Yesterday I went to town by myself for the first time in about 3 weeks. I’d been to town a few other times in the last couple weeks, just passing through with the hubby on the way to somewhere, but I hadn’t been in by myself to pick up much of anything. Not that we really need to much besides the occasionally dairy product here and there(and only because I don’t have my milk cow yet!) we are prepared to go a long time without having to go to town. While I was reading through Little House on the Prairie I came upon the chapter where it talks about Pa going to town. At the very end of the chapter it says this:
“Laura and Mary went back to sleep, very comfortable all over. Everything was all right again when Pa was there. And now he had nails, and cornmeal, and fat pork, and salt, and everything. He would not have to go to town again for a long time.” ~ Little House on the Prairie p.224- 225
In those days, people couldn’t go to town whenever they wanted. It took Pa an entire day to go to town and get the few things he needed and to come home. A few months ago I was talking to my mom on the phone and she was telling me about how she went to town once a week. They did what they needed to in town and got the groceries on their list and they came home and didn’t go to town for another week or longer. When I talked to her about that I will still working in town part time and I had to go in at least 3 times a week, sometimes more. Every time I went in I had to go into a store(for my job) and of course then I would see things for a good deal and on clearance that I thought I needed to buy. The same was true when I worked my job before last, I was at a store all day long and at the end of the day I usually had a pile of things I couldn’t live without. I wish I had been keeping track of my expenses then because now looking back at it, it would have probably made my cry to see how much I wasted!
Now that I’m working exclusively through home, I’m lucky if I make it to town once a week. With gas prices the way they are I’ve been trying to stay home even more, only going in if I need some prices for a matchup or if there is a sale that the hubby can’t get to after work. Otherwise, the hubby can pick me up something if I really need it. Several months ago, the hubby remarked to me that he didn’t know what it was like to stay home for a whole day. Usually when he finally gets a day off we have to many things to get done and so many errands to run we are barely home for any of the day. So I was thankful for when a day came a couple weeks ago where we were snowed in enough that he couldn’t go to work. We had to stay home all day. I though the hubby was going to go crazy! He was like a caged bear stuck in the house all day and I could tell he was just itching to go to town. I think part of the whole “going to town” concept has to do with not just the fact that we convince ourselves that there is something that we can’t live without, or that we need today, but it has to do with habits. The hubby’s daily habit is to be in town because he has to work, he is used to that and so for some reason he feels the need to be in town every day. I try to understand this the best I can because I used to be that way too, but now since I stay home all day, almost every day, it’s easier for me to see how this is a bad habit to get into.
Ok now you might be thinking, well I’m not lucky enough to stay home, I have to work everyday, or maybe you live in town and therefore can’t “not go to town”. This is where a good dose of self control steps in. Maybe we do have to be in town every day. Maybe it’s unavoidable. That doesn’t mean we need to spend money in town every day! I read forums where someone will post a great deal and then people will post that they had to run and get it right then. I think this is dangerous territory. By doing that we are telling ourselves that we need that item right here right now.
Think about things you need. Not things that you think you need, things that you really need. Shelter, food basics, heat, and clothing. Most of us already have those things on hand all of the time. Yes we may get low on food from time to time but it’s so easy to plan a shopping trip twice a month or even once a week to get what we need and be home again.(This is where to grocery list come in!)
I feel like I rambled on a little in this post so I’m going to stop before you start falling asleep at the computer. The main point from the paragraph in the book that I wanted to get across is just this…think about what you really need, train yourself to stay away from the temptation of the stores and shopping and going to town as well as you can. If you think you are going to miss out on something by not going to town, learn how to do other things to keep your mind from it, take up a hobby or a craft, have family game nights, plant a garden. There is so much that you can do at home!
Make sure you check out the entire Living Like Little House series!