This is what a great purchase feels like!
Since paying off our consumer debt, my relationship with money has greatly changed. I am much more likely to avoid impulse purchases or buying items for the wrong reason. And when I do make a purchase for myself, I can usually feel very proud of two things: 1. I’m making a deliberate choice to buy something that will add value to my life (usually for a long time to come), and 2. I’m almost always able to pay cash for it.
After several years of use, my hiking boot soles (both of them!) imploded on a summer hike some time back. I switched to my trusty, decade-old trail runners for my frequent jaunts into the woods and mountains and began researching options to resole my boots. My attempts to get the boots resoled weren’t fruitful unfortunately. And then I carelessly (and uncharacteristically) misplaced my trail-running shoes while traveling.
While I’ve wandered plenty of trails in tennis shoes and sandals, I appreciated having water resistant boots and I had dreams of getting back into backpacking — a hobby that ideally included a bit more support than the average sneaker provides.
I’ve felt guilty and reluctant about a lot of purchases, but hiking is part of who I am. It adds adventure, perspective, and fitness to my life. It feels like good self care, and I am undoubtedly a happier and more relaxed person when I’ve had time outdoors.
A new pair of hiking boots was not in the budget and couldn’t be covered by my meager clothing allowance without leaving me in a serious jam for the rest of the year. Despite this, this was a rare opportunity to say YES to something that was not in our budget.
This YES wasn’t related to a short lived boost that comes from general, more mindless shopping. I researched the frugal option of resoling my old boots, and I was confident I would use a pair of new boots regularly for as many years as I could. I took a long time finding the right boots, and I chose a brand that had a reputation for lasting.
I did not buy these boots to impress anyone. I did not buy them to look a certain way on the hiking trail. I did not buy them because I was nervous about hiking and trying to disguise that fear with having stuff. I bought them because they supported me in building good health and doing something I love. Because of this, buying them felt fantastic!
It’s been exciting to break these boots in. I’m looking forward to making them ugly and worn and mine. I'll be happy when they have a bit of wabi sabi of their own.
Paying off credit cards and car loans has helped me build a little more discipline about my spending and given me the freedom to say yes to an occasional well-considered purchase. While I hope to develop even more discipline and financial acumen and I have more financial goals to reach, I am grateful for the chance to pursue my hobbies at the same time.