The Consort has been hounding me for months (or possibly years) to read a book. Not just any book, because I do read a lot of them, but one particular book. This one.
And this weekend I caved. I had just finished a different book and was looking to start another and he, ever so nonchalantly, went to my bedside table, grabbed this book and placed it beside me on the couch.
OK, dude. I get it. I'll read the damn thing.
We all have those books that transform us or speak to us in ways others do not. When my husband was leaving his family home and taking off to the adult world of undergraduate studies at the ripe age of 17, the original "Wealthy Barber" book was given to him by his father. This is HIS book.
I am pretty sure when TC is doing anything financially-related in any way, the voice he hears in his head is David Chilton's. "Is this worth it? Are the joy units going to last long with this purchase? Have you saved FIRST?"
I fully admit that I am the spender in our family and The Consort is the saver. I do the clothes shopping for most of us, all of the grocery shopping and I am the one who buys the gifts for all the birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Yes, we do have a family budget, that I stick to - about 87% of the time. It's that other 13% that gets TC's knickers in a knot and why he wants me to read what Mr. Chilton has to say about finances.
The funny thing is, that in the past year, I truly believe that my spending habits have changed. Or more specifically, my shopping habits have changed.
I know that part of the change has been a response to the life-altering time we experienced this past summer and from that has come much reflection on the things that truly matter in our lives. And you know what? More stuff is not IT. Another part of why my shopping habits have changed, is that I am much more aware of the influence that marketing has on us as consumers. Years of being a breastfeeding advocate and seeing the ways that infant formula is marketed has rubbed off and has me looking a lot more closely at the way ALL products are marketed. Being a blogger and a mother, I've also seen the way that marketing has taken hold in this age of new media and I am VERY sensitive to this in the blogging world. I am more aware now about the message I am hearing and who that message is coming from as well.
This past weekend, we were supposed to go away for a short little mountain getaway. That didn't happen, mainly because it snowed and I have crap for tires on my car and we couldn't even get out of our little neighbourhood, let alone make it 300 kilometres to the lodge in the mountains. For the next four days we had to use my husband's compact car (which thankfully has AWD and all-season tires) for all our outings. What we both noticed over the weekend is how surprisingly easy it was to function with less car. And this included multiple errands, grocery shopping, and hauling all four of us around to various activities to make up for our missed trip to the mountains.
I have also recently purged every single closet in this house. My wardrobe alone is roughly HALF of what it was a month ago (if you know me at all, this is HUGE!). I am not quite down to Capsule Wardrobe numbers, but the philosophy behind this concept is guiding me right now in regards to what I keep, what goes and how I look at clothes shopping now. It's definitely a change. Especially for one like me, an admitted shopaholic, who gets greeted at Anthropologie BY NAME!
All of these things - reading David Chilton, surviving a week as a family of four with one compact vehicle, minimalizing our wardrobes - have happened at the same time and have caused a kind of cosmic convergence in my mind about how I want to live my life and about the lessons about money and spending and the value of what we HAVE versus the value of what we DO, that we are modelling for our children.
My family lives a very comfortable life, one that I am so very grateful for each and every day. It's just time for me take stock of all that we have, not get caught up in the game of keeping up with the proverbial Jones's and resist the messaging that we are bombarded with each day that we need MORE! More car, more house, more toys, more clothes, more STUFF.
Because we really do not.
My kid is not going to remember the expensive brand name winter boots he was wearing when he was eight years old or what kind of car I drove him to school in. He is more likely going to remember that his Mom bought new snow pants for herself that year, so that she could play outside and build a snow fort with him.
And trust me Mr. Chilton, the "joy units" from that purchase will never depreciate!