*This is the 17th day of the One Month Spending Freeze Challenge. Please click here to see all of the posts in this series.*
I remember when I got my first large sum of money when I was barely a teenager. I had worked a whole month for just over $300 babysitting two girls who lived near my house. It was summer, and I spent all day at their house taking care of them while their parents were at work.
© arthurhidden / Dollar Photo Club
When I got that money, the first thought that entered my head was:
“Now I can buy that cute sweater for school.”
My parents didn’t care what I did with my money as long as I was giving 10% to church. They didn’t even require me to save any (as far as I can remember).
I wish I hadn’t spent that money in frivolous ways. I know I was just a teenager and it was just $300, but I wish I would have held onto that money instead of going straight to the mall to drop it on the latest “NOW That’s What I Call Music” CD.
I don’t know where you are at in life. Maybe you have a terrible spending problem. Or perhaps you can control yourself and don’t need anyone to remind you that it’s just a purse.
But I know what it’s like to be in both shoes. I can tell you from experience that shopping, spending your money away any chance you get, does not make you happy. It is a temporary fix to a deeper issue that you have within you. True happiness cannot be found in a pair of shoes or a very large bar of chocolate.
The happiness that most people are searching for is found within. It is a choice to be content, and spending money can make you think you are indeed happy, but once the excitement over your new-fangled gadget that you just spent $45 on fades, you have to go back to the store again for that same feeling. The excitement from something new is often confused with true happiness.
The perfect time to learn how to be content is during a spending freeze. When you know you cannot go to the store and buy something to make you feel better right away, you have to search within and look around you.
It’s imperative that you take the time to be grateful for what you already have. Even if there is something that bothers you, try to think of why you are grateful for it. If you are unhappy with your home, remember that it does provide you shelter, and it’s a whole lot better than living on the streets.
Once you realize just how much you already have, you can begin to experience a feeling of contentment. It will take time, but you have to get in the habit of changing the way you think and feel about your life at this very moment.
This spending freeze challenge is more than half way over. Today, I’d like you to return to your journal from the 4th day and read how you answered one of the journal prompts. Take a little time today to answer another prompt if you would like. Reading and writing can help you start to feel more content, instead of complaining about the fact that you can’t head to the store to buy something new.
Have you struggled to find true happiness in your life?
Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections says
This post hits me so hard. I’m trying to do a 6 month no shopping challenge, so not exactly a spending freeze. I’m still able to spend money. Money is not the issue, it’s not like I’m wracking up tons of debt. I really just want to have less stuff and also not rely on shopping for happiness or something to do. It’s so hard though when it’s become a habit! But when you think about it, small trinkets or whatever from Target or something really only give happiness for seconds and then they turn into regret when they don’t produce anything else.
I think most people are just like you, Melissa. They don’t spend tons of money on huge things, it’s just that they see something for $5 or $10 here and there and buy it because they want it right then. I think as time goes on you will start to be stronger and you won’t even care about going shopping anymore. That’s where I have found myself. I don’t even think about buying anymore. It’s so weird.