Once in a great while we really internalize something about managing money.
Auctions and yard sales used to be a weakness of mine. I’d go stark-raving crazy buying up all of these bargains for (a) things I had an immediate use for, (b) things I didn’t have an immediate use for, but were such a good deal, and (c) things I had no need for, but thought I could resell. Some of the things in (b) and (c) I actually did use/resell, but a lot of it I didn’t, and I ended up either getting rid of it, or storing (and moving) it.
I’ve finally internalized some restraint (and I think my wife has too a bit). Cases in point:
- At a furniture store liquidation auction a couple of weeks ago, my wife went there and spent all of $9. She got two chairs for $2.50 apiece that matched exactly the dining room set we bought from there shortly after we were married, and got another chair for $4 that complements our foyer. Three highly useful, highly manageable things — as opposed to boxes and boxes of junk that we bid on just because we could get them all for $2.
- At a yard sale just this past weekend I bought a set of computer speakers (after finally realizing that the ones that came with my last computer were absolute garbage and probably never worked). I passed up a whole lot of other stuff, including boxes of computer cabling that would have been useful (maybe) but until then would just sit in a pile. (I’ve bought boxes of wires before, and they just sat there. In fact, we just got rid of some of ours!) I also passed up a pressure washer that, although the guy was offering it for $5, had a broken pump. It just wasn’t worth the risk to try to fix it.
Decluttering can be very satisfying, and even financially rewarding. A corollary to this is that accumulating stuff is overrated, even at rock-bottom prices. Bargains are great, but too many bargains is too much of a good thing, especially when they’re cramping your house.
I think this has finally sunk in, and frankly not a moment too soon, because we now live in a larger house with quite a bit of extra space tempting us.