Lets face it, we are consumers. Our whole economy is based around consuming. This wasn’t always the case. Back before everything was outsourced to China, production was sourced in our home countries. A lot of our money we spent, not only was spent on buying but also maintaining the items we bought. From the TV repair man to buying replacement bulbs for our Christmas lights, we repaired and replaced. Now we buy cheap and throw it away.
A few years back as I was moving around the country moving up the corporate ladder, I was moving every 18 months. And while my companies always paid for the move, in some ways it was always a waste. Because a good chunk of what I was moving, just wasn’t worth saving. And this bothered me.
It really hit home when I was unpacking from one move, and noticed the packers have literally wrapped plastic cups in paper and packing material. At the time, the plastic cups had a purpose, for a party I had, but I was shaking my head thinking I moved across the country, a pack of dime store plastic cups.
And to add to this, I just started unpacking stuff, and then going, I am not going to use this or want this, and I would throw it away. I was essentially left with two piles. Throw away stuff that wasn’t worth anything, stuff I couldn’t even sell on eBay. The other pile was items I had for years, that I was willing to move across the country, over and over. Things like my mattress, my chefs knife, and even my pepper mill. In fact, the Chef Knife and Pepper Mill I still have and use, with the pepper mill I got in 1990 and the chef knife in 1998.
At one point I was looking to move on to a new position further west in the US, and so I was looking forward to moving. I had moved up the ladder, was making a good salary, getting bonuses,and to add to this, I was renting two rooms from a married couple that were never home. I remember, heading out shopping, looking at items thinking… do I really want to move that? Most of the time, the answer was no. The few times I said yes, I would buy it, and many of those same items are with me to this day. So I stared a rule.
When ever I am ready to buy something, I ask myself, am I willing to move that across the country. If the answer wasn’t yes, then I wouldn’t buy it. It was a simple and amazing discovery, because I would only buy it, if it was quality. The great thing, my possessions started to dwindle, my cash flow increased and I was able to put away money for large purchases.
When I finally got a new position and moved across the country, I was able to get new stuff, and pay cash for it all. New bedroom set, couches, tv and stereo equipment. In fact, I still have the same set of speakers that I bought in 2005, a pair of unmatched quality.
When I moved this last time, I moved with just two suit cases. But when I was storing stuff at my moms house, and when I would go home, I would pack away some of those items to bring back with me. This included my 20 year old chef knife, my 30 year old pepper grinder and some art I have saved for 10 plus years.
This can work for you
This question works whether you move a lot or not. I am moving for the first time in 7 years, and I am going through the same issue again. As stuff breaks, if it is not something I want to move, I don’t buy it. And when it is time to finish our move, we will have either new stuff, or quality stuff that will last a long time.
So next time you are ready to spend money, ask yourself, “Am I willing to move that across the country?” If the answer is no, then question whether you should buy it. Not only will you save yourself money, you will buy better quality and live a simpler, happier life. What do you think? How do you ensure you buy quality?