I ventured out into the cold last night on a shopping spree. It’s a uncommon event for a Thursday night, but I wanted to get some early Christmas shopping done. My first stop was at Kohl’s where I had some major shopping scores, but, of course, my mind was buzzing with thoughts of personal finance.
Kohl’s is fun. I enjoy browsing the various sections. When I used to be in debt, Kohl’s was one of my favorite stores. I could buy to my heart’s content without spending too much per item. But after this shopping trip, it’s clear that thoughtless spending just doesn’t do it for me anymore.
The great spending debate
I’ve been casually wanting a new robe for awhile now. I have one that works perfectly fine (although it looks a little tattered after several years of consistent use), but I also want a silk one to add to my collection. I don’t need anything nice, just something soft and comfy. While browsing the aisles, I found one that I liked. It was deep purple and would be perfect for those summer mornings while getting ready for work. The price was around $13 (pretty average for anything at Kohl’s).
I stared at the robe for a long while, feeling the silk and wondering if it work would for me. Thirteen dollars isn’t much. I debated and debated and finally decided that I had a functional robe, why did I need another one (especially a low-quality one from Kohl’s)? Maybe becoming debt-free inspires a little minimalism in all of us. Before, I would have been completely okay with owning 3, 4, or 5 robes. Not anymore. One robe is all I need and it gets the job done just fine. Even though I could drop a measly $13 on a cheap robe, it’s not worth it to me anymore. Not only will it clutter my life, it’s just not necessary. It’s so funny how my thoughts toward spending and shopping have changed over the past several years.
I did have some other personal finance thoughts while meandering up and down the overflowing aisles of Kohl’s, but most of them were judgment’s of other people’s spending habits. I’ll save that topic for another post…
Just the bare necessities…
So what did I come away with? The bare necessities. I got two Christmas presents for two of my family members and … my wedding shoes! I just happened upon them, too. They are silver, short-heeled, and perfect (see picture at right)! The best part? They only set me back a mere $14.99! Which is by far the cheapest wedding expense I’ve had to date.
Do you feel that becoming debt-free breeds minimalism? If you have previously or are currently cleaning up your spending habits, do you think it will change your views on shopping permanently?
I think so. I’ve wondered if my minimalist/spendthrift habits will carry over into my life post-debt, and I don’t see why not. Once I pay off my debt, I’ll find a new goal to be obsessed with – saving for an emergency fund, a house, travel, retirement, etc. And I’ll know that spending money on things I don’t need will only keep me that much farther from my goals. The whole reason I even started down the minimalist path was because I needed money and decided to sell my unused books/DVDs/furniture to replace my income the one month that I was unemployed.
This post makes me happy. 🙂 I like to think minimalism and saving money go hand in hand. If you have something that’s perfectly useful, why spend your hard-earned money on something else? If you only wear X articles of clothing, why continue to buy new clothes? Minimalism saves you money, keeps you from feeling cluttered, and allows you to focus on what’s important.
I agree, I think a little dose of minimalism is definitely inherent in cleaning up one’s personal finances. It changes your whole perspective on “want” vs. “need,” and therefore means that shopping sprees aren’t the carefree endeavor they once were. Great post, Amber!
I think I’m inclined to agree as well. Recently I purchased new sheets from the aforementioned retailer after I realized that one set I had ripped. Even though I needed to replace what I had to maintain the level of laziness I sought when it came to washing sheets, it still took me almost 3 months to actually commit to a set of sheets.
I’m definitely more mindful of my purchases. I buy quality, or nothing at all. I want things to last, and for every item in the house to be useful. I don’t think I would call myself a “minimalist”…. maybe to an extent. But the frugal lifestyle probably does breed minimalism in general.
I grew up on a farm. Much of that industry used to work like this: young farmers take out loans and buy land & equipment. They spend decades paying it off, borrowing more to expand, and paying that off. I could never bear the thought of living like this — with that debt constantly around my shoulders. Retirement’s OK if you can make it through.
As a result, I definitely suffer from the same minimalism psychosis that you do. To the point that I am wearing a pair of glasses that are embarrassingly bent after a soccer ball collision a few weeks ago. I can’t seem to motivate myself to get a new pair.
I’m trying to recover.
Being debt free does breed minimalism if you asked me. I consider purchases more and know that I can only buy what I can actually afford so I’m less likely to buy mindlessly or needlessly. I’m debt free and want to keep it that way so I gotta stick with the basics. If I splurge it’s still within a reasonable budget and I’ll cut back elsewhere in order to do it.