From Where I Sit – Richer Already

In the past couple of weeks I’ve undertaken a significant financial commitment. There was the initial fee of several hundred dollars, which will be followed by ongoing weekly costs. For now, That’s all I’m prepared to say. I’m not trying to be coy. Be assured that when I’m ready to talk about the undertaking, you, dear reader, will be the first to know. It’s not earth-shattering. In fact, when I spill the beans, you may think It’s boring or irrelevant.

The point I’m trying to make is that when we need to find the money for something, we can and do. Your something may be a pair of Jimmy Choos or a Mercedes convertible. For others, perhaps the need is for out-of-country medical care or prescription drugs not covered by a health plan. Sometimes families need to raise funds for legal expenses or to post bail. Everyone’s something need only be important to them.

What I’m finding is that if the need or reason is compelling enough, the way will be found. Mindless or impulse purchases come screeching to a halt. The old habit of easily spending a few bucks on something now receives sober second thought. Do I really need that bestseller, even if I can buy it at Costco for half the cover price? No. Sometimes even the $10 is too much if you know the library will eventually get a copy. Or if you do the math and know you’d have to live to age 114 to read what you already have.

That’s why I walked empty-handed out of Costco last week. Much to my surprise, there weren’t any alarms sounding to warn the staff of a ?no sale.? Nor was there confetti falling from above to celebrate my self-control. It’s as though it had happened before.

While there I bumped into an older couple I know. The wife was eying a set of kitchen knives. The husband and I concluded that a six- or seven-piece set for around $20 couldn’t be very good stuff. He also reminded his wife that they were at the downsizing and clearing out stage of their lives, not in acquisition mode. They pushed their empty cart along and I walked out the door.

Apparently It’s not only possible but permissible to go into a retail establishment and look around without buying anything. It’s also possible to repeat the process in the next store and the one after that.

Even better is staying away from temptation. Or questioning whether there is a genuine need for that thingamajig. Or thinking about alternatives like borrowing, renting, or?heaven forbid?doing without.

I doubt this insight is any sort of breakthrough, or even newsworthy. (Maybe you knew all along and I’m the last to put two and two together!) But it is important because it reminds me that I control my destiny?or at the very least my purse strings?and that reallocation of money is often easier than getting more. I get to set my spending priorities. I get to practice mindfulness. I feel richer already, from where I sit.

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