The True Cost of Our Stuffposted by Andrea | 03/10/2014
I think many of you know that I’m generally quite frugal… and that I love to keep things neat and organized. Both of these factors work in my favor when it comes to accumulating more stuff.
My in-store thought process usually goes something like this:
That’s cute, and it’s on sale, I should buy it.
Well, I technically don’t need it… and I’m not sure where I would put it.
I guess it’s not that great of a deal… I’m sure I could come up with a better use for my money.
OK, I won’t buy it!
Not that I think this is necessarily the right way to handle the situation, but I can pretty much talk myself out of buying ANYTHING — even if it’s a super good deal!
Unless it’s on my list as a specific need, I can almost guarantee that I won’t buy it. In fact, if it’s not something I need (or really want) I can almost guarantee that I won’t even accept a freebie offer!
I’m sure some of you might be thinking how boring, or un-fun, or super cheap I sound right now — but the fact of the matter is that even inexpensive (or free) items usually come with hidden costs that might end up being a burden later on.
For example, when you bring something into your home, you’ll eventually need to:
- Find a spot to put it
- Clean it (or around it)
- Organize it (or around it)
- Maintain it
- Feed it (think of those “free pets” you see on Craigslist)
- Water it (plants)
- Put batteries in it or pay for electricity to run it
- Buy accessories to go with it
- Fix it if/when it breaks
- Move it (if you move or change locations)
- etc. etc.
So even getting a fabulous deal or an awesome freebie almost always ends up using many MANY resources over it’s lifetime in your home.
Not only does it use physical resources like space and money, it also uses resources like time and energy — both of which I have a short supply of these days!
For these reasons, it’s very likely that I’ll pass by even the best deal unless it’s truly something I need AND something where the benefits of owning the item will outweigh the extra money, space, time, and energy it could potentially require.
I realize this might sound like I over-think simple purchases — but this thought process only takes a few seconds, and I’m sure those few seconds have saved me LOTS of time, money, space, and energy over my lifetime.
So How Do I Decide to Bring Something into Our Home?
Obviously, there are plenty of items I DO bring into our home on a regular basis — but those are things I feel we actually do need.
For example, I’m a HUGE Craigslist shopper and usually have a running list of things I’d like to buy if the price is right. If there’s nothing on my list, I don’t even bother looking on Craigslist; however, if I have a few things on my list, I’ll log onto Craigslist for 5-10 minutes every night and do a quick search for the items I’m looking for.
Once I find a good deal (in a decently close location) I’ll jump on it — knowing it’s something I actually need and that it will be worth the extra resources it might require.
I use this same philosophy when shopping for new items. I keep a list of items we need and then order them on Amazon.com or go to a store I know will carry that item, buy that item, and then leave again. I’m not big on window shopping so I just get what I need and then leave again
Basically, I try to only bring things we NEED into our home.
And if you think about it, I’m really not THAT crazy!
By taking a few seconds to question any purchase (or even freebie offers) I’m able to avoid wasting time, space, money, and energy — and that sounds pretty good to me!