It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
-Henry David Thoreau
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Thinking about Money

Sometimes I think money is thing that causes people the most anguish.  Even if you have “enough” it doesn’t eliminate the concerns and issues that come with needing money.  And really, how many of us feel like we actually have “enough” – there are so many unknowns in this world.  We tend to have strong opinions about how it should be spent or saved.  I’m not here to tell you any of those things, yet to encourage you to think about money more.

Several months ago my husband and I were talking about some purchases.  We checked prices online and it gave us pause.  The lovely picture we were considering for over the sofa was a bit more than we’d expected.  Since we’ve already recognized the temptation for making purchases without enough thought, we consoled ourselves that we weren’t making a decision in this moment.  There was time to see how we felt later and moved on with our day.

It was a weekend day and we headed to the Renaissance Faire.  We had a few vendors we wanted to visit and were considering a purchase there.  It’s a tapestry shop and we discovered these exquisite tapestries – a set of 4 – and it came with a discount when you buy at least 2.  Oh was I drooling over them.

Fortunately my husband and I had established a good pattern before buying anything unplanned.  We walk away.  We found a place to sit and talk about our thoughts regarding these tapestries.  He liked them as much as I did and had the same temptation to bring them home.  Still we moseyed along, visiting another vendor, knowing we still had time to get back and buy the tapestries.

Then something interesting happened.  My husband was struck with the irony that just that morning we were cringing about spending about the same amount on one thing yet somehow we weren’t reacting in the same way at the thought of buying several things.  We’d been sucked in by the idea that by getting more for the same money it somehow wasn’t the same – never mind that we’d get a discount for getting more than one.

It doesn’t matter what it was or how much – it’s about how varied we can be about things.  In one context, we pause and consider; in another, we barely pause and almost rush in.  We practice being thoughtful – controlling our impulses in order to discern what matters most to us.

Have you ever bought something and later regretted it?  I’d be surprised if you haven’t.  We’re working on cutting down on those regrets, hence why we walk away in the first place.

  • What is it about that thing that makes you want to take it home with you?
  • Will this feeling fade or will you feel the same way in a year?  Are there alternatives?
  • Are you simply wanting to buy and not so concerned with its use and value?
  • If you were to spend the money on this thing, is there something else you’d rather spend the money on?

Buying things is necessary – we all have to do it.  Yet how mindful are we of how and on what we spend our money?  If we begin to recognize our own patterns about money, we can take steps to lead a life that supports who we are and our values.  Money causes enough headaches; don’t let it cause you unnecessary pain.

By the way, the beautiful tapestries stayed with the vendor and the limited edition print was ordered a while later.  Months later this still feels like the right decision for us.

1 comment to Thinking about Money

  • Tamara Snyder

    I like this story. We tend to do the same thing – that is, get all excited when something seems to be “on sale” – and then we have to step back and ask ourselves if we actually want that item at all. That must be one way that sales work for retailers: not enough people make a well reasoned and insightful decision and simply go with the initial “it’s a good deal” reaction.

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