The Enchanted Outlook



Seven Reasons I Only Buy One Product a Week (Little Life Charms Series)


It’s time for more Little Life Charms! After taking a bit of a hiatus, I recently went back to my method of purchasing only one item a week. This includes everything from soap to car parts to clothing and makeup, but not food or medication (I see those two as absolute needs and don’t find value in restricting them, personally.) It also does not include gifts. While I am glad that I took time to try other means of budgeting and loosening the reins a bit, re-starting this method really reminded me how much I love- and truly enjoy, only purchasing one item a week.

  1. It saves me money.  I had no idea how many small, thoughtless items I purchased on a regular basis before changing to this method. If you haven’t ever counted or made a list of your day-to-day purchases, I’d encourage you to do so at least once. It’s enlightening! I generally find that, barring some kind of last-minute unexpected emergency, purchasing one item a week still gives me all my needs and then some. In purchasing only one item a week, I can put additional income from items I would have purchased, but didn’t need, into savings. It also allows me to invest more in experiences, which research has shown leads to greater happiness.
  2. I enjoy what I purchase to the same extent. Happiness research shows that part of the reason we enjoy making purchases is because we get a burst of dopamine when we make a purchase. I don’t like buying a bunch of things at once because I have realized that I have the same “zing” in my brain whether I purchase one thing or one hundred. Better to space them out, I feel. I also feel more gratitude towards being able to purchase some of my needs, and have realized that some things I had considered “needs” are actually “wants.”
  3. It keeps my space tidier. Not only do I bring less items into my life, but I am more likely to use up things that I already have. I recently was running low on foundation. I decided to use up one I wasn’t too keen on, but that worked just fine, before purchasing the new one.
  4. It helps me to be more eco-friendly. Purchasing one item a week allows me to really prioritize what I need and not buy things in excess. If I only want a new tshirt but I need a new shampoo, I will only purchase the shampoo that week and save the tshirt for later. And you know what- I find that I really look forward to using the shampoo in a way that I maybe wouldn’t have before. It also helps me to think about how long the product I am purchasing will really last, and I find that I lean more towards reusable products and towards quality products that will last a long time.
  5. It is easier to make better, more ethical purchases. Because I purchase less, I tend to think through every purchase more. I will think about where the pants I purchased were made, or if it might be better to try to find them secondhand. Slowing down my purchases allows me to really think about quality and to use that mental energy I might have been focusing on multiple items I wanted to buy and hone it towards that one item.
  6. It saves me time. Despite spending a little more time considering each item up-front, I still don’t spend as much time shopping as I used to. I turn that part of my brain off after deciding what my purchase will be for the week and I focus on other things. And again, an emphasis on re-usable, more durable, or bulk products means that I have less decision fatigue.
  7. It allows me to be creative. I was recently going to purchase some re-usable cleaning cloths, but then I realized that I could make some instead out of some used fabric. I’ve also made my own cleaning products and found new uses for old pieces of furniture. In short, I find a lot more joy and gratitude in what I already have, rather than focusing on what I don’t have.

What about you? Do you have little spending “charms” or rules that help you to feel happier or to better meet your goals? Or, do you find those types of things restrictive? Are you a hard-liner when it comes to the rules, or do you allow yourself a little wiggle room?

Minimalism and Little Treasures


Over the past few years, I, like a lot of people, have been trying to escape excessive consumerism and have been going through a “stuff journey.” In this process, I have culled a lot of stuff I owned and extremely reduced my purchases as well. 

What does this have to do with enchantment, you ask? Well, I realized something strange about myself that I would never have learned if I hadn’t severely cut down on shopping. Shopping makes me happy. Just a little bit. I get that “zing” that I suppose is my brain receiving a dopamine boost. Maybe it’s the very primitive part of me feeling the rewards of “the hunt.” I think our brains need that feeling, don’t you? In some shape or form? The act of searching, comparing, and deciding on a product is something that moves me forward and gives me drive. To me, that psychological aspect of consuming and its affect on the awards center of the brain is something that minimalism as a movement often doesn’t fully acknowledge.

I am not sure that I have the perfect answer to this. I know that I don’t like spending lots of money. Nor do I like unnecessary clutter. Nor do I like focusing on consumerism as a lifestyle and the negative consequences it can have.

My current happy medium is what I have recently called “little treasures.” I try to buy a little something every week. I got the idea from a relative who used to give little gifts, such as lip gloss and the like, that she called “happys.”

For me, my weekly “little treasure” is a thoughtful something. Often, it’s a needed something. I try to make it a responsible something, too. For instance, one week I purchased my favorite aromatherapeutic, eco-friendly cleaning product. Another week, I purchased some locally-made soap. Another week, I purchased a fair trade bracelet. Another week, a little holiday garland. Another week, a favorite childhood film. Another week, a t-shirt from my favorite second-hand store. All of my purchases are things that are very inexpensive (between $5 and $15) but that I know I will get good use out of.  I allow myself to contemplate one week what I will purchase the next. It’s a little something fun to look forward to.

I’m only a couple of months into my “little treasures” project, so I will have to let you know how it goes when I have practiced it longer. So far, though, it seems to strike a good balance for me. It makes me grateful for the very simplest of things in my life. It also takes my focus away from those bigger, more expensive items, which I now take much more time to contemplate and research before purchasing to make sure they are truly wanted and needed. While I may pay a little extra for the aromatherapeutic cleaning product or a local soap, I end up spending less money in the long-run because every purchase is thoughtful and I use the products very carefully.

The link between minimalism and enchantment is something I will be exploring more in future posts. Please let me know if there is an aspect of this you would like me to address. Do you love minimalism? Hate it? Let me know. 

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