Do you have a beautiful tea set that you only pull out twice a year? How often do you wear your favourite perfume? Light a candle? Do you save your kids’ “good” clothes for special occasions?
Or do you use your most beautiful things everyday?
I used to be a saver. Of everything. As a child I saved stickers, stamps, bubble bath, lollies, stationery sets – basically anything I deemed “special”.
Moving into adulthood, I did the same with favourite perfumes, wine, cosmetics, journals, candles. The problem was, I was so good at saving things, that I missed the opportunity to use and enjoy things in the moment.
Gretchen Ruben, author of The Happiness Project, talks about learning to “spend out”, and it’s a phrase that has stuck with me ever since I read the book several years ago.
To spend out means to use and enjoy the good stuff now.
It means wearing my favourite clothing daily, and accepting the fact that it may get stained and ruined more quickly than if I saved it, but I’m getting the wear out of it now, while I love it, rather than saving it until I no longer like it.
It means letting my kids play with (and break) my vintage childhood toys. I could save them, and perhaps donate them to a museum one day, but I’d rather watch my kids use and enjoy them, and accept the wear and tear that comes with that.
It means letting my daughter wear her best dresses whenever she wants to. She’s going to grow out of them in 5 minutes anyway, so why not let her go for it?
Obviously, common sense comes into play. I don’t garden in a silk shirt. I stick an art apron on my kids to keep the paint off their clothes as much as possible. I use my best tea set but I don’t let my kid play with it. I don’t wear my jewellery to the gym. I don’t crack open a bottle of Moet while trying to get the kids to bed (but maybe that’d be a great idea once in a while!)
Spending out is good for the soul. It’s celebrating the little things, not just the big ones, and bringing joy into the ordinary.
How about you, what things do you save for good? What would spending out look like for you?