Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Just because it's free...

The other day I spent over an hour* wandering around a store, looking for something to buy that cost $5 or less.  The store had sent me a $5 reward.
     It was free money.
          I wanted to spend it.
               It seemed wasteful not to.
                    Because it was free.

But I have come to a place where not only do I feel like I don't need more, I value less.

I thought about getting a new hand towel to replace our 20ish year-old, frayed and threadbare guest hand towels, and I would have, but they didn't have the color I wanted, and in any case, we have extra hand towels in a color that will work just fine in that space.  We can make do.
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I thought about getting a new kitchen towel, but the container (shelf) where I keep kitchen towels is full, so if I bought a new one, I would have to get rid of one, and I'm not ready to do that yet.  I am content with what I have.
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I would have purchased a medium cookie scoop, which is something I actually would like to have, and I already have a place in mind to store it, but I would still have had to pay $13 for it.  It's not really saving money if it's not something I would have purchased anyway, and the cookie scoop is not something I would buy for myself, under normal circumstances.  I am perfectly capable of scooping out cookies using a regular old spoon, just like I've been doing forever.  It's not a need.
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I considered buying a gift for someone I hold dear, but it was a frivolous gift, and while she would have valued the thought behind it, I'm not sure she would have wanted to find a place for it in her home.  I value less for my friends, too.

There were a dozen other possible purchases that I considered, then rejected, because we didn't need it or, if it was something I wanted instead of needing, I didn't want to spend more than the free $5.

This all spirals back around to something that's been seeping in lately.  Just because something is free does not mean I need to accept it.

You see, the thing is, that free thing isn't really free.  It takes up space in my home, and in my brain.  It becomes one more thing to keep track of and take care of.  I have enough to deal with.  I don't need "free" things plucking at my sanity, destroying my peace.  I have enough.

I ended up buying a 6-pack of white washcloths that cost $4.99.  I told the cashier to keep the extra penny--the cost of me using it was more than I was willing to pay.
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I will use the washcloths to complete one of my 2017 goals.  I had been planning to buy cheap dollar store washcloths, and now I don't have to.  I got something for free that I would have purchased anyway.

I'm not saying that it's wrong to have stuff or to get new stuff.  What I am saying is when I have less (stuff) in my life, I have room for more.  More time, more contentment, more ingenuity, more gratitude, more love, more generosity, more peace.

I like that kind of more.



* * * * * 
*To be fair, I did need to kill about an hour of time between dropping something off and picking something else up.  If I hadn't been under that constraint, I thing I would have given up much sooner.

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