Mention to most people that you bought a wedding dress second-hand and they think Corpse Bride Halloween costumes. Not me. At 20, I went shopping with my mother in several second-hand shops and found a wedding dress I really liked. It fit without alterations. It helps to not be superstitious about such things. A friend one-upped me in practicality, buying a cocktail party dress in her favourite primary colours in a shimmery material and had her bridesmaids choose single pastel colour dresses they could enjoy again. My friend relived her precious wedding day memories whenever she wore her dress for other occasions.

Granted, when you think about living less and relaxing more, bargain wedding attire is usually a one-time saving. Make changes by looking at little things or daily treats that add up. You may want to spend $1,531—the average cost of a wedding dress. On that same Google search list, there were options for bridal wear under $500. A TLC channel program called Say Yes to the Dress flaunts dresses easily equivalent to a house down payment. There are always choices.

About those daily treats. A Starbucks Caffè Mocha Grande costs $4.15. The average Canadian hourly earnings (take home pay) is $19.62-$28.94. If you indulge in a Starbucks treat every working day, that is three-and-a-half to five hours per month of life energy you have depleted for the treat. You may decide it is worth every penny. Full transparency: I don’t drink coffee. I am a writer, so pens and journals are my weakness. We all choose what we spend our life energy on… or do we?  Amazon algorithms, Siri, and Alexa are listening and tempting us. I admit I have longingly looked at some of Amazon’s spot-on suggestions, then given my head a shake.

Look at your surroundings. Has your stuff nurtured you, or does dusting, caring, and  maintaining those objects soon void their initial satisfaction and drain you? Many studies inform how people become addicted to and distracted by the fleeting dopamine hits of buying something. Not only that, but visual clutter is also an energy vampire interfering with our rest, creative centres, and ability to be in the moment. 

About that stuff in your space. Ask yourself if clutter owns you. Peter Walsh in his book It’s All Too Much says, “There’s a stuff epidemic” and Buddha wisely said, “Desire [of the material world] is the root of all suffering.”

It may surprise many people to calculate suffering and contentment in relation to stuff. Now ponder how well Amazon has done during the pandemic. According to Wikipedia, their profits soared 200 per cent and the online sales giant hopes pandemic habits will stick. In fact, Amazon’s profits are now tripling.

The more we spend, the more life energy we must expend. While I can suggest making your coffee at home for a fraction of the price, I am looking for a coach to keep me away from Staples. Track your spending for one month and see where you can cut back. We can all buy time to relax by leaving our wallets at home.