Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
2:59 pm EST
Monday, January 24, 2022

In the Villages: A burning hole in our pockets

Villagers forced to curtail impulse buying.

Story: Joe Angione

Just like shoppers in most of the nation, Villagers have been forced by the coronavirus pandemic to modify their impulse buying. Fear of corona infection and state lockdowns have kept stores and service venues of many kinds closed for months. And online shopping isn’t much help. Villagers want to feel the merchandise and personally judge its quality. So, the lockdowns have left a lot of unspent money in their pockets. 

Another aspect of the pandemic that has limited our spending on impulse purchases are the many employment layoffs that have forced a tight focus on essential purchases, while avoiding trivial items. 

I’m a big-time shopper. Regular store visits are entertainment for me. Although my shopping trips are usually prompted by a few planned purchases, I can’t resist buying something new and different…and most likely expensive. During Florida’s lockdown, it was painful for me to sit idly at home, surrounded only by things purchased long ago, and now not so interesting or exciting anymore.   

I was watching drab days go by with little opportunity to visit stores. I was missing the thrill of seeing and touching displays of fresh, new merchandise. I was denied being caught up in the excitement of acquiring new things. I couldn’t satisfy my longing for items that might brighten up the daily grind of keeping safe distances, frequent hand washings, wearing masks and avoiding gatherings of friends and family.  

But, through all this boredom, I realized that something very good was beginning to happen. I was saving money, not just small change, but big bucks. I found I wasn’t running out of cash anymore. I was making fewer runs to the ATM than I did when I shopped mainly for the pleasure of spending money.

I began to feel good. My checking account was growing fat. This rekindled a sense of financial well-being that was lost during my big-spending days. I realized the satisfaction that comes from moderation, restraint and doing without things. I had renewed confidence that I could survive being denied things I formally regarded as crucial to my happiness. I was becoming a responsible consumer with a new resolve to save for some future “rainy day.”

But now the local economy is open again and the old compulsion to spend is heating up. It seems that at my age that rainy day is already here.