Too Much Of A Good Thing?

The South Carolina State Fairgrounds will be filled with bargain-seekers this weekend as they host the Clean Sweep Sale. A fund raising event, an entire building will be dedicated to yard-sale style shopping in massive quantity.

My first thought when I heard about this event was - Ooh Ooh Ooh! I love a good bargain just like the next woman, and this seems like a great way to do some one-stop shopping. They'll have everything from books and music to furniture and appliances at some pretty decent prices.

My second though was - I need to stay away from this event. Not because it's not a worthy cause or because of the crowds, but because financially it wouldn't be smart.

Think about this scenario...you go with $50 to have a fun day of shopping the bargains. You find many, many things you'd love to buy, but only carry a couple of them around with you. Then you see a crowd around certain items and you decide to go see what they've found. Suddenly you're hauling much more stuff behind you and you're contemplating bringing in a truck to get it all home. And you're way past the $50 limit you had set several hours ago.

For some reason women have little antennae that go into overdrive when we hear certain words: on sale, BOGO, cheap, deal, limited time and yard sale can all be triggers for spending. We feel like we're getting something special because we're not having to pay retail price for it.

While it's a fabulous idea to shop sales and be on the lookout for bargains, there is too much of a good thing. It's not difficult to spend more than normal because everything you purchased "was on sale" and you wanted to stock up. In a place like this giant yard sale, you have no idea what you'll run across and want to bring home.

So this is my big question of the day: are we buying things because they're items we need around the house and can't pass up the price, or are we buying them simply because they're cheap? Is there a place specifically designed for that piece or will it go in a pile with others just like it? Does it serve a function and will it improve your home in some way or is it simply a spur-of-the-moment buy that brings satisfaction for a while?

What have you been saving your money for? Recently I wrote about long-term planning and reaching some financial goals you've been dreaming about. Are you willing to sacrifice money you would have used for a new ___ (insert your goal here) for something you found at a sale that you didn't even know you wanted?

Shopping is wonderful when you're looking for something that will benefit your home and the people inside of it, just as the Proverbs 31 woman shopped from the merchants' ships for unique items. But the key is spending wisely and in the direction of the Lord. If you have self-control and have prayed about an amount to spend, then shop to your heart's content and enjoy the fruits of your searching. If not, it's probably safer to stay home where it's warm, start a fire and watch a great old movie. A penny saved is a penny you can spend another day on something you truly love.

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