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Checking In on Needs Vs. Wants.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Checking In on Needs Vs. Wants.

It's been two weeks since I made the pledge to only purchase what is needed on a day to day basis. Though it's felt like a lot longer than two weeks.

  • I have made only three trips to Target.

This was much harder than I thought which is why there were only three trips. All three trips I made sure to make a list beforehand and go and purchase exactly what we came for and then go straight to the check-out. No meandering visits. No second glances at what's been marked down. Needs only.

My estimate would be that I have saved at least $60...that's averaging about $20 of wants per visit that I didn't buy. (Plus let's factor in all those trips to Target I'm not taking because of this challenge.)

  • We also had a trip to Home Depot during our first two weeks.

We bought a new vacuum, new deadbolt and finalized the decision on our entry rug. The vacuum and deadbolt were needs. The rug will be a need when spring comes and our three year old rug takes it's last winter beating.

  • I've gone grocery shopping only one time.

While I did purchase a couple grocery items at Target. (Such as some not on the list pork chops that were the brand I would usually get for half the price, umm how could I pass that up?) For the most part our groceries are from Cub Foods. Planning our meals has helped with the shopping because I know exactly what things I will need and I'm not walking around guessing what we may or may not have for dinner. I'm hopeful February goes even better by paying attention to what I already have in the cupboard and freezer.

Interestingly enough, I did run into one little hiccup last week when I realized that over night H had grown out of just about all of his pajamas. (Hence the Halloween pj's in January.) I took a trip to two different children's stores and found three new pair of jammies. Though there were signs about sales and 25% off and coupons, I bought pajamas and only pajamas. Because that was all we needed for now. (Though M has been trying to tell me that apparently she needs more 'rockstar' shirts? Still trying to figure this one out.)


That was pretty monumental for me. Leaving with only three pair of pj's when there were stores and signs calling me from every direction?

I am used to walking through the stores and finding things and picking up things that are 'cute' or 'good deals' or that are really 'fun'. This new mentality is hard.

It's also hard because there have been a lot of times that I have bought things at a really good price a season ahead and saved big. For instance, a lot of H's shoes and clothes. I tried to do this with T and M in the past too. Now that they are older and don't necessarily have specific size gaps they move into, it's much harder.

I realized this last week that while I was doing a good job of not buying any "wants" I was still keeping a lot of "stuff" in the house that was definitely not needed.

I went through my closet and dresser last week and got rid of three bags full of clothes. I should have really gotten rid of more too. There were clothes that still had tags on them. That is sick!

I also went through H's dresser and got rid of things that were too small or stained and packed away things I wanted to keep. For a long time I felt like I was saving everything, so I went through and really got rid of things that I don't necessarily have sentimental feelings for or need. Don't get me wrong, I still saved some things, just not everything under the sun.

M and T's dressers have also been gone through. Clothes they just aren't going to wear because they don't like them or something about it bothers them, why am I bothering to keep them?

I am working on eliminating the stuff. Clothes is just the beginning. I know there are toys and books and other miscellaneous 'stuff' that could get out of here too.

"The" moment so far had to have been at Target when J accompanied me and I stood in the middle of the cracker aisle trying to justify why we needed more crackers. J stood there shaking his head at my need to buy more than I already had in the cart. I don't know if only having a few things in the cart was bothering me or what, but I somehow 'needed' to buy more crackers.

After having J remind that we don't 'need' any more crackers it dawned on me what I was doing. Have you seen my cupboards? Right now I have Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Cheez Its, Graham crackers, Saltines...What more could I need in the cracker department, right?

This challenge is proving to be tough, yet worth it. It's re-learning the difference between a need and a want, which somewhere along the way got a little mixed up in my head.

So how's it going for you? Are you joining me on this journey or living this way already? What are your thoughts and ideas and what kinds of advice and thoughts do you have on really living this new mindset?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Dadio's said...

That looks like you are making it work. Hang tuff. Remember when I would take you and your sisters into a store look at something and leave without buying anything..... even though the 3 of you were saying lets get this or a snack. And I would say that was good practice to not buy anything. It would drive Mom nuts if I did that with her..

Love to all
Dadio's

January 25, 2008 at 10:20 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Re: saving money on groceries, I've found that side by side Super Target is almost always cheaper then Cub, as long as you can stay on the grocery side and not leave with a new sweater like I often did. They may even take a bit of a loss on groceries because they know that isn't the only thing most people buy.

January 25, 2008 at 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GREAT for you S I could not leave with out buying anything. I wish you the best love janet

January 26, 2008 at 10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just in Target yesterday 01/26/2008 and spent a bit more then I needed to. I had Uncle Bruce with me and when he tags along look out.. :0

Love You
Auntie

January 27, 2008 at 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Emmie (Better Make It A Double) said...

I am local to you (So. Mpls) and my family is Compacting this year after seeing the Strib story (through which I also found your blog). It's going well, but I think in some ways it's easier that all my kids are under three and don't know any better. It's a nice chance for our family to really think about these things before our kids are old enough to have real consumer demands of their own. I enjoy reading about how you and your family work things out - it's inspiring. We don't have any "steps" in my family, but I'm not sure we function as well as yours seems to. I know you've all worked hard on it though.

February 3, 2008 at 10:56 PM  

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