Friends, I need help. I need to summon all my strength and willpower. All that is within me cries out– buy all the beautiful things!

In an hour we’re leaving for–wait for it– a date night. My husband and I are going out without the children. It’s been a long and stressful month and we need a night away to eat food the children hate and to go to stores they hate even more. You know, the things we used to do all the time before we had children.

This means that soon I will be in a Pottery Barn store with no short people to slow me down. No little eyeballs to squint at price tags and yell, “Mom, why are they charging $130 for a blanket? That’s almost three years of my allowance!” No little butts to plop down on sofas which cost more than my first two cars combined while sighing, “Can we go yet?”

Yes, everyone's salad should be cradled in a turkey. Here's the link:||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-
Yes, everyone’s salad should be cradled in a turkey. (Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn: “>||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_–_-

I’ll be able to thoughtfully tap my chin while I consider how beautiful my dining table would look for the holidays if I would purchase the assorted tablecloths, bowl holders shaped like turkeys, burlap table runners, pheasant feathers, and plates in autumn colors. This could take an hour or more by myself, but the children would last 13.4 seconds before they reminded me I don’t live in a Pottery Barn world anymore. They have become my willpower.

The frugal person within me who longs for a simple life knows I already have enough blankets. I don’t need any more candles or picture frames or couches. And for the love of all that is holy, what would I do with a turkey bowl holder for the other 364 days of the year?

The frugal person within me will remind myself of our friend Jeff’s Facebook post this morning, where he announced that he and his wife Lisa have finally paid off all their debt. They’re excited. They’re thrilled. They have only the mortgage and then they’ll be really, truly, financially free.

Financial freedom is not what happens when a person spends too much time browsing in stores designed to suck you in and show you every beautiful thing you never knew you needed.

I don't even know what this is, but I want it real bad.  (Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn:||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_--_-)
I don’t even know what this is, but I want it real bad.
(Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn:||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_–_-)

Financial freedom comes when you stay out of the stores and choose to be content with the blankets you already own, the regular bowls that work all year round, and the couches you can buy for $100 at the local resale shop. It comes one dollar at a time, as each dollar is committed to good choices, not momentary pleasure.

I know this, but usually my kids get me out of there before I have to exercise my own willpower. Tonight it’s just me and the beloved, and he just shakes his head at me and lets me do what I want.

Let’s hope I remember what I already know, because I could stay out of the store and save myself some grief, but it’s all just too pretty. I think I want to try out my willpower and see how long I last.

saving money is easy

10 Comments on Saving Money Is Easy: Just Don’t Go to Places Where They Sell Things

  1. David
    October 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm (3 years ago)

    Take sufficient cash to eat and leave all credit and debit cards at home?

    Seriously, we hope you have a great date night. We shared ours with the kids last night. Beth had come home for John’s birthday. A very nice Italian restaurant chain emailed us a £40 voucher so we used that to cover most of the cost. I filled in an online survey after we ate there a month ago and forgot that they randomly pick people for a voucher. What a nice surprise when that popped up in my inbox! The food tastes even better when it costs nothing! John likes it there because the one unusual thing he will eat is calamari! Unfortunately somewhere between an away rugby match and school where we picked him up he had filled his face with chips (as in fries – UK chip shop style).

    Tomorrow we are off to Birmingham for Beth’s commissioning service (her and 100 other volunteers). Birmingham has a very nice shopping centre and there is a shop there that sells Keen shoes. I desperately want a pair of Keen boots. But our prices are much higher than yours. I may be feeling your pain tomorrow if they have the boots in stock in my size.

  2. Chrystal
    October 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm (3 years ago)

    i can relate to all of this!

  3. Gabrielle
    October 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Ever notice you can’t get out of Costco or Sam’ s for less than $150? And don’t even kid yourself into thinking you can just browse Target and not buy anything that is not on your list. Sigh. I have a lot more free time because I don’t shop much outside of grocery stores. I am blessed beyond measure with material things – my hand-me-down Corel dishes and mismatched bath towels and my Craigs List couch. Sometimes I feel like I am the “make do with what we have” queen. Although I will admit, I get envious of people with new, color coordinated, matching housewares. But we love being debt free, so I will proudly wear my crown and make do with the ratty old carpet til we can save enough money for new carpet, which may be never – but that’s ok.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    October 19, 2014 at 7:41 pm (3 years ago)

    I hear you! Although I admit– at our last house, I pulled up the carpet with my bare hands and then painted the floors, because I just couldn’t live with that carpet anymore.

  5. Jessie Clemence
    October 19, 2014 at 7:44 pm (3 years ago)

    Good news– It looks like we can buy Keen shoes here in Kalamazoo. So fly on over and get American prices on shoes! (Please pretend the flight will not make your shoes cost $1,000 extra dollars.) ((If you stay in our house then the shoes are actually free.)) (((I think.)))

    October 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm (3 years ago)

    We had a date night last night. We went to the movies. I was sickened at the cost of popcorn and a soda but we are still debt free (besides the mortgage).
    You are right – stay away!

  7. David
    October 20, 2014 at 4:11 am (3 years ago)

    Thank you for the offer of free Keens Jessie! I bought my first pair in Key West after foolishly encasing my feet in trainers (Marilyn was wearing flip flops). I then got another pair a few years later in Atlanta. Now I am being tempted by emails showing me their new walking boots. Now the ones I have are very comfortable and have at least a little bit more life in them yet. But you know how this temptation thing works! As it happens time ran away with us and we walked past the store. John, however, did very well with a pair of jeans and some shoes. And we had a great day at Beth’s commissioning. Hope you had a

  8. David
    October 20, 2014 at 4:12 am (3 years ago)

    … continued – fantastic date night and that the Pottery Barn addiction is not troubling you too much. If you care to move to the UK we don’t have Pottery Barn. (Not yet anyway.)

  9. Jessie Clemence
    October 20, 2014 at 4:04 pm (3 years ago)

    How much does a movie with popcorn and a soda cost in New Jersey? I bet it’s a jaw-dropping amount.

    October 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm (3 years ago)

    We got discounted tickets for the movie. The popcorn and the soda were on my wife. I didn’t even want to look. I would guess everything added up $30. Not jaw dropping. Without the discounted tickets, it would have been closer to $40.