blog – a shopping embargo. Basically, it’s a commitment to yourself not to buy anything but necessities for 2 months. So food, toiletries, medicine, etc. are okay. But anything frivolous, not so much. The real challenge to me (and Andrea does address this) is what is frivolous? I think if I try hard enough I can convince myself that almost anything I want is a “need.”
Ultimately though, I want to participate in this. I need to be more disciplined in the spending of money. If anything I think this will at least help me to develop the habit of evaluating everything that I am spending money on. In a way I have already been doing this. I have started writing down our weekly menus, so I have a meal plan in place before I go to the grocery store – with a list. I try to just stay away from stores that sell things I like. But, now, until February 28 I will take it a bit farther and see if I can get into the habit of evaluating ecerything that goes into the cart.
Which ties nicely into an article I saw in the Wall Street Journal the other day. They reported that Americans are now starting to save more. Which should be a good thing right? Apparently not. With the economy in the tank for the last few months everyone wants people to spend,spend, spend, and it’s not happening. Retailers, the government – they all think this is a bad thing. I wonder though. Is it really a bad thing long-term, or could this be a resetting, so to speak, back to the way things needed to be all along?
I have had the pleasure of knowing a few depression era people in my life. Knowing them well enough to know how they live. And they live differently than anyone else I have known. If they didn’t have cash, they didn’t buy it. They evaluated the necessity of everything! Was it really worth the money, or could that money be better spent elsewhere? Or better yet, saved? I don’t think you could have lived through the Depression and not come out with that attitude. Several generations now have lived in the time of plenty, never going without. As Dave Ramsey put it, “We spent money we didn’t have on things we didn’t need to impress people we didn’t like.”
I don’t want to do that anymore. And so, I will be participating in the great shopping embargo of 2009. May it create a lifelong habit of responsible spending…