Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wants vs. Needs

We don't NEED much, if you really think about it. But we sure WANT a lot, don't we? In the past several months, for many different reasons on many different levels, wants and needs keep resurfacing. "I need a drink" as spoken by a child in Malawi has quite a different meaning from "I need a drink" as spoken by a stressed out big-city businessman just before beer:thirty on a Friday.

So let's talk "products." Those over-priced, trendy-packaged items we buy for ourselves to make our lives easier, our skin smoother, our hair shinier, our smell a bit more seductive, our toilets cleaner, and our leather more supple. I started on an unintended mission a couple of years ago when I was given a big bag of sample deodorants and a bag of sample razors (no, I don't have facial hair... yet). Then it became an obsession.

"I'll never use these all up." But I did. BAGS OF DEODORANT SAMPLES! And I wanted more. And then I started the quest. Every sample/complimentary hotel shampoo, lotion, conditioner, toothpaste, face cream, make-up, fabric softener, dishwasher soap became a prize. Things I would normally keep for a while, then finally pitch because I couldn't stand the clutter in the cabinets. But I used them. And I didn't buy ANYTHING if I had a sample of a similar product, or the slightest bit in the bottom of a bottle. Sure, I'd lust after sales at Bath and Body Works, Clinique Bonuses, and Younkers' coupons, but my strength prevailed. Actually I probably saved gazillions on gas too, since I didn't frequent the mall and Target like I had before. I even got a bottle of shampoo off Freecycle (pathetic, I know). It's now been at least 4 months since I've bought nearly anything that I would have considered a personal or household product (you need toilet paper, however). It's really been liberating. Empowering. Defining. I haven't kept track of how much money I've saved, but I'm guessing it's a pretty phenomenal amount. Better than the dollar, the payback is nearly spiritual.

I feel genuine gratitude for this experience. There was really no big sacrifice, it just required a little discipline and common sense, both of which I discovered I must have lost along the way somewhere. I'm no worse for the wear, for sure.

Anybody want a razor?

Now, I really NEED a cup of tea.

Tea tonight: Sweet Sakura green with cherry blossoms


Susie M said...

ok, you stubborn woman. But don't forget how bad the Dollar Tree makeup looked - burnt orange does not become you! BACK to MAC!!! And get back on the tennis court. We miss you. smm

Candace Jean July 16 said...

I'll be back in sunshine and warmth. If Venus and Serena can prevail on free public courts, I can, too! You up for singles yet? cjs

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