Walking along our neighborhood I couldn’t help but notice that it must be big garbage day. The streets are filled with mattresses, broken chairs, carpet rolls…I think the mild weather must be an added blessing to this quarterly purge, for it is much easier to get motivated to clean when you’re not shivering or dragging carpet through a foot of snow.
This got me thinking about what we keep and what we get rid of and why, and how it affects our financial situation. Looking at the discarded items left at the curb, I noticed that much of it (furniture-wise) was very poor quality. Unfortunately we live in such a disposable society; we buy lots of cheap stuff and then, if we no longer like it or it breaks, just throw it away. It very often is less expensive to buy a new item than it is to have the item repaired, re-upholstered or re-finished. I can’t tell you how sad I was not to be able to find someone to fix my broken hair dryer. Now, aside from whatever the scrap metal scavenger can get out of it, it’ll be landfill.
This makes me crazy.
I can identify two problems; buying on credit and buying poor quality goods. Perhaps because we have so much access to credit (compared to generations ago), very few of us save up for special or quality purchases anymore, we just put our purchases on our credit cards or use the “no interest until…..” financing. This isn’t healthy. We end up buying poor quality goods that we only have to purchase again within a short amount of time. Furthermore, we’re not reinforcing a sense of discipline and commitment within ourselves if we’re always buying on credit. This behavior is not helping to improve our financial situation, it’s harming it.
I’ve seen signs that lay-away plans are back in vogue during these tough economic times; that’s a good thing, it fosters good financial habits and also diminishes impulse buying.
Just my two cents (hey, that’s cheap, cheap enough to throw away if you don’t like it).