Well, actually, sometimes you can. I just got my new pressure canner yesterday and I gotta admit-I’m happy. I had a Presto canner that worked just fine but it still had a toggle pressure gauge that is not really accurate. It was also not large enough for my needs. On a busy canning day, I can use both and get  a lot more done in less time. In addition, I got a new stainless steel canning funnel and another stick magnet. I also got some accessories for my Food Saver that will make it possible for me to store dried fruits and vegetables in canning jars with the air sucked out.

This buying stuff is so tricky. I am really trying to think before I hand over cash. Do I need this or do I just want it? Is it a transient pleasure or does it have lasting value? Is there a way to meet this need with something borrowed or do I have an alternative at home that will work as well?

So here are the things I buy. Books. Especially resources on farming, bee keeping, food preservation, animal husbandry and the like. I also buy books that I know will be passed around and finally land in our sustainability lending library. I buy tools. Hand tools for the garden and food preservation tools are high on my buy list. Good quality clothing is a good investment. Boots, shoes, snowsuits, gloves, all outwear in fact as well as woolen sweaters and jeans are things I look for in resale and thrift shops. I will pay full price if the item really matters. Leather work gloves are something I can not have too much of. Sewing supplies are worth the spend as are home schooling supplies.

What I don’t buy are many electronics. I have one cell phone that the family shares. I played with a friends iphone the other day and I must say, it was really fun. But was it $500.00 fun? Probably not but if I could have bought one on the spot I might have done it and regretted it later. That’s probably the biggest danger with credit cards. They don’t give you a time to reflect. The wish is followed by the purchase. Credit card companies count on your impulsivity. They also hope you won’t pay off the balance each month. They further hope you will be 20 seconds late with your payment so you get a late fee on top of interest. If things go according to their plans, you buy an item with a short shelf life, stretch the payments out over several months and pay the bill late. If they are really lucky, you will need a new whatever before you pay off the old one. Toys, meals out and cheap clothing are good examples of the perfect spend if you own a credit card company.

I like to buy things like trees. Talk about a long term investment. And my pigs. I will be eating the results of that spend long after the $50.00 dollars is a memory. One meal out could run that much. My blueberries are going to have a banner year but it has taken  5 years to get to that point. I think I spent $12.00 on my first bush.

Sometimes I think having a mom or dad, used to living on a shoestring, on the Presidential cabinet. We could call it the Department of Common Sense. We would have fewer bridges to nowhere and and more small schools, fewer bombs and more protected wild spaces. A few people would maybe end up in time out (big people time out tends to have bars on the windows). We would hear words like sacrifice and responsibility. Ah well. Not likely.

Back to buying happiness. I was watching my kids play this morning. They never touched an actual toy. They played a made up game of mommy and child that involved chasing each other and they rolled a ball to the kitty. They did color for a few minutes and they looked at books too. I don’t think this is unusual. I think most plastic toys are clutter. My kids do play with their dolls, the blocks and tinker toys and puzzles. Most everything else sits on the toy shelf all day, mocking me.