The Chair of my Book Arts Guild (hi Jennifer if you’re reading!) had a really interesting comment regarding this challenge. We were chatting, and she said, “You must be saving lots of money!” I answered that I wasn’t because I’m trying to buy better. The comment stuck with me, though, and I’ve been trying to pick it apart over the last week.
I still stand by my statement that I’m not saving any money and that I’m trying to buy better, but it’s not the whole picture. Even with spending more money on things that will last, some “mad” money (i.e spending money, not bills and savings and such) has been freed up in my budget. I’m spending it, though. Where is it going?
I’m spending it on education. My book arts guild hosts lots of workshops and I consider the tuition to be money very well spent. I’m so glad that because of this challenge, I now have the wiggle room in my budget to participate! Also, my classes at the University I work for are free as a benefit, but I have to buy supplies. Art supplies are expensive, but again, good paint, paper, etc. are so very worth it. I didn’t have to cheat myself with poor quality supplies or not buy necessary things like I had to do in the past because I simply didn’t have the money.
I am also a complete and total bookworm, and I consider the books I buy an educational expense. Although one of my pleasures is seeking out used hardback books, sometimes they can be expensive, especially art books. If I ever say that I want to ration book purchases, please kindly suggest otherwise. Books are as necessary to me as water and air! I’ve always bought books (as a peek in my library will ascertain) but shied away from the large astonishing art books because of the expense. Now, I’ve been able to add one or two every few months.
The funny thing is I never thought of myself as a huge spender for clothing or toiletries (I knew I had a tea problem ;)! I wasn’t, compared to the average Westerner. But a little bit of consciousness goes a long way. Those lipsticks I threw in my cart at the drugstore every few months, the shoes on sale, another dress, all that tea. What these unconscious habits were really doing was stealing money from the thing that feeds my soul — learning, which allows me to do the thing that most matters to me — creating.
I still have cute dresses, a great red lipstick, and gorgeous teas to enjoy. But now I also get to lavish generous helpings of workshops, books, and classes on my brain. Win, win, I’d say.