As I eagerly opened a package for the new phone cover and breastmilk storage bags I had ordered not even 24 hours before, the question darted across my mind: “I wonder how much money I spent on Amazon Prime this week?” It was quickly followed with, “Am I actually saving money or am I spending more than normal because I can have this or that with the swipe of that beautiful ‘Buy Now’ button?”
I decided to fast from ordering online for one month as an experiment. First day was no problem. I didn’t need anything since I’d just gotten a package the day before.
The second day it would have really come in handy to have some paciﬁers delivered (paciﬁers, socks, and hair ties… it’s a conspiracy. Look into it.). Third day was a book someone recommended. Oh, books. The black hole for my money—I love you so. Hmmm. Could it be at the library? Well, heck to the yeah it was! Put that sucker on hold and picked it up the next day! I smiled to myself thinking I’m obviously rocking this and have probably saved hundreds of dollars by now. I’m probably going to start a trend and single-handedly get America out of debt. Fourth day… uh oh.
Someone seems to have a cold and I’m out of elderberries. I’m about to throw this whole experiment out the window because it’s not like I can just grow elderberries for crying out loud! Amazon, I need you! I ﬁnd out I do have some frozen downstairs. Crisis averted. But barely.
I’ll skip ahead a few days to save us some time, but, crap, my brother’s birthday is this month. I didn’t think that through. One of my favorite things about Prime is the ability to send gifts last minute. As a crastinator who decided to go pro, this has saved me countless times from looking like the forgetful jerk I actually am. At this point, all smiling is gone and I’m convinced this whole thing was stupid. Whose idea was this anyway? I miss the little buzz I get from ordering something immediately! I miss the multitude of options to scroll my way through and the comforting review section to see what I’m in for! HomeGoods certainly isn’t going to tell me if these pillowcases are worth four or five stars.
OK, OK. I’ve calmed down over here. This thing might actually be turning in my favor. My carpenter/remodeler husband just asked if he had to be a part of the experiment and put oﬀ buying this tool he wants. Well, duh! One ﬂesh, baby; we’re in this together. I’m smugly thinking this might be the best idea I’ve ever had when I hear his truck start up. He’s heading to Home Depot. Dang it! Ultimate backﬁre! And wouldn’t you know he came home with some gardening gloves, seeds, and soil because, you know, we garden… wait a minute. No, we don’t.
After all was said and done, I’m not sure if I actually saved money or not.
There were too many variables. I don’t order the same things every month in order to make an accurate comparison. Also, there are diﬀerent months that make it worth it, especially if there are birthdays. The season of your life is another factor to take into consideration. We have a new baby and carting out all four boys in the Florida heat where summer thunderstorms are a daily occurrence might put me in a straight jacket (Do they sell those on Amazon?). The yearly cost of Prime is really nothing compared to what I’m saving in therapy. The type of car you drive and how much gas it costs to go somewhere is another one. Or, how far away is the store? Or, what type of store? For example, if I need something from Target, you know it’s better to order that business online. What? Chip and Joanna Gaines have a new line? #joannaismyspiritanimal
So, what did I take away from this, you ask?
The most obvious is that it reminded me to really pause and think if I actually needed what I could order with a click of a button or if it was just a want. The other is that although I’m grateful we live in an age of convenience, I should be cautious of it. It can be easy to become entitled and impatient in this instant-gratiﬁcation society, and I’m not sure what this does to us mentally or what it teaches our children. When I’m getting low on baby wipes and they are coming the next day without a trip to the store for only one item, that rocks. On the other hand, when my son earns enough money by doing chores to buy LEGOs and is pacing the halls waiting for it to come within 24 hours, I want to be all, “When I was a kid, I had to hike four miles in the snow to Toys R Us.”
Because things are so convenient now, it’s easy to forget how good we have it. It wasn’t always this way, and it’s still not this way for the majority of the world. I pray I can be a good steward of the blessings I have and be generous with others. I need to be intentional to teach my children the importance of patience and hard work and the importance of going outside our comfort zones to serve others in need in our own community and abroad to keep a clear perspective. To whom much is given, much is expected, and we have been given much. Often in the wrapping with that magical word Prime on the side.
For more on saving or women’s purpose, start here:
A Girl’s Guide to Smart Spending
Bigger and Better Won’t Make You Happy, but This Will
Confessions of an Endcap Queen: How to Stop Mindless Purchasing
10 Simple and Unexpected Ways You Can Save Money
5 Things Everyone Should Buy at the Dollar Tree
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