The hardest things

This may seem like whining, and as I write it I’m thinking, I should just really focus on the positive things like how AWESOME I”M DOING SO FAR! But I was thinking it might help others to share what are the challenges for me and my brain in making this big switch from online retail therapy to….Not online retail therapy. I haven’t figured out anything to fill it with yet.

At the beginning of this I went through my email and unsubscribed from the places I shop online with most often. My rationale in signing up for these emails in the first place is: “If I’m going to shop, I might as well get it on sale”, because these places have sales SOOO often that it’s ridiculous to pay full price. HOWEVER, as we all know. when something is on sale it creates that sense of URGENCY (sorry, I really love capital letters, just ask my mom) that “Oh my goodness, what a great deal, I can’t pass that up!” even if it’s something we don’t really need. I did this two years ago at the beginning of the year long challenge also, but this time I went one step further. I un-followed all my favourite bloggers on instagram.

My husband and I kvetch all the time about what our kids watch on Youtube Kids: other kids playing with toys. It means they know EXACTLY what all the newest, trendiest toys are, and they WANT THEM! And then I realized something. That’s exactly what I do on Instagram! I watch other women play with clothes! So I always know what the newest, trendiest clothes are, and I WANT THEM!Talk about creating a culture of lack and unfulfilled-ness (is unfullfilment a word? Likely not, but it should be, because there’s a lot of that going on in the age of Instagram and Youtube kids). I’m constantly bombarded by what I don’t have and what I lack. So, unfollow! Stop watching women wear clothing you want! (God I’m going to miss them. So sad.)
This will hopefully help with hardest thing number TWO. (In case you missed it, number one was Instagram = constant temptation.

Hardest thing number TWO is ONLINE SHOPPING. Gahhhhh. I love online shopping. I don’t know when it started, but it hit me hard. I do think it coincided with my Instagram addiction because about 90% of the things I bought online, I saw first on Instagram. (Especially for myself, stuff for the kids it’s often just easier to buy online than try and make it out to a store. But it definitely makes me stop and think “Do I need this” when I have to go out to a store for it, instead of it showing up on my doorstep”.

I was reading this book called “Dollars and Sense: How we Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter” and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is that the universe would like to distance us from what the author calls “The Pain of Paying”. To separate us from our money is painful, so things like CREDIT CARDS help by lengthening the time between the purchase and the actual payment for the item. Like, if you buy a bottle of red wine, and “age it” by leaving it in your basement for five years, when you drink the bottle, it feels FREE! It isn’t, because you paid for it five years ago, but who cares, that’s so far in the past that it doesn’t matter. This is kind of how credit cards work but in reverse. You buy something and enjoy it immediately (or in 4-7 business days, whenever it shows up on your doorstep), but because it’s on your credit card you don’t end up paying for it until 3 weeks later, and even then it’s in a huge bill with the other 10,000 things you put on your credit card which decreases the “pain” because you’ve already enjoyed it. Credit cards also decrease the attention we give to the payment. His formula is : Pain of Paying = Time + Attention. When you increase the time between payment and consumption and decrease the attention needed to make payment. Think about all the ways this is possible with things like tap cards (beep, didn’t even notice how much it was, beep, hey isn’t this fun? BEEEEEP!) and websites that allow you to save your credit card info so you don’t even have to get up off the couch to get it (Confirm order? Yes please, see YOU soon pretty bag!) or this fabled Apple Pay that lets you pay with your phone (it’s not REAL money, it’s PHONE money!). All these things separate YOU from the reality of LOSING MONEY!

So I’m trying really hard to use Debit for everything, and again, am posting all my extra purchases (besides food and gas and the boring necessities) on my Instagram page (linked in the blog header) so that it REALLY sinks in that I’m losing that money. That it is GONE and I’m never getting it back to save up for that new couch, or trip to Victoria (or ANY trip that doesn’t involve camping on wheels) or FOR THE CHILDREN’S SAKE! I’m also writing it down and creating a weekly total so we can really get a good idea of where the money is going. How do you separate the pain from the payment? Have a good weekend!

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