Buy Smarter, Buy Better


We sure buy a lot of stuff, don’t we?

It is interesting to look at the stuff we buy, think about why we bought it and just sometimes, say to ourselves . . . . what the heck was I thinking?

I found myself confronting this exercise for the past several weeks while getting rid of stuff (literally everything) in prep for our upcoming 2 year road trip and I observed the following (this is me. Your list will likely look different):
  • I have a tendency to buy (or keep old) spares of lots of things that are really unnecessary. Oh, jackets and shoes. Replaced motorcycle drive chains and brake pads (only if they have some life left on them, of course). That sort of stuff. This is mostly “just in case” stuff. For my purposes, almost all of this is going to go.
  • In our home, we tend to have too much food inventory. We could live months on our inventory. Time to start eating down inventory.
  • Warehouse stores may have lower prices but they cause consumers to add a warehouse to their homes! Lots of times the purchase  quantities are huge! Unless you have a large family, you are in the warehouse business. Aim more for JIT (Just In Time) inventory management.
  • While I have tried to buy electric tools where possible (like a chain saw, which is surprisingly powerful and fine for occasional use). But you need things to be gas-powered, like edgers and blowers and snow throwers. All of these have insidious hidden costs in the form of periodic maintenance attached to them, whichadds to the budget. They also require time to care for them.
  • Leftover meals can be great! But you have to watch to eat them up quickly so they stay fresh. If it winds up in the trash, your meal just got a whole lot more expensive. When I was a kid, I was always told “don’t you know half the world is starving?” I guess it sunk in but a valid point, nonetheless.
  • I do a pretty good job of sharing specialized tools that are only used on occasion, so I am lucky enough to not suffer from a glut of specialty tools but I do have a few to be sold.

Now, this is just my view of my own purchases but it can still be informative.

  • Virtually every one of these items adds clutter and congestion and even emotional overhead, that should be eliminated.
  • Most of these observations highlight stuff that takes up appreciable amounts of space. Space costs money and has its own costs associated with it. This is a hidden cost for lots of stuff. Remember, America’s garages are full of stuff. And stuff consumes both physical and emotional overhead to manage it.
  • One way to reduce the cost of ownership for the big things you do buy, is to make good decisions. Good buying criteria, result in acquisitions that are kept a long time. For instance, our two Apple MacBook Pros. Both well over six years old. They were power-user machines when new and were relatively expensive. But they still perform well, even for intense photo editing in PhotoShop and LightRoom.
  • Many times, buying decisions didn’t align with how I wound up actually using the item. Had I known how it was going to turn out, I might very well have made a different buying decision.
  • Even with great restraint, it is hard to not buy things that wind up not getting used or at least not used for a long time. Think long and hard about purchases before actually buying.

Now with my comments to give you some ideas, take a deep breath and walk into that garage and start looking around and see what you learn about what you buy. And maybe you too will say . . . . “what the heck was I thinking?”

Good Luck


Simple But Happy

Simple But Happy

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