In 2017, the flu got many people, my husband and me included. It hit hard with little warning. And we weren’t alone: a lot of friends got it, and some ended up in the hospital. The flu's problem is that the vaccine doesn’t always cover what is actually out there. BUY-ITE-US (the strong desire to purchase) is likewise indiscriminate on whom it strikes, for it can hit all ages. Fortunately, unlike the flu, however, a cure exists from this malady; and YOU are the only one who can completely remedy it with three simple cures.
What Exactly is BUY-ITE-US?
BUY-ITE-US could best be defined as “a strong desire to buy"—“anything.” This malady usually hits when you don’t have any money at the end of the month or even when you do at the beginning, and if you use Amazon Prime, it can strike late in the evening when you’ve had too much wine to drink. It is a dangerous disorder that can wreck your credit ratings, divide a happy marriage, and generally leave you wondering what hit.
BUY-ITE-US can wreak havoc if one can’t control it, and it is particularly challenging around Christmas time.
What Can BUY-ITE-US Do to You?
As stated, this malady inflicts destruction on your life. We want happiness, and somehow we think that shopping therapy will help. But it doesn’t because our desire to feel better doesn’t get better. We end up with more stuff and no place to put it. Only God can give us that feeling of peace and contentment if we but let Him. The other main problem with this impulse buying is that everything should have a place in our homes, and if there is no space or place, then you don’t need everything. So what is the best way to deal with our wants versus our needs?
How Can I Cure BUY-ITE-US?
Three cures exist for this condition.
The first major cure is TITHING. Now, if you haven’t tithed before, here is what it looks like. You take 10% of your incoming funds and give that percent to your church or a mission you feel important. That is God’s leading. As The Frugal Catholic said last month, “Give to God His 10% due and 90% blessed will He return to you.” Truthfully, by giving away that first 10%, something happens in your brain. You become more content with what you have, and the desire to acquire is diminished. Also, by tithing, everything seems to last longer. It is the same concept as when Elijah asked the widow for food in 1 Kings 17:7. What she had, although very little, lasted well over many days. Tithing is supernatural, but if you feel leery about tithing 10%, then begin with 5%, or wherever you can. When you give, it will be given back to you, pressed down, full measure, running over. This is the most exciting way a human can live. Note the following Biblical example:
The Widow of Zarephath-- 1 Kings 17:7
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you." So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first, make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah."
The second major cure is to take stock of what you have when BUY-ITE-US hits. For example, although I was really into used clothing, my closet now holds about one-fourth of what it did. Everything that didn’t feel just right was let go, and I slowly purchased one preferred brand because everything in that brand works well together, and I can find it on eBay and Amazon at a fraction of the original price. In taking stock too, look at your food and arrange cans or products so you can read them. Often we purchase more of something because we aren’t taking stock of what we have.
The third major cure sounds easy, but it’s not. Number three is to stay out of stores. Yes, that includes ALL stores--online and the kind you walk into. Just remember “SOS” or “Stay Out of Stores.” Now, if staying out of stores is too hard, you can always go to your Amazon wish list and go shopping that way. 99% of the time that “Wish List” shopping helps remove the ITCH of BUY-ITE-US. Just don’t push the “buy now” button. Not wise when no monies.
What Will My Life Look Like Without BUY-ITE-US?
When you mentally get control of your spending by tithing, taking stock of what you have, and staying out of stores (SOS), you will get better at living under your means through budgeting. In the 38 years of marriage, the more closely we have tithed, the easier and more satisfying budgeting became, and BUY-ITE-US disappeared; it just became like a mosquito bite in the past!
Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author
The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.