I’m Not Rich Enough

I’m Not Rich Enough To Buy Cheap Things

I read this quote the other day and nodded.

We unfortunately live in a throw away society. We buy things we don’t need because they are on sale, we “might” need the item someday, or just to lift our mood. I am guilty as well.

Years later we find it buried in the back of the closet, tags still on, and off it goes to Goodwill. What a waste.

Cheap stuff ends up being very expensive, whether it goes unused as in the above example, or used repeatedly and breaks. All that stuff weighs on us mentally and emotionally as well.

After decluttering our home and seeing how much stuff we have that hasn’t been used in awhile, I feel like I am pretty good at eliminating the first cheap stuff use case – not buying it on sale or if we might need it someday.

For stuff we’ve used and has worn out or broken, I am more conscious of buying things that last.

I drove my dream car – my 1998 Jeep Cherokee for over 10 years. I still miss that car. It just worked, I didn’t have to worry about breaking down.. In 10 years I barely had to put anything into it other than fuel, oil changes, and tires.

The last few major purchases I’ve made have been with the long game in mind.

  • MacBook Air – after several Windows laptops that lose performance after a couple years, I spent a little more and have not been disappointed. This thing fires up and lets me get to work in seconds. I plan on keeping it a long time.
  • Tom Bihn Synapse backpack – simple design, great construction, great reputation, lifetime guarantee. What else can you ask for in a bag?
  • Last year we replaced the last of the carpet in our home with hardwood flooring. Yes, it costs a bit more but it lasts. And when it wears out we can refinish it and extend the useful life. Not to mention it looks better and is easier to clean.

Remember, cheap does not always equal a good deal.

I’m Not Rich Enough

Irony

We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

-Fight Club (earlier quote attributed to Will Rogers)

I spent a good portion of my twenties accumulating stuff I thought an adult homeowner (aka consumer) needed, including debt.

One day, I got my Social Security earnings statement in the mail. It listed out my annual salary since I started working. I totaled up what I had made and compared it to my net worth. I came away unimpressed where I stood financially. All those years working and what did I have to show for it?

I’ve since spent my 30s and early 40s getting rid of a lot of that stuff – realizing a lot of it just takes up space, brainpower, time, and money. Every box donated is like a little weight lifted.

Irony