Have you ever been out doing errands, or running between appointments and found yourself getting a coffee or a baked good because "I deserve a treat"? Or have you been out doing some shopping and see something small that you like but don't need but grab it anyway because you're "doing something nice for yourself"?
Toward the end of 2016 I noticed that I was indulging myself in little "splurges" all the time. One of our grocery stores has coffee you can sample for free, but then you can also buy a small cup for $1 or a large cup for $2. I used to always just get a little sample to drink while I was shopping, and then one day I decided I was going to get a small cup, just as a little treat. Then, because I did it once, I decided to do it the next time I went in. And then eventually I decided I may as well get a large cup since it's just $1 more, and before you know it I'm getting a large coffee every week when I go into that store, and for what? What exactly am I treating myself to at that point - making it out to the grocery store that week? It merely became a bad habit reinforced by the idea that I was doing something nice for myself.
Like that color of nail polish? Grab it! It's a treat. Fancy a donut? Grab it! It's a treat. That candle smells nice? Grab it! It's a treat.
I started to realize that I was justifying impulse buying and habits I'd slowly formed by telling myself that I was doing something nice for myself. Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking doing something nice for yourself occasionally -we all certainly deserve to be good to ourselves - but for me it was just becoming a thing. I don't need all those little things to be happy, and in the end some of those things (hello, donut) really aren't good for me when they are not actually just an occasional treat.
Once all the Christmas food had been purchased, I planned to not go grocery shopping again until after the holidays and everyone was back to work and school. Because I didn't go out for most of that week, there were fewer impulse purchases, and I decided that the habits need to be broken in 2017. When we first moved into our house in 2009 and we were spending all our time and money fixing it up, we bought nothing that was unnecessary so I know it can be done. So far so good but I now consciously notice the dialogue going on in my head: "grab a snack to eat in the car...oh a sweet tea would be good....that candle smells good...."
So much of this is just unnecessary spending because they are things I can live without, and I can certainly make it home from the grocery store without buying a snack to eat on the way. To that end, I'm going to try and keep noticing that narrative and try to shut down the "treat myself" way of thinking. An actual splurge every now and again is fine, and really is a treat, but this weekly nonsense has to stop.
Do you notice that you justify your impulse buys? Have you developed a habit from treating yourself to something?
Posted by Kristen Skelton at 8:00 AM