I recently took upon myself a personal challenge to spend less than $100 in a single month on groceries, eating out, entertainment, etc... We paid bills as usual, filled up with gas when we needed it, and had their been a true emergency, we would have taken care of it, but any discretionary spending was limited to $100. While it was not easy, we came through it pretty well, I thought. We spent a total of $96.89 during the entire month and I kept track of every single outgoing penny. Needless to say, we didn't go out much that month, and it may have been the first month in my entire marriage that we didn't even eat out once!
I also spent what felt like the entire summer trying to finish off potty learning for "big littles". This meant we didn't go out much. My husband did some traveling, and I stayed home since he had our one car. We had our "little littles" earlier this year... adding all of this up, I just haven't been out much... not in many, many months!
Well, on Monday, we had a reason to head to the big mall/shopping center with all of the beautiful stores and I was hit time and time again with a strong desire to buy things that I just didn't need just from walking by the store windows! Beautiful clothes at Ann Taylor, a beautiful Thanksgiving platter in Pottery Barn... hey why not just buy the whole set of dishes? Shiny copper pots in the windows of Williams Sonoma, book after book in Barnes and Noble, how I would love to wrap my baby in the wonderful down filled, fur lined snowsuit at Baby Gap, and wouldn't my husband look handsome in a new suit? Ugh. As we left, having taken care of our errands, I felt the weight of all of the "stuffitis" lifted from my shoulders. Before walking by all of those stores, I was happy and content with everything we have. All of us have all of the clothes we need, I am happy in my kitchen, and I am even having a difficult time putting together a "wish list" for relatives who are asking because I am just content with what I have! While I enjoy getting out from time to time, I am thinking that for me, skipping the mall whenever possible is not a bad idea. I'm a much happier and more content person when I am not reminded of the latest fashions I don't have (AND DON'T NEED!), and the other beautiful, superfluous things that are just not needful.
(Now this is me. As a child, I was unhappy and frustrated while shopping at the mall until I got something for myself. I remember many, many miserable shopping trips, and it was almost entirely my fault. I realize this is a serious character issue, and since it wasn't corrected when I was a child, it is my job to get to work on it now. Others may not need to take such drastic measures.)
On the way home, we stopped by one of the nicest children's consignment shops in the area, and the store owner had just put a bunch of clothes on the $1 rack that were in the larger sizes I'm looking for, for future years. I was thrilled to pick up four NICE shirts for our littles. I find if I just don't get in a big hurry, and take my time at thrift stores and garage sales, our needs are abundantly supplied!
Luke 6:38 - Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (ESV)