Friday, October 02, 2015

Buy Some Happiness / Happiness Project

For those of you who do not know, I have decided to read the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and follow along on her journey to find Happiness right where I am in life. I will be posting every month in response to the chapters topic that are set up in her book. You can follow along on my journey here.
July (October): Buy Some Happiness
"Money satisfies basic material needs. It's a means and an end. It's a way to keep score, win security, exercise generosity, and earn recognition. It can foster mastery or dilettantism. It symbolizes status and success. It buys time -- which can be spent on aimless drifting or purposeful action. It creates power in relationships and in the world. It often stands for the things we are lacking: if only we had the money, we'd be adventurous or thin or cultured or respected or generous." 

The subject of money has always been a weird one to me. I believe that life is short, so when someone needs something, or something is craved, or I want to bless someone - I don't expect money or lack of money to hold me back. I also really love having money in the bank at all times. I like saving it, for emergency sake. So I am a spender and a saver, yet from this chapter of the Happiness Project, I also found out that I am an underbuyer. Usually only when it comes to myself or groceries does the underbuyer ring true though. If my husband or daughter needs/wants it - absolutely they can have it, if I need/want it - I weigh all options, try to justify, and about 90% of the time walk away from whatever it was that I needed/wanted. I feel guilty, or I ultimately feel like I just don't need it. Also I compare prices, do I really want to buy a mascara that is the same price as a jug of milk? This happens during grocery shopping as well - do I really need the pork roast, or will hamburger for the fourth time in the row work for my needs... do I really need to buy that specific sauce that the recipe calls for, or can I attempt to make it at home for cheaper? Usually I never make the recipe and we have noodles for the umpteenth time. 

Clearly, I need to work out some of my "issues" with money. Whether that means I need to know where we are financially (thats husband's job) so I can have a better picture of what we can and cannot afford or if I just need to put on my big girl pants (and get over myself) and buy something fun (and useful, and practical, and can serve many purposes so that its really worth whatever amount of money I spend on it !!!) In any case, I am glad that the awkward subject of money is on this months horizon. Does anyone else feel this way? 

Indulge in a Modest Splurge
"What makes me happy is to spend money on things that I value - and it takes self-knowledge and discipline to discover what I really want, instead of parroting the desires of other people."

I think my biggest fear of spending money is the idea of being impulsive. The fear that I will buy clothes I don't want, makeup I won't use, books I will never read, and I will never really truly be happy with what I do end up purchasing for myself. In this chapter of the book, Gretchen breaks down areas in her life that she feels better spending money in: for family & friends, for health reasons etc. I feel that by doing this myself, I could feel less guilty at the idea of spending money because it fits into the certain topics that I know make me happy. Or the idea of writing down every item that I do think I want to buy, that way I can reread, think, reflect, then decide what item I truly value as well as what would make me happy. Maybe mascara won't make me feel happier, but maybe flowers would. When I first saw the word "indulge" I thought of a lot of things that would make me momentarily happy, but reading further and discovering Gretchen's "spend money on things that I value," allowed me to really think hard about what it is that really makes me happy. 

Treat myself to something of value. 
- buy some flowers (I can enjoy and dry/press them for art)
- new linens
- new towels

Buy Needful Things
"As an underbuyer, I delay making purchases or buy as little as possible... I often feel stressed because I don't have the things I need."

Hi, my name is Emily, I am an underbuyer! Absolutely! And without meaning to. But I do, it always occurs whilst grocery shopping and I say to myself, "nah, we don't need this ...." and sure enough it is the main ingredient to the recipe I planned for! It is such a stressful position to be in, I can never make what I want to make, I never have what I need to have. But I do it, every time! I even know an overbuyer and I marvel at how she can just get everything that she wants. Does her overbuying ever encourage me to change my ways? No, I just eat at her house more. haha! ahem. I guess one of the things I am realizing more here, is that maybe its okay to be a little more stubborn to my grocery list than I have been. I know that having all of the supplies that I need for meals would make me happier and less stressed. I know that we would be happier if we ate out less because I had planned out meals at home - that recipes would not be missing important ingredients. I know that we would eat healthier. This is an eye opener for me. 

"I knew that I'd be happier if I made a mindful effort to thwart my underbuying impulse and instead worked to buy what I needed." 

- meal plan including lunches and breakfast
- make proper grocery list
- buy every item on that list

Spend Out
"It's certainly true in my household that spending out creates a wealth of love and tenderness, while calculation and scorekeeping build resentment."

1. To go hand in hand with my underbuying, I find that I am also am a hoarder. Reason: you never know when you are going to need such & such, or when you are going to run out, or when the perfect opportunity to actually use it will occur. I have candles I have never burned, lotions I have never opened, colouring books I have never used - all because I am saving it for later. "Why? Why delay?" I need to learn how to relax and enjoy what I have in my procession, to use up the stationary and send someone a really pretty letter. To burn those beautiful, lovely smelling candles. There is no reason to wait. "...late may never come." "...'cause who knows about tomorrow." "Sometimes 'later' becomes 'never.' 

2. I am really bad at being a scorekeeper when it comes to parenting. Diapers, diapers, and more diapers, and all I want to say, when my husband comes home, is it's your turn. For the rest of the night. Of course, I never do this politely. I keep score. I tell him about everything that I have done for the day, all proud because I battled through two poop-filled diapers and a tantrum. I need to stop. Not only is it not fair to do this to my husband every single day, but I am not even stopping to think about his needs. What was his day like? Is battling through two messy diapers the same as battling through 5 classes with 5 labs? "It is by spending oneself that one becomes richer." "When one loves one does not calculate." 

- stop nagging
- stop keeping score
- ask about my husband's day

Give Something Up
"Happiness experts point out that merely making and sticking to a decision is a source of happiness, because it gives you a feeling of control, of efficiency, of responsibility."

I spent an hour wondering what on earth I should even consider giving up. I kept coming to the same answer, but pfff I wasn't going to do that. Of course, typing this up, the answer is even CLEARER to me and goes hand in hand with everything that I have learned this chapter. Fast food. I need to give up fast food. It cannot be a backup because I didn't buy that specific ingredient for the recipe, it cannot be an easy way out. Really, I know that I am spending far more on fast food than I would if I just bought that ingredient in the first place. I just don't make sense. 

- stay away from fast food! 

"Happiness and misery consists in a progression towards better or worse; it does not matter how high up or low down you are, it depends not on this, but on the direction in which you are tending." 
I would love to hear from you, comments and discussions are always welcome. Have you read this book before? Or anything by Gretchen Rubin? What are some of the things that you found challenging or easy? What was your favourite thing to learn or practise? Without even reading the book, have you discovered these challenges in your own life? 

It is never too late to start a happiness project. If you would like to join in and learn with me, I would love to hear about your journey. xoxo 


  1. Haha oh wow! I'm totally an underbuyer and I exactly agree my overbuyer friend amazes and perplexes me! And I always was eating their wealth of food haha. We must be related. I like your blog :)

    1. Thank you, Berge! It's an eyeopener, hey? I am trying to get over myself and just buy ALL of the groceries that I need! I miss you.