Every April I have a special ritual. You probably have a similar one. I call it “getting ready for my income tax return.” The ritual includes sorting through my past year’s receipts, and pulling out any that I need for my return. In the process, I end up doing a mini-review of my past year of spending.
I keep all my receipts. Every one. Until April of the following year, when I get rid of anything I don’t need for my tax return. Some years I notice some humbling trends: a lot of chocolate bar and potato chip purchases, or a huge number of magazine and book purchases. This past year (2011), what I noticed was really encouraging. Less and less junk food, until by summer it had pretty much disappeared from my diet. (Not counting the dark chocolate bars I occasionally bought when I was at work and had a migraine. I only stopped that habit in early 2012.) Hardly any magazine purchases. There was much less guilt involved in my receipt-sorting this April.
A friend of my sister’s once put on her Facebook status: “Nobody needs anything.” It was a reminder to her that she was trying to stick to a budget, and didn’t need to spend money on inessentials. I’ve used this phrase a lot myself over the years. When something catches my eye in the grocery store check-out line. When a “sidewalk sale” display looks tempting. When I read about a new book that seems to be EXACTLY WHAT I NEED TO FIX MY LIFE ONCE AND FOR ALL RIGHT NOW.
It’s part of why I don’t want ads on this site. I’m getting contacted more and more frequently by PR people and virtual administrators and agents wanting to place ads beside, above, below, or within my words. But I don’t want to sell you anything. So I always say no.
Correction: I do want to sell you something. I want to sell you awareness, and mindfulness, and consciousness. Here’s my brand promise: Only you know how to best live your own life. Only you know what you really need. All I want to do is try and shine a light on your own knowledge.
So buy stuff if you want. Or don’t. But if you can, do it consciously. And enjoy what you have.
What do you really need?