I played tennis in high school. My doubles partner was a very tall girl with super-gorgeous long hair, and I’m pretty sure all the boys admired her. She was pretty and also stylish, and I remember one day she remarked to me about her wardrobe.
“I buy quality things, so I can buy less of them,” was the general sentiment.
She explained that she needed only one tee in a given color, because she knew it would last her a long time. She needed only one bag because, again, it would be awhile before it would wear and she’d need a new one. Because she bought fewer things, she could afford to spend more on each item she did buy.
At the time, I found this limiting. Why would I spend $25 on a simple tshirt when I could buy a simple tshirt for $5 at Walmart? I thought. I could buy so much more with my money!
But over the years as I avoided expensive boutiques like the plague and instead favored shops with “3 for $15” deals, I learned that over time I still spent a lot of money on clothes. Why? Because I’d decide they didn’t fit quite right or the material was uncomfortable or it just didn’t look new after awhile.
Cheap things wear out. (Quality things do, too, but not as soon.)
The tshirt that costs $25 has a much more flattering cut and wont stretch out. The $100 handbag has higher quality straps that wont fray. Whereas those $5 shoes are $5 for a reason.
When things are cheap, there’s a misconception that your money spent on them somehow doesn’t count, because it was hardly anything. Unfortunately, this way of thinking leads to overbuying. (tweet that)
Overspending vs. Overbuying
I’ve always been a frugal person, so I have a keen sense to avoid overspending. I shop around for the best deal so I don’t waste my money.
But something I struggled with in the past was overbuying. Like the time I bought four swimsuits for only $50, which was definitely not overspending, but I certainly didn’t need four swimsuits. Or the times I would “splurge” at Goodwill and spend $30 getting “so much stuff!”, but I should have just bought the $3.88 pair of shorts that I came in there for.
I love shopping but only when I need things
I very much enjoy shopping. I like browsing and socializing with friends, pointing out things we like or things that might suit each other. But actually spending money on something is different. If I buy something just “because I’m shopping”, I’ve found that I don’t get any joy from it, and in fact I feel some guilt.
But when I have an item in mind that I need, go out with the intention of buying it, find one that’s perfect, and make the purchase, I feel both accomplished and excited to use it!
It feels great to treat yourself to something you actually need and there’s a much greater sense of joy when you buy something of quality. (tweet that) I’d rather go out to a nice meal once a month than fast food once every week.
Spend more now to save more later
It’s hard in the moment, especially when getting started, but the next time you find yourself in need of something, try not opting for the absolute cheapest version. Consider the labor and ethics of its production. Consider how long you hope it will last. Consider if saving up to buy one nice thing will bring you more joy than two cheaper things. Once you start to question and consider where things come from and what purpose they will serve in your life, you will see buying in a whole new light. And hopefully, it will bring you more joy!
What’s an example in your life of something you bought that was either cheap or unnecessary, and how did it make you feel? What’s something high quality and really needed that made you feel awesome to buy?
Decluttering my life has brought me peace of mind and relief from the world around me. There’s nothing like walking into the space you created and knowing you have nothing more than what you need. I write articles to help others create that same feeling for themselves.