The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Have any of you read it? Read it if you get a chance. It will make you laugh -- and think.
Even though Gretchen is a Yale trained lawyer (whoa!), she is also a pretty ordinary wife with two little girls. One day she came to the realization that even though "the days were long -- the years were short" and she was not really enjoying her daily life as much as she thought she should! You too?? After tons and tons of some pretty highbrow (and some lowbrow) reading, she embarked on a year-long "project" to find more happiness in her daily life. I won't give away her many many insights (told in a very readable style), but I will share one interesting concept relating to money that you might find useful from Chapter 7. Here's what she has to say, When I began to pay attention to people's relationship to money, I recognized two different approaches to buying: 'underbuying' and 'overbuying.' I am an underbuyer, I delay making purchases or buy as little as possible. . .I often consider buying an item, then decide, 'I'll get this some other time' or 'Maybe we don't really need this.' As an underbuyer, I often feel stressed because I don't have the things I need. I make a lot of late-night runs to the drugstore. I'm surrounded with things that are shabby, don't really work, or aren't exactly suitable.
She goes on to say, I gaze in wonder at the antics of my overbuyer friends. Overbuyers often lay in huge supplies of slow-use things like shampoo or cough medicine. They make a lot of purchases before they go on a trip or celebrate a holiday. They throw things away -- milk, medicine, even cans of soup -- because they've hit their expiration date. Like me, overbuyers feel stressed. They're oppressed by the . . . the clutter and waste often created by their overbuying.
Gretchen eventually recognizes that there must be a happy medium and that it probably lives more in the camp of the Overbuyer: I knew that I'd be happier if I made a mindful effort to thwart my underbuying impulse and instead worked to buy what I needed. For instance, I ended my just-in-time policy for restocking toilet paper. . .As Samuel Johnson remarked, 'To live in perpetual want of little things is a state, not indeed of torture, but of constant vexation. . . I realized that the paradoxical consequence of being an underbuyer was that I had to shop MORE OFTEN, while buying extras meant fewer trips to the cash register. I bought batteries, Band-Aids, lightbulbs, diapers -- things I knew we would need eventually.
Do you recognize yourself in any of this?? Are you an Overbuyer or an Underbuyer?? I have been a life-long sad, sniveling underbuyer -- just ask my girls. Constantly out of vacuum bags, light bulbs, tooth paste, pepperoni, chocolate chips (well, I might be short of this last one for a very different reason than not buying them). And the list goes on and on. On the other hand, living in a galaxy far far away, I have a lovely friend who is a very wise Overbuyer. She keeps an entire box of paper (filled with a dozen reams!) nestled safely near her printer. She purchases charming birthday cards 20-30 at a time and even has ten spare deodorants in her bathroom closet! She is prepared, prepared, prepared -- and smells good too! I've always wanted to be like her, but could never quite figure out before what the difference was between us. Mystery solved.
I'd love to hear how you buy and if it really makes you happy.