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Friday, April 10, 2015

Not a Material Girl ~ A French Girl Friday Post

It can be hard to pass up ......

In the latest chapter of Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott, the topic is materialism. It is a chapter that really hits home. I have been known, as I am sure many of us have done, to buy to make myself feel better, make purchases not because we really need something, but because we desire something.... promised ourselves that we are just window shopping or going to pick up one or two items and end up with a bag or more full of things we really did not intend to buy. It might be clothing or even that box of cookies that you really do not need, but just have to have, therefore convincing ourselves we can not live without it so to say.

Un-intended purchases  can add up
when wants over ride needs

Jennifer recounts her time with her host family in Paris and before her initial arrival is told they are a family that is "well- respected aristocratic family", and in hearing this let her mind take flights of fancy as to what that would mean for her and how she would live while residing with them; she was surprised to see that tho their home was filled with antiques and comfortable furnishings it was not the "nouveau riche " that she had imagined. She soon learned that not just the Famille Chic's , but most of the French population was not caught up in what she terms the " new materialism" . They lived comfortably, within means and did not constantly purchase or posses what they did not truly need. Through life cirumstances, many of which I have shared here from time to time, I have more and more lived my life that way. First because it was forced upon us, then later it just became a way of life, and one that I do not mind. It is not to say that I do not still own several pairs of black shoes that look similar, or buy yet another button up top or a special desert at the grocery store, even though it is not on out list... I am human after all.

Do we really need just one more....

My family went through loosing everything, including our home. We sold most of our belongings at one point to downsize from our house to an apartment. We lived on a very tight budget, and it had not been the first time in our life of doing so. It was a big part of starting this blog in the beginning, to share what life was like on a tiny budget and how to still find joy and beauty each day. It has of course evolved many times since then, and has become what it is now, but that is rabbit trails. The point is, I learned how to make my living space quite comfortable, even stylish on a minimal budget, and within the four walls I keep very little clutter laying about. If I bring something new in or decide on a redecorating project, it is always on a budget and things are not just added to what is already here, instead we donate to a worthy charity and once the project is done I do not keep adding to it just for the sake of doing so. 

Years ago, when our children were small, we began to make a menu and a grocery list as a way to stick to a budget, and to this very day, we still do so. We found by following our list and not just throwing things into the cart simply because we craved them saved us quite a bit of money. We will splurge for special occasions, say the holidays, but for the most part we stick to the list and to the budget. I always feel so much more satisfied when the shopping day is done and I know that we will be eating well, but not be exceeding our set budget...some weeks we even are under it. We tend to follow the same formula for everyday purchases, and again in doing so, we get what we need and not what we truly do not. The money we save doing this does allow us to indulge in nice wine , my husbands hobby of choice , and makes it so I can treat myself to my indulgent desire to regular mani pedis.... it is all about a healthy balance I think. 

A new this or that is always fun to acquire,
but if it is not truly needed....

I am not afraid to admit, that as diligent as I can be with household and food acquirement, I have what the author of the book calls a "shopping demon".  I did go a number of years without purchasing anything past basic underwear when it was needed, it got to the point that my children were even worried about me because they know how much I love fashion and I simply was not buying anything. I would not go shopping, I had what I needed and there was no real money to buy what I didn't, even once there was , it took some time for me to get back to the stores. Eventually weight loss then weight gain and recently again weight loss, lured me to the racks. I am ashamed to admit that I have more button front tops, and various colors of the same pants or skirts and well of course shoes in my closet than I truly really need or wear. I am getting better... baby steps. I am a girly girl and one swirly skirt or pretty ballet slipper does not seem enough. I like choices... even if they are all similar, they are different. Many months ago however I went through a style course, and in doing so, I learned what colors are right for me, what are the proper shapes for my body, and with this knowledge and deciding to go back to my love of retro looks ( this time channeling the 1950's thru early 1960's) , has made it so that when I do go shopping it has to fit my style, my colors and my proper shapes. I am proud to say, I have been successful at walking out of several stores when nothing is quite right, instead of making a purchase that I would probably end up returning or donating. However, just like my rules for what comes into the house decor wise, the " if it comes in...." the local thrift shops that I like to shop at are also those that I donate to, I do not let it just pile up and crowd the closet, and when something has seen better days it is replaced, not just given a neighbor.  Like I said I am not perfect, but I have begun once again to shop less and less, so there is hope. 

Sales are getting easier to pass up.
Jennifer L. Scott states " ...the less shopping you do, the less you want to do it. When you spend your free time doing other things.... shopping may seem like a waste of time..." , I am not truly sure I will ever get to that point, but I do find myself throwing catalogs away, huge sales and special coupons are not calling me name and begging me to spend money that I really do not need to spend, and I am spending less and less time going to the local clothing stores and online shopping. So just as she suggests I guess I am truly taking a cue from her Famille Chic already, channeling my inner French girl, taking pleasure in what I already have, and in doing so, I hope,  as the author states I will 
" flourish and prosper...." I know that like she states that my bank account will thank me, and we will see if it will help " cultivate and maintain the vital and life-sustaining feeling of fulfillment." Worth striving for! 

Final Thought...
Fun and enjoyment does not always have to have a
high price tag or end up taking up unnecessary space
in your daily life, but create a lasting memory that
does not just collect dust. 

** all images collected via google search for 1950's Woman .... with various tags following those words. 


  1. love your blog Ruby, I have the same demon hanging around me as well. shopping is hard not to do when you are trying to cultivate style!

    1. Thank you...It is nice to be understood. I so appreciate you leaving a comment..means so much to me.


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