I was having a tough time, emotionally, with my debt load yesterday. I was at a coffee shop I’m not the biggest fan of (I had a coupon for a dollar coffee to try their new blend) and I needed a space to study for a work course free from the distractions of home and my adorable little puppy (insert shameless brag here) so there I was. However studying was a struggle; I had a shopping relapse earlier in the day and the guilt was setting in.
I knew I shouldn’t have walked in to my favourite resale/thrift store when I saw the 50% off sign. I should’ve kept going. I walked in and I did the whole mind-blank thing; no logic or reasoning could push through as I bee-lined with my items to the cash register. A never worn before Columbia fleece jacket for $15. A J.Crew dress with its $200 price tag on it for $20. Old me would’ve been on Cloud 9 at those “deals,” but nearly $60k in debt me should’ve stayed the $%#$# away.
Now that I’ve decided 2017 will be my most frugal year ever, I’ve been working on finding lots of free things to do to fill my days (boredom is a huge spending trigger, after all). Earlier this week I went to go see a free showing of the 2006 documentary Manufactured Landscapes, followed by a Q&A with the producers. I’m not just happy I saw this film because it was a free way to spend an evening; I’m thrilled I saw it because it shook me to the core.
Have you ever looked at an item you wanted to buy in a shop, under bright store lights and posed tantalizingly on it’s display, and think, where did this object come from? I know it may say made in China, or India, or Italy, etc, but do you know exactly where? Have you thought about the person who held that item in their hands as they made it, or assembled it, or packaged it up, so it can eventually land in your hands? Speaking of packaging, where did that wrapping come from? Who are the people that helped produce that wrapping, then ship it out to wherever your new item was, wherever it was at that stage? Who put it all together? Hey, how did item arrive to my country, my city, my local mall? Did it come on a ship? Then trucks? Oh wow, how much fuel did that all take?! How journey did this shiny new object take to get here?