Amazon.com has been my store of choice over the past several years. The convenience factor -- shopping anytime, day or night, without children tugging at my clothes -- as well as the low prices convinced me that it wasn't such a big deal to buy online.
After awhile, though, a strange thing happened. I was getting boxes every week or two, and the thrill of getting these "gifts" in the mail kept me adding things I "needed" to my shopping cart.
Having started decluttering the house in January 2015, I began not only keeping less but buying less, as well. I thought it would be interesting to do an inventory of my past Amazon purchases.
I've never totaled this up until today. This is what I spent on myself and my family and my home on Amazon.com since 2010, the year I had my first child:
$4,999?! Let's just round up to $5,000. And here is all the stuff I didn't include in that tally:
Knowing how much I spent, I went back and looked at how much of the stuff I actually still have in my house. Not counting all the "consumable" items like shampoos, diapers, vacuum bags, etc., I only have about 50% of the items I originally thought I really needed! All that long-gone baby gear could have been bought for a fraction of the cost from garage sales. It turns out that a bamboo steamer, panini press, egg slicer, or other one-use gadget won't make me a better cook. And that $150 collector's edition of all six seasons of LOST? It didn't make the series finale any less disappointing.
If I had taken half of that spending -- $2,500 -- and invested it for seven years instead of spending it on Amazon, it would have made me more than $1,500 (assuming a 7% rate of return). Over a 25-year period at the same rate, that $2,500 could have earned over $11,000!
I say this not to make myself feel awful or to inspire guilt, but to move forward with a better appreciation of how spending habits can be more costly than we think at the time.
When simplifying and decluttering, I have had to confront my past actions with every item I've donated or sold. What's done is done, though; the lesson has been learned, and now I know for sure that life is better on the simpler side.