Monday, February 20, 2012

My wallet is screaming

Holy potatoes, y'all.

Peanut and I have just spent the last three days. That's it. We've just spent them. It's as if we've tried to determine all the different things we could spend money on, and then we went out and bought them. For reals.


Every purchase was planned. It could be argued that they were not necessary, because additional woden spoons and restaurant-grade cookware are not truly necessary. But we have planned them and saved for them and waited for the time when we could go shopping together, and lo, that weekend coincided with the time we realized that Peanut has not purchased any clothing in almost two years and that estate sales are a darned good place to find both kitchenware and secondhand furniture.

I have not yet tallied the damage up in our spreadsheet, but here's a quick rundown of what happened this weekend:
Grocery store (at least twice)
Home Depot
Estate sales (multiple. Many multiples.)
Salvation Army/Target Extras
Regular old Target (more than once)
Restaurant supply stores (uh, yes. Plural.)
Peanut's parents' closet

I would guess that we spent something less than $1,000, but we spent more than $200 on a single Target visit, so I'll put it close to $500. Ouch. Whee. Ouch.

The psychology of shopping is very interesting.We started out excited about the options and being less than picky. We experienced regret, thinking we could have got a better price elsewhere. We honed our talents and got very picky, determined exactly what we needed and passed up anything that didn't match. We got tired, stopped being picky again. We got determined, finished up, and then realized we forgot one thing: shoes. Too exhausted to continue, we will go on the prowl another time.

It's important to me to recognize those cues. Acquiring things is in some ways the human condition - we need more food, we need to replace clothing with holes worn through - and we tried to do it in ways that made sense, by going secondhand or direct when possible or purchasing equipment to help us repair something instead of replacing it. Getting overwhelmed with shiny new objects is the surest route to financial obliteration.

All in all, this long weekend was tiring but satisfying - I am not elated that we spent most of our waking hours shopping, but I am glad that it's mostly over. We may very well take up estate saling as a hobby, but mostly for the voyeuristic appeal of being inside other houses in our neighborhood (clearly, we did not spend a ton of time shopping for houses!). The allure of the $0.25 unique coffee mug helps too.

Actually, one of the things that really stands out to me in general from this weekend is how well made old stuff seems to be. The estate sales we visited had a lot of quality kitchenware that had clearly been in use for decades and was still going strong. Our IKEA wok hasn't even lasted five years, and truthfully probably should have been retired some time ago. The really good stuff - cast iron and real, old pyrex - got scooped up before we got there but there was enough left behind that even I can see the quality. This, perhaps, is the greatest joy of my flirtation with The Compact - that my shopping may not be in vain, because this purchase or that one might be the last time I have to buy this particular whatchamahoosit - because this one will last me forever and will someday be sold at MY estate sale. That's a really nice thought.

Did you have a spendy weekend, or were you able to rein it in?


  1. We only bought four beers at our local bar on Friday and then some burgers and chips. However on Friday my husband purchased a new pillow, two pairs of shorts, photo album sleeves and some computer stuff and today I purchased a compost bin and two tea towels. Budget weekend, but spendy week days either side.

  2. I did not have a spendy weekend, but my wife on the other hand couldn't say the same :) She bought a lot of clothes for the kids that will be needed soon and a few things for gifts, so it wasn't anything out of the realm of reasonability. Still, as the expenses hit the cards and get logged, they'll definitely add up!

  3. I don't believe much things are made to last these days. Things made today seem to be inferior to things of the past. Also with production so fast, I believe they make things only to last a certain amount of time so you will have to buy a new one sooner rather than later.


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