Keeping a Rosy Outlook, or, Buying Budget Blooms - Part 1

When economic times are tough and you feel like the shoestring might snap in two at any moment, buyer's remorse is common--EVEN BEFORE YOU BUY ANYTHING!!! It's what I call the "Latte Dilemma," that overwhelming sense of guilt that washes over you whenever you contemplate spending money on a small treat, like a fancy coffee or lunch out when you should have brown-bagged it. It's a mixture of resentment over the feeling of deprivation and blistering self-judgment if and when you give in. It can feel like your whole life is on a crash diet, and we all know that crash diets don't work. So we become yo-yo consumers, experiencing the inverse reaction to stringent weight control: the numbers going down represent our shameful "lack of willpower". It doesn't help matters that television and the internet is rife with financial gurus berating folks for buying coffee, new clothes, etc.

Shoestring Sally is a staunch believer in cutting down on those small luxuries that all too quickly add up to big losses...but I also feel that it is vital we lose the guilt, find a responsible and non-punishing balance between saving & spending, and each and every day do something that feeds the soul.

 I also advocate looking for this soul food outside the realm of expenditure: check out a gratis, juicy read from the library; meditate; volunteer; take a moment to look at the stuff you already own with new eyes--what can I make out of this that would be fun? How can I create? But, let yourself have that store-bought latte every once in awhile!!! Maybe shop around for a new coffee shop. Often, "going local" and patronizing a non-chain coffee shop is a cheaper option--and you are doing something that directly impacts the economic growth of your community. Plus, many places will give you a discount for bringing your own reusable cup. But, in the end, if you just have to have that spendy sip with all the bells and whistles, so be it.

Round about now, you are probably looking at the title of this post and thinking, "What the heck does this have to do with flowers???" Well, last night I was mired in my own Latte Dilemma. That morning I had gotten the notice at work that open enrollment time for my health benefits is here and my current plan is being eradicated and replaced with one that has high deductibles, more out-of-pocket expenses all around, and plain straight up sucks. Luckily they also offer a plan with no deductibles, a larger network and lower co-pays--but at a higher monthly rate & my take home pay is already low enough. I'll make up some of the cost with the co-pays but not all. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that I have insurance at all but it is still the same ol', same ol' whirlwind of feeling helpless, of crunching the numbers again and again in my head and wondering how the heck am I going to pull this off? What am I going to have to do without now?

So later that day, after work, I was picking up some groceries and feeling like Dorothy's hapless farm house spinning in the cyclone, when I came across the floral display. A voice inside me said, "Buy some flowers. You need their cheery color, now. It's healing." And I obeyed--I walked to the bright blooms but all the while an altogether different voice inside me hissed, "Don't buy them! You can't afford to have fresh flowers! Look at your budget! You don't deserve them!" Then I saw a gorgeous cluster of fat pink roses--for only $3.99. But what stopped me dead in my tracks is when I picked up the roses to read the price I saw this particular bouquet had a name: A Rosy Outlook.
And that's when I knew I needed to buy them, that it was okay. Because that's the food my hungry soul was crying out for, a rosy outlook. Sure, be discriminating when parting with your dollars but the next time you have that urge to spend on a lil something and feel conflicted about it, slow down and ask yourself, "Do I really need this right now? Will this feed my soul?" If the answer is yes, then indulge...bear in mind though I do mean the little things here! So make sure it is really your soul that is doing the talking (And note when I use the word "soul," interpret it as you wish: your spirit, heart, intuition, that part of you that is your inner spark, whatever.) because every so often your soul might need that latte, but I'm pretty sure it will never need a new car!

Now that we've let ourselves off the hook for spending a little cabbage on some flowers, stay tuned for

Keeping a Rosy Outlook, or, Buying Budget Blooms - Part 2

where I'll share some tips on saving when buying flowers, be it for the backyard or the vase.


Note: all images in this post are in the U.S. public domain & were provided by Wikimedia Commons.

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