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Guest post from Abby of Mother on a Mission
When my husband and I got married nearly five years ago, we were gifted nearly everything we needed for our new home together.
One item we didn’t get, however, was a laundry hamper. It wasn’t a necessity because my husband still had his red mesh fold-up hamper left over from college, but it was something I really wanted.
Soon after our wedding, I made a trip to Target (armed with gift cards and a 20% off coupon) to purchase some remaining items from our registry. I began to fill my cart with things we needed: dish towels, shower curtain hooks, a broom, and dust pan.
When I reached the aisle of pretty woven laundry hampers, I was shocked. The cheapest basket on the shelf was $35; some cost upwards of $60. Until then, I’d just assumed I would purchase one. But then I had an ‘a-ha moment’ right there in Target.
Here are 3 things I learned:
I don’t need to impress anyone else.
I didn’t need a new laundry hamper. The one we already had was in adequate condition. I wanted one because they are pretty, and because it seemed to be necessary if I wanted to rid our bedroom of that dorm room feeling.
In reality, no one besides my husband and I would see the hamper, and my husband could care less what sort of device we used to store our dirty clothes.
I don’t always need what I want.
I really wanted a hamper. Maybe, for me, it was a big step in transitioning between childhood and adulthood.
Instead, I took another big step that day: thinking practically. I was a full-time student and full-time preschool teacher, and my husband was making a measly salary as a teacher at a private Christian school.
As much as I wanted to get rid of that old mesh hamper, it just wasn’t practical. Gone were the carefree college days when my spending decisions affected only myself. I had to think as a wife, and that meant putting aside my frivolous want in favor of our needs as a couple.
My frugality paid off with unexpected rewards.
Now, six years into our marriage, we still have that red mesh hamper — and I still plan to replace it one day!
For now, though, it’s still doing its job. My three-year-old son loves to help with the laundry, including returning that red hamper to our room after I’ve emptied it into the washing machine. It’s a simple thing, but I love watching him run down the hall, dragging it behind him — something he couldn’t do with a fancy hamper.
It’s funny to think how vital that new hamper seemed six years ago. Standing in the aisle at Target, I was pained by the decision to go without. But, since then, my life has been pretty unaffected by the absence of a pretty basket.
Now, when I’m debating purchases, I often ask myself if the item I’m about to buy will significantly improve my life, or the life of an immediate family member. If the answer is no, I usually don’t make the purchase.
I’ve learned that I only “need” as much as I think I do.
Abby is a wife, a mother of two, a high school teacher, and a wannabe game show contestant. She blogs at Mother on a Mission about getting crazy in the kitchen, her parenting (mis)adventures, and her baby steps toward creating a frugal, happy household. Abby’s mission is to be the mom — and make this world the kind of place — her children deserve.