Lately, I’ve been out most of the days of the week, doing errands, filing legal cases, paying off personal loans… and shopping. The latter, however, was more of a by-product of all those things that I had to do. I think I finally understood why my husband once felt a sudden urge to buy himself a very expensive pair of leather shoes in Singapore, when we have just spent nearly 100k for our family vacation abroad.
For the past several years, mind you, I have successfully practiced avoiding window shopping unless I intend to buy a particular item. I would only go into a particular store if there’s something there that I have really been planning to buy and if they’re holding a sale. I have always prided myself for being able to refrain from impulsively buying stuff for myself at the mall, even if there’s enough cash in my wallet or debit card for me to be able to purchase anything I’d fancy. Like my husband, I tend to spend money on good food, and not on material things.
Why window shop when you won’t buy? has been our mantra ever since we have read the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” by Joshua Harris. Turns out it’s not only applicable to dating or choosing a lifetime partner, but in the literal sense of shopping for various stuff as well. However, whenever I’m at the supermarket or hardware store–places I have started to frequent ever since I became a full-time homemaker–I tend to disregard that rule. Sometimes, my husband would no longer want to know how much I’ve spent at the supermarket despite the fact that I was only shopping for myself and our two young daughters. (Hint: I’m an Elite card holder at Shopwise.)
For the first time in months or probably a year, I shopped at stores I don’t normally frequent. I bought clothes for my kids and my niece/goddaughter in the US at Guess. I know she could easily buy a Guess shirt there, but again, it’s on sale here plus I no longer get to see her, so that would be a gift that her mother could bring home to her. Grendha was also on sale, so I got some nice strappy sandals for my girls. The truth, however, was I wanted for myself a pair of shoes or sandals that would be able to stand the rains, but seeing none that fit my taste or size, I ended up buying pairs for my daughters instead. (Yes, you can say the same thing for Guess or why I was there in the first place.)
Finally, I have bought some stuff online for myself and our pet(s). At long last, I got myself a Happy Call pan. I do not regret buying this, but I must admit that it can be considered a splurge. (My husband wonders why I didn’t just buy an oven, instead of buying various cooking wares.) And then a few stuff for home improvement, particularly in the bathroom and garden.
I am starting to feel guilty about my spending, and that’s probably the reason I am writing this piece. The only thing that convinces me that I’m not doing so bad after all was the fact that I have already paid off at least half of my debts, saved a little and some cash for investing in mutual funds and/or stocks. So far, we only own a few shares at a multinational aviation company, but that’s only because my husband is an employee there. I’d like for us to diversify, and I’ve already signed up for both group seminars and one-on-one coaching with a financial expert to be able to make some wise financial decisions.
My goal for this year is to be debt-free. And by God’s grace, I am getting there. I have also started to tithe on a regular basis, but I would be a hypocrite if I tell you that it’s always at 10% or more. Often, I tend to give only 5%, if not 10% of what’s left after I have deducted all the family expenses (and savings), excluding budget for miscellaneous stuff. I know I still have a lot to learn in this area and I need to be more disciplined and trustworthy with the financial blessings God has entrusted to me, but I’m getting there albeit rather slow.
And now, I wonder: is there really such a thing called guilt-free shopping? Perhaps. But only if I won a free shopping spree from all the shops I have visited.