It’s the DSW one that gets me every time. It pops up in my inbox: Up to $15 off! Limited time offer!
I click. I peruse. They’re all so cute! Fifteen seconds ago I didn’t need shoes. Now? Well, they’re such a good deal! And my shoes are pretty old … And if I bought two pair I’d save even more!
Such is the trap. At times the very vehicle we use for finding deals can backfire, making us more focused than ever on accumulating items we don’t really need. Please tell me I’m not alone in this.
I don’t need camping gear until I see the REI sale. I don’t need groceries, but who can pass on a $10 off $50? My old flip flops work just fine, but Old Navy’s are just two bucks! And now that I think about it, mine are pretty tired…
It’s slippery slope toward discontentment, and discontentment can rob our joy, drain our emotional energy, and deplete the very resources we were working so hard to protect. How do we combat it? Here are a few ways:
Remember the goal of marketing
By choosing to bargain-hunt and coupon-clip we are entering the dangerous land of advertisements. Remember that the goal of marketing is to drive sales. Period. Advertisements seek to create some sort of discontentment in the mind of consumers so that they will desire to buy a product which promises to satisfy, fulfill, and ultimately alleviate that discontentment.
New razors ($2 off!) will spice up your love life (and somehow give you long, tan legs). New and improved toothpaste ($.50 off!) will give you brilliantly white (and miraculously straight) teeth. A new pair of sandals this summer (buy one get one 50% off) will definitely make you look better in a bathing suit.
Over and over I find that I do not need something until I see it on sale. It promises so much, and it’s such a great deal!
The only real way to save money is by not spending it. Even if it’s on sale. It might be the best bargain to leave it on the shelf.
There is an amazing power and freedom in being able to walk away from an amazing deal because you know you don’t have to have it. You prove to yourself that things do not own you.
Contentment is not far behind.
Love what you have
We’ve all heard variations of the saying, “Happiness isn’t having what you love, it’s loving what you have.” Cliché, yes, but still true.
Make it a habit to periodically shop at home. Take an afternoon, or however much time you’d spend running around to Target and IKEA and everywhere else you’d hunt down bargains.
Go through your closet. Try on some different clothing combinations. Throw some stuff out (I find that giving stuff away is far more exhilarating than buying new stuff). Mend what’s torn. Iron what’s wrinkled.
Dig through your pantry. Make a goal to eat for two weeks just on what you have in the house. Not sure how to make random ingredients into a meal? Check out Allrecipes and use the ingredient search. You’ll be amazed at the delicious combinations you’ll find.
(Once you’re done, check out this post for ideas on keeping a well-stocked pantry!)
Rearrange the furniture. Switch the curtains. Get creative. Take note of all your favorite items in the house and think about where they came from. Pull out the china and (gasp!) use it for dinner. Pick some flowers from the yard and make a bouquet.
There are a million ways to take what you have and make it luxurious. You’ll trick yourself into feeling pampered, and next thing you know, you’re the richest gal on the block.
RELATED: Our review of Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Here’s the trick with discontentment: We always tend to compare up. We compare ourselves with those that we perceive have more than us.
When was the last time you compared your house to the cardboard lean-tos that house millions of our world’s poor? When was the last time that you counted all the luxuries that you have that the vast majority of our world does not? For that matter, when have we considered all the luxuries we have that our parents and grandparents did not.
I have a three-car garage, air conditioning, a walk-in-closet, and a guest bedroom. These things were virtually unheard of in previous generations. And yet, what do I compare my house to? The glossy pages of the Pottery Barn catalog. Not a wise idea. The comparison game is always a trap, but especially watch out for the trap of looking up the ladder.
If we must compare, compare down. We are rich indeed.
Just like the skill of bargain-hunting, contentment too must be learned. We grow in it. So in the midst of clipping coupons, remember that the greatest gain is a content heart. When we’re content, we’re free to enjoy the deals without being driven by the gnawing hunger for more.
And that is the biggest savings of all.
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Well written and so true! I should take the 2 week challenge and not shop and simply enjoy what I’ve been blessed with. Thanks for posting 🙂
Great points and good to remember, I am going to pass it on.
I remember once when I returned from a trip to Mexico, my very basic small house seemed so luxurious! I have carpet & don’t have to sweep a concrete floor, plus they aren’t too cozy. I have hot water 24/7 and also running water 24/7! My toilet has a great sewer system! I can take a regular shower (they only get wet, turn off the water & then only on to rinse).
Touche! What great insight, especially the compare down! I have MORE than enough in my life (still enjoy thebargain hunt though!) Nice reality check!
Great Article Kari!
Kelleigh @ Kelleigh Ratzlaff Designs says
Love this! Thank you!
Chels R. says
Great article! It’s so easy to get trapped by all that stuff. I have certain rules, I rarely buy online…the shipping is killer unless it’s free but even still I don’t always think the deals are that great. And I don’t buy something unless I love it. If I love it and have to have it, then I buy it…if I have the cash. I don’t use credit cards unless I’m shopping at Victoria Secret, haha! I leave the tags on until I’m positive I’m keeping it. My mom taught me all that and it’s worked pretty well for me 🙂
I also will be passing this on. I have been going through this the last week or two. I see all these GREAT back to school sales yet I have already bought my kids all they need. But how can I pass those up? THey are such a great deal. After reading this I will be passing them up. Well except for the crayons (my younger 2 kids go through tons) paper and pencils. The things that have to be replenished though out the school year.
Thanks for the reminder!
Awesome article! Thank you so much for sharing it!
Thanks so much for the post! It’s so easy to get sucked in – all the while my hearts desire is to save my hubby’s hard earned cash! It’s so much more fun being content with what I’ve been given!! I was just thinking about this very thing yesterday so this was perfect timing.
I’ll be passing this on…..thanks for a wise reminder.
Loved it. I am fairly new to couponing and would be crushed when I thought I’d missed a deal. But really? I’m just fine without it.
Well said! What a great article and timely reminder for all of us. It’s so easy to get carried away by all the sales and offers. Thanks for all the great ideas and reminders of how to keep our hearts in check. 🙂