We’ve talked about impulse spending, or shopping as entertainment, and how you really need to get a life if that’s something you do too much of (don’t take it personally though, I’ve been there, trust me). And I find one of the most common form of this kind of shopping is probably for clothing. Malls are full of clothing stores, and since buying clothing not only makes us feel that we look better (temporarily) and satisfies our well-trained need for the (also temporary) reward of buying something new, they’re all-too-often a place that chips away at our income and savings disproportionately and unnecessarily.
There’s always some new kicks and those pants of slightly different shade than the ones you are wearing, and whether you’re buying a few designer pieces here and there, or are obsessed with owning every shade of $10 plain Wal-Mart T-shirt, sometimes it seems we just have got to have it. And maybe that’s OK. But the thing is that we won’t admit that. We wouldn’t tell our friend that’s with us that we don’t need these new jeans, but are just going to buy them anyway. No. Instead we weave a little story for ourselves of which we first convince ourselves so that we can convince those around us if it seems called for.
So, for me at least, when I’m at the till paying for something I didn’t have any perceived need for the day (or hour) before, I still have a heck of a story in my head as to why it is justified and why I ‘need’ it. And that right there, that little half-conscious mental trickery is what we are here to tackle, to reverse. It’s also what marketers are also trying to constantly tap into, but with opposite intentions that don’t have your freedom in mind. So we want to take it from sub-conscious or half-conscious to fully-conscious, a mindfulness practice, if you will, so that we don’t sleep-walk into spending away our freedom and retirement on things we’ll have no recollection of or sign of in the future when we’re still working away instead spending time recreating with the people we love or exploring a new corner of the world, or our own backyard.
Consider that Back in 2014, the Levi’s CEO urged us all to practically never (or at least rarely) wash our jeans (which also jives well with keeping your cooler full of clothing or towels, etc. while on a trip). Consider that Warren Buffet drives to work in relatively modest vehicles and has lived in the same home for decades.
Also, maybe some suggestions of frugality you come across may seem extreme to you, like never washing your pants. But we have this tendency to shut things down without acknowledging the huge gap between the extreme they may suggest is possible and the current practices we employ, and the stories we tell ourselves to justify them. Maybe we could meet in the middle somewhere, and still have some huge, huge gains?
Now of course I’m no qualified life coach or financial advisor, and I certainly can’t guarantee you of anything (but neither can anyone else), except that no one ever got rich spending money they didn’t have to. So how can you re-frame the stories you tell yourself in the name of keeping (and then employing) more of the dollars you’ve earned so that you can live your life beautifully, on your own terms and free of financial concerns.
I’d love to hear some examples of how others have re-framed their own stories. Drop me an email or comment below…