The weird thing about life is the way we spend so much time looking forward to things. We wait and wait for a particular day, and then the day comes, and then, often, it’s just like, Oh.
Take today, for example. I sent my kids to school for the first time this year. All holidays long I was all, I can’t wait for these children to be out of my house. And now, as I type, those children are out of my house. Am I making the most of it? Nope. I’m just kind of drifting around, wondering what to do with myself. I even made a pot of soup, for god’s sake, and it’s the hottest month of the year. Why was I so excited about this?
Because I’m tired of getting excited for no reason, I’ve decided to take a step in another direction. Yes, from now on I’m going to actively work towards things that I’m not excited about. Okay, not things. Just thing. A thing. One. But it’s a big thing. In fact, it’s a Very Big Thing. It’s such an incredibly Big Thing that I think you might want to sit down for this…
I’m breaking up with Kmart.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past year, I’m basically the Kmart Queen. My YouTube channel is full of Kmart hauls. My drawers are full of Kmart clothes. And you know all those Kmart memes your friends tag you in on Facebook? Yeah, I get tagged in those almost daily. For months and months and months now, shopping at Kmart has been what I do. And I’m not saying I don’t want to do it anymore, but I am starting to think that maybe, just maybe, all those bargains haven’t been serving me quite the way I’d imagined.
Let’s talk about the clothes I mentioned, for a start. The assorted items I picked up and chucked in my trolley because they looked cute on the hanger; because the price tag had a yellow reduced to clear sticker on it. I packed those items myself, stuffed them into a plastic bag along with the 15 other things that I just had to have, and brought them home. Then, after showing them off to my camera, they went back into the plastic bag. Eventually I’d find time to stuff them into a drawer. And then, weeks later, I’d finally get around to trying the items on.
I don’t even want to admit how many pieces of my Kmart chic collection ended up being rejected after the first wear. They didn’t fit right or they didn’t look right or they didn’t feel right, and I’d say to myself, Oh well, it was so cheap, it doesn’t really matter. But when you’re buying a lot of cheap things they end up being expensive things. And when I add on all the Kmart clothes that shrunk in the wash (seriously, 50% of all my Kmart purchases have shrunk in the wash) I actually start to feel a bit sick at how much money I have wasted on clothes I do not wear.
Of course, it’s not just the clothes. It’s the homeware I didn’t need, the toys the kids don’t play with, the craft supplies I still haven’t taken out of the packet… It’s the fact that I’ve been fooling myself into thinking I can shop my way to happiness. I am just another consumer. Even with a boot load of shopping bags I’m not going to be satisfied.
This morning, soon after I got home and realised that an empty house is not quite as enjoyable as I’d anticipated, I logged into my online bank account and worked out how much money I spent unnecessarily in February of 2016. After I got over the shock (my god it was a lot of dollars), I looked at the total figure scribbled on my notepad and thought to myself, No. You will not do that again.
So here I am, on the eve of the first of February, vowing to not spend any money that doesn’t need to be spent for an entire month. I mean, I’ll still be purchasing chickens, because we decided months ago we were definitely going through with the backyard chooks thing, but aside from that? Nothing. No coffees out in town. No impulse buys for the kids. No takeaways on a Friday night. And, depending on how it goes, I might just keep going with the No Spending in March.
My husband and I are lucky. We don’t have debt (aside from a mortgage, and a student loan I racked up while I floundered around trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life), and we don’t have credit cards. We can afford the things we need (and we can afford a lot of things we don’t need too), but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can to save more money. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think about where our money is going. What it does mean is that we are in a position to build the life we want for our family. It’s just going to take a bit of work.
Tomorrow morning my family will wake up to find that Frugal February has begun. It means I won’t be able to take the kids out to the tramp park, but I can always take them to the playground. Or the beach. Or the library. And I reckon that’s enough. I mean, okay, I’m not particularly looking forward to the month ahead, but I am excited about what this change in lifestyle (even if it is only for a few weeks) may bring. Oh wait. No. I’m not going to get excited. Dammit! Why am I such an excitable person? It only leads to disappointment.
– Fern xxx
My Kmart hauls have always been popular, but they have got to stop! If only it was as much fun to talk about the things I haven’t bought…