The current situation needs no introduction, but suffice to say it’s certainly revolutionized the way we live our lives and will have a long-lasting impact on society as a whole. But something more superficial that’s been on my mind recently is why and how I’m spending my money.
Over the past few weeks my purchases have become a lot more meaningful. My hard earned cash has been spent on things that make me feel good and bring a small amount of joy into this rather bleak and never-ending period of uncertainty. This time last year I would’ve felt joy from being able to meet up with friends, from spending a lazy afternoon grazing on food and sipping on cold drinks in a pub garden, and from prepping for a holiday somewhere tropically warm; I would’ve spent a small fortune on eating out, on traveling to new places and having the shoes to match. But now the furthest I’m able to go is the park and back, my expenditure has somewhat been re-evaluated.
Fresh flowers and a new bottle of Zoflora seem like the ultimate weekly indulgence. My Amazon wishlist is full of household storage solutions and DIY gadgets. My PayPal has been rinsed through buying brownies, ground artisan coffee and plants for the garden.
Making my home as comforting, clean, organised and beautiful as possible has undoubtedly become the priority – for if we’re going to be spending a lot more time here over the coming months it may as well be enjoyable. I’ve bought a Lazy Susan for under the sink, giant ice cube trays to make fruity additions to my gin and stylised dried flowers for my living room; I’ve signed up to a baking subscription and a plant delivery service, and have swapped buying clutch bags for jewellery storage solutions (even though I’ve barely worn any in two months.)
It’s safe to say I’m less concerned with buying into the latest trend and more interested in smaller and more meaningful purchases that bring me both immediate and long-term joy.
There’s a fine line between not wanting to put pressure on logistical and delivery staff, and supporting the economy so we can all bounce back when this is all over. I’ve wanted to especially support small businesses and have been making purchases from as many as I can, knowing even £20.00 could make all the difference to someone struggling through the uncertainty this pandemic has left us in. I’ve loved discovering great brands that try to do things differently, or have just come up with a great idea – and (I may be biased but) I believe that us Brits do that better than anyone.
That’s not to say that my usual obsession with clothes has taken a complete back seat. Initially I made an order for comfortable ‘work from home’ clothes that included stretchy grey joggers and woolen hoodies, but quickly I realised I still needed to feel good even if I was rarely going anywhere; dressing up for the supermarket or a dog walk has become the highlight of my week, as it allows me to escape into the ritual of putting on makeup, curling my hair and wearing something other than what was left on the floor from yesterday.
Resulting from my genuine withdrawal from browsing the aisles of my favourite stores, I’ve shopped the H&M and New Look sale, buying a few tops / dresses / skirts I’ve had my eye on for a while that I know will help me feel good and be a welcome addition to my closet. A new top has always made me feel good, and right now it’s those small wins that are getting me through and helping me to cling on to a small sense of normality amongst a multitude of chaos.
I’m lucky enough to have an almost overwhelming amount of beauty treats in my house already, but I’m definitely ‘shopping my stash’ and discovering those small things that help me feel good – whether it’s a bright red lipstick, a new scent of bath oil, a sustainable hydrating sheet mask or a pillow spray to help me drift off, I’m totally here for it. And I know you are the same; I’ve had more engagement than ever on my beauty posts and more questions about products than I’ve had all year, proving that beauty products are more than just little superficial indulgences.
There’s long been a link between metal wellbeing, self care and the beauty industry, even if it’s often hailed as unnecessarily indulgent. There’s a reason we put on our favourite scent before a hot date, apply a powerful slick of red lipstick when attending an important meeting, or use a face mask to unwind after a long day; those little things make all the difference, helping us to walk taller, be more confident and feel happier in an instant.
While we’re not able to get out to the hairdresser, nail salon or spa it’s no surprise that we’re replacing that with at-home treatments and little moments of pampering. If a beauty haul helps you to feel more like yourself, a new dress or a bunch of flowers makes you feel a little better, or new bed sheets mean you’re a little less sad about not being able to see your mum, then that’s ok. Whatever it takes for you to emerge on the other side with your mental wellbeing in tact – even if that’s an hour spent putting things in your ASOS basket only to close down your browser before hitting ‘buy’.
My personal justification is also based in the fact I’m simply diverting cash and using it in new ways… I’m no longer paying for my monthly cinema card, for my gym membership, for my regular salon visits or my massages. I’m no longer paying for petrol (my car has been on two bars for the last six weeks) or train tickets to London, and I’m no longer putting money aside for a holiday that we probably won’t be able to enjoy for at least another year. I’m no longer spending on eating out (we like a brunch, pub lunch and evening burger!) so that money is well spent, in my opinion, on things that make me feel like I’m able to cope through a period of anxiety.
And if that’s a new set of underwear, a bright red lipstick or a delivery of donuts – so be it!
How have your shopping habits changed recently? What have you been buying?
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