My Brown Bag Plan

I am getting ready to cat and house sit for my sister and her honey for 3 weeks while they go on vacation. I will swing by their house every day and feed the cats, scoop their litter, and give them some loving.  I will also shovel snow, feed the birds, get the mail and make sure everything is fine.

My sister and her honey get a lot of mail. I bet they get more mail in 1 day then I get in a month. I receive bills electronically and pay them on-line. I hate junk mail and un-subscribe from everything as soon as I receive it. By the time they return from their vacation the kitchen table will be piled high with bills, magazines, flyers, newspapers, credit card offers, all types of junk mail and catalogues.

Personally, I find catalogues to be dangerous. They offer pages upon pages of shiny new gadgets, apparel, toys, appliances, gear and even kayaks. Flipping through the pages is like feeding an addiction. My mind starts racing, thinking about all of the choices in front of me. My heart starts beating fast and my desire to buy something (anything) becomes intense.

Several years ago I stopped engaging in retail therapy and therefore rarely walk through the front door of any store unless I know exactly what I am looking for. Now when I feel the need to get out of the house and the familiar pull to walk inside gets ahold of me, I hit the Salvation Army or Thrifty Shopper. I can still go a little crazy but it doesn’t hurt; financially speaking!

Check out this post, “Retail Therapy in My Little Blue Kayak” to see just how crazy I get these days. Just this week, I felt the need to get out of the house and had a box to donate to the Thrifty Shopper. I dropped off the box and the next thing I knew I was trying on a shirt. I got out of the store with 1 shirt that I paid $5.00 for!

When I start looking through catalogues I find myself turning down the pages of items I like. Next thing I know I am looking up similar items at Amazon trying to find a better price. BAM, I saved $10 buck on that item. But did I?

Nope – I just spent money on something I didn’t intent to buy. The fact that I got it for less money than I initially found it is irrelevant. It is exactly this type of frivolous shopping that can derail me and get my kayaking heading in the wrong direction.

If it is dangerous for me to look through catalogues, it is downright deadly to visit Not only does it tempt me to spend money that I don’t want to spend, it is an easy way to lose an hour or 2; immersed in the need to covet everything I see. My time and my money are important to me!

Catalogues=Danger Zone

So, for the next few weeks while checking in on my sister’s house, I have developed a foolproof  plan. My plan is to put a brown paper bag on her kitchen table and every catalogue that I bring in from the mailbox is going directly into that bag. I will not open them, I will not aimlessly flip pages, I will not covet anything, and I will not drool over the glossy pages. Most importantly, I will not open my wallet to locate my credit card to spend even a dime of my hard-earned cash.

Mindless spending has no place in My Little Blue Kayak. I work hard for my money and I have no plan on letting it slip through my fingers on shiny new gadgets. I have a retirement to fund and a meaningful life to live.  I am still saying no, no way, hell no, nope, not going to do it to frivolous spending so I can say yes, hell yes, sign me up to continuing to live life on my terms.

Cost of 1 used shirt at Thrifty Shopper $5.00

Cost of 1 crazy shopping spree at Good Will $14.00

Having time to spend with my family and friends, doing activities I love because I am no longer beholden to a 9-5 job – Priceless!

How about you? Are you living life on your terms or are you still following the herd?

Lake Girl




2 thoughts on “My Brown Bag Plan”

  1. The very concept of retail therapy is an oxymoron to me. It sounds to me like getting root canals for fun! I always am puzzled when I read a post like this because I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys shopping. It is a chore for me even if I am shopping for something I’ll enjoy using. But I’m not criticizing, I have plenty of my own issues like everyone and instead say congrats for the self knowledge to handle a potential problem with extreme cleverness!

    1. Typically I hate shopping as well and tend to avoid it at all cost. Periodically I get this pull though to step into a store, to buy something new (or used). It is a pull I am learning to ignore or at least tame! Thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply