Month: March 2012

Sacrificing Shopping

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I have two questions: How did I end up in a religion that loves to focus on suffering and who invented Lent? I already wandered in the Arizona desert for 25 years. Was that not enough?

I don’t know why, but I dread this time of year. Even though the end of Lent signifies a new beginning, it’s the getting there that just might kill me.

This year I decided to give up shopping. Inspired by the movie, “Confessions of a Shopaholic,” I had a slight twinge of guilt when leaving the movie. I tend to buy things for our house constantly and I enjoy it. Sometimes… actually, a lot of times, my purchases are probably not completely necessary – don’t tell my husband. So, to be a better example to my children and make my husband proud, it’s no shopping for 40 days! I’m even including Sundays. (Some people blow that day off because year-round, it’s always a day of resurrection and technically not part of the 40 days of Lent.)

This is not my first attempt at avoiding spending money. My first year in Atchison, I started out small. I chose to give up Walmart. It wasn’t because I didn’t like shopping at Walmart. It was quite the opposite, actually. It was because I spent so much time there that I included it in my Christmas letter. I decided it was time for an intervention, and what better time than Lent.

Not surprisingly, my husband is much better at not spending money. It tends to balance out our relationship and our finances. He can be quite frugal. Last year while at the College World Series, he wouldn’t even buy the current year’s T-shirt. He chose last year’s T-shirt because it was on clearance for $5.

After sharing with my family members at the dinner table what I was giving up, my soon-to-be teenager nearly had a heart attack. “Who’s going to take me shopping? You know dad won’t.” She’s right, but I tried to reassure her Grammy was visiting soon and the saying “shop ’til you drop” was invented in her honor. The look on my daughter’s face told me she might die before then.

My son, on the other hand, doubts my ability to pull this off successfully. Does he know something I don’t? He’s much too smart for his age. I vow to prove him wrong.

I must confess, only four days into the dreaded 40, I almost blew it. After reading Sunday’s ads, I made a long list of things we had to have for our house. Quickly I stuffed it into my purse with plans to shop at a later time. I thought of several reasons to tell my husband I was going to go for a drive. I knew I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off. Had he questioned my destination I would have burst out laughing and confessed my ill intentions. Guilt won me over and I stayed home and took a nap.

Well, I hope to make it out on the other side of these 40 days with much success and more discipline. Maybe the silver lining will be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because I won’t have spent it all. Oooh, then maybe we can go on vacation this summer!