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Tell Yourself “No!”

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I feel like I get tempted fairly often to purchase things that are not really necessary, even though they may be useful. I know I’ve written about temptations to buy things based on little ads that I see or being in a store and being tempted to over-buy because of a sale. But I feel like I have certain hot buttons that cause me to spend money without good rationale.
One of these “gifts-to-self” that I will sometimes cave into is candles. I love candles! I love the glow they give off, I love the scents, of course, and when the color matches my decor and smells good, I’m practically over the moon! And I won’t fuss with the tiny tea light or votive candles. You know, the ones that don’t break the bank if you buy four or five of them. I go for the big ones! The ones in the jars are my favorite, but even if it’s not in a jar and meets all of my other criteria, I’ll usually get it anyway.

Another favorite pit-fall of mine is writing instruments. I have no idea why I’m so infatuated with pens, pencils, and markers, but I could spend a small fortune on them if I’m not careful. Back-to-school shopping is an especially dangerous time for me because these items are generally on sale so I can justify getting even more for the money!

One last category that can take me to another level is cleaning products. It’s weird, I know, but if I’m going to clean my own house, I may as well buy things that make it more enjoyable, right? I must confess that I had to go on a quest to find cleaning products that I could use because certain ones were irritating my skin. In doing so, I tried out many different varieties and was able to find a couple of product lines that don’t shoot a burning sensation from my nostrils clear through to the back of my head or irritate my skin. Thankfully, these product lines offered a variety of scents so I was able to pick a couple of different ones that I found pleasant to use.

While these items are relatively harmless to purchase in small quantities here and there, I sometimes get upset with myself for giving into the impulsiveness. My husband never faults me for buying these things; in fact he usually encourages me to buy a little something for myself. Not to mention, they are useful in their own way, especially the cleaning products. But, I will sometimes regret spending the money after the fact. This is referred to as “buyer’s remorse” and, while my husband won’t make me feel guilty for buying a few candles or some fun pens, I sometimes have to stop myself from feeling guilty.

Generally speaking, everyone probably wants something nice every once in a while. In fact, we encourage the participants in the Navigating Your Finances God’s Way Bible study to celebrate their victories along the Money Map with a small reward. For me, that might look like a new candle for the living room or a new box of crayons that are all nice and sharp (it’s the kid in me, but I will share with my children!). For others, it may be a trip to the fancy coffee shop because maybe that was a sacrifice they made in order to build their emergency savings. Maybe I feel guilty because I don’t always wait to meet one of our goals on the Money Map to buy fun (to me) items.

The bottom line is that there are times when we need to exercise restraint. We’re not children anymore so more than likely no one is going to say, “No, you can’t have that. Put it back.” I’ve had enough practice saying that to my kids, but I rarely say it to myself. I would never begrudge anyone a small splurge, we just need to know what our triggers are and be mindful not to go overboard when the urge strikes.

“Good stewards live with joy and gratitude for the blessings they have received, including those that have multiplied through diligence and hard work. Indeed good stewards live in communion with Christ and through Christ and the Spirit strive to give all gifts to the Father with an increase.”—USCCB, Stewardship, A Disciple’s Response.

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