Last night, The Executioner and I had a productive night of running errands. We are both non-shoppers, for the record. We hit 7 different stores over 3 hours - we both were tired and in need of rehydration by the time we got back home. And we'll be good without stepping foot in a store for many months now.
The line that I said again and again (in at least 4 of the stores) was, "Not what I'm here for..." - consumerism is so easy to get sucked into! At an outdoors/camping store I could have easily spent about 5 times the amount of money we did if I had given into all of the pretty/flashy/new/cool things I saw. Luckily, I was able to remind myself that all of those items were not what I was truly there for. I figured, if I remembered any of the items today and still felt that I really want them, I could always put them down on a wishlist. And in the light of the morning, I can remember one of them and it may go on my birthday/Christmas list... but I am not sure that it will. The reminder last night served for me: you need to be strong to battle consumerism. Put blinders on before going into a store so you don't get sidetracked by all of the shiny things.
There is one other thought I'd like to share from our adventure last night about the importance of mindset. On Friday, I received a decent raise at work. This raise puts my salary at a point that, when leaving college, I never thought I would reach (based on the fact that I was an elementary education major). The power of the mindset is that instead of looking at this raise and thinking 'sweet, we can buy X, we don't have to carefully plan out how much money we spend on Y, I can get knick-knack Z' The Executioner and I have been thinking 'sweet, we can save X% more each week, that means we'll be saving $XYZ.00 more per month, that means we're that much closer to FI.' So, to tie it back to last night... there were a few shiny things on the shelf that The Executioner and I thought could be a nice addition to our lives and were tempted to by. However, with the iron-clad mindset in place, I was able to talk to the fact that none of those things were items we needed right now. Additionally, they would be excellent items for our family members to give us as gifts, which would also make us really happy. Win-win situation - my mom is reeled in and not buying us crazy stuff we immediately wonder how we can get rid of, and we get something new and shiny and useful!
And finally, for the record - the best deal of the night (in my opinion) were my new hiking boots! I desperately needed them and got them 40% off because I had a coupon, a store credit from a return, and there was a promotion of 10 off of $100 or more. Now, if they can keep my feet happy during hiking, they will really be the best buy.
I think the commercials on TV about shopping being a sport and how much effort, work, and energy it takes are accurate - but I think their focus is wrong. Instead of trying to get the highest amount of non-essential items for the lowest price, we should be focusing on the energy, effort, work it takes to ONLY get the essential items and to do so at the lowest price.