Hi, I'm Angi
Welcome to my corner of the internet! My passions include travel, photography, books, music, Japanese language and culture, Italian language and culture, and art.

Here at Abbott Lane you'll find my thoughts on these topics and much more. Thanks for stopping by to visit!

The Minimalism Diaries: Reflections on Last Week's Spending

Last week, I wrote a bit about how I'm embarking on a consumerism and minimalism project. However, I believe that without serious reflection on my spending habits - the why, how and when I spend - my desire to change will ultimately fail, and I'll end up back in the same position I am right now, with more stuff. I also think its important to make these observations with the least amount of judgment possible. The goal is not to beat myself up, but to observe, then work on shifting anything that doesn't serve me.

Overall, last week was a spendy one for a few reasons. I had two gifts to purchase, and I also made two unnecessary purchases, only one of which I felt badly about and that I'm going to talk about here. I took a relative out for lunch to celebrate a milestone. This unplanned outing was related to some very exciting life changes, and I was thrilled to be able to celebrate with them, so I took them to a wine bar/restaurant for lunch. We had a great time and even lucked out a bit because, due to an issue at the restaurant, we weren't charged for any of our drinks.

On the way out, we decided to look in their wine shop. Now, I really enjoy wine and am even considering getting certification, but even so, I have a number of bottles here at home that are yet to be opened. Despite that, I purchased a bottle of Vinho Verde, an affordable choice at $17, but I did notice a few things about how I felt when I spontaneously purchased that bottle.

I felt like I didn't belong. The world of wine is...weird? Snobbish (sometimes). And in thinking about how the transaction went down, I can see how my own feelings of inadequacy played into the situation. Though the staff at the wine bar weren't pushy at all, I felt like I had to "prove" I had spending power and my right to be in that space. When I think about this now, it seems silly. But the idea that I felt like I needed to prove myself - not to friends or family, but to the restaurant (!!!) that I could afford it - is fascinating. But the "I belong here" is a trap that I think I fall into quite often. Afterwards I felt like I'd fallen for a prank of my own making! 

The other thing of note is my choice to go to the wine bar in the first place. I'm a big believer in celebrating even the small things in life, and I come from a family that often celebrates through food. Not only food, but a certain "class" of food. Our birthdays and other celebrations are often at higher end restaurants, and we often give nice gifts. It's a thing that's so ingrained in me that I've never questioned it, but now I'm realizing that I've internalized the idea that in order to "properly" celebrate, I have to take family to a restaurant of a certain caliber. In reality, I could have taken them out for ice cream, or bought them a small gift instead and they would've been just as happy. 

The final thing I noticed this past week is just how much time I think about shopping, and indulge in the process of deciding what to purchase. I spent a lot of time this past week looking for sustainable household items to replace some things I'm low on. And while shopping for sustainable products is far from a bad thing and did require a small amount of research to make sure they were going to work for me, the amount of time I dedicated to my research was too much. It's pretty astounding how much time just thinking about buying or shopping can take me!

So what I've learned about myself and my spending habits this past week was really interesting!

1. I sometimes spend to "prove" I belong. I'd like to work on reflecting in the moment on whether or not I'm in a mindset of vulnerability and feeling inadequate. If so, I should be very careful about my spending.

2. How I celebrate has been modeled for me. I'd like to take some time to think of other, more affordable ways to celebrate, particularly with family.

3. Thinking about shopping consumes a lot of my time. I want to work on limiting the time I spend doing this, unless it's a purchase that requires a lot of research (i.e. larger purchases).

It felt really great to take some time to think about these things. These realizations hit hard, and I'm still processing what I've learned, but I think it was a great exercise!