Saturday, February 27, 2010

Steps to take before purchasing new...

When I get it in my head to start a new project (and when you get to know "my head" you will understand that this could be anything from re-organizing the pantry to digging a backyard pond to having another baby!) I have a list of mental steps that I take.

It is my goal to both cut down on my family's consumerism as well as to spend little to no money (because we have little to no money).

I start by making a mental list of the items I am going to need. Once this list is made, I try to find ways to use things that I already have to get the job done. Could I use that basket sitting in the kid's closet to store these canning jars in? Maybe I could use that wooden crate sitting outside for the job?

No? Then I move on to trying to think of ways to make what I need. Could I use those scraps of wood and some nails to build myself a small crate? Could I (and I am stretching here, even for me) use those long plants that my mom calls "weeds" to weave myself a basket?

No? Then the next step is try try to find what I need for free. Could I maybe find a crate in a dumpster? Could I post on and ask for it?

No? Well then I guess I will have to have some patience and wait until it shows up at a thrift store. It usually does and sometimes, in the process of waiting, I decide to take a different path and don't even need the item after all!
I may also look on or as you can often find what you are looking for there at a substantial discount. In addition, I am a member of several online trading posts/swap boards and they will often have what I am looking for.
If, after all of this, I still must have the item, I will start trying to find a way to pay for it. This is a process in and of itself but one that I will not bore you with as I am doubting that you are very interested in my family's finances.
I will also research, research, research. If I am going to actually pay retail price for something, I am going to make sure it is the best product on the market. I do not want to pay hard earned money for something that I am going to be disappointed with or that is only going to last a month.

I usually do the research and the choose the best item in the price range that I can afford. Often times this means compromising on a few of the "perk" features but I can usually find a good quality item that will do the job I need for it to do, even if it doesn't have all of the "bells and whistles".

On that note...I have actually found that the more "bells and whistles" an item has, the more likely that item is to wear out or tear up before its time. If I want a CD player, I want one that will play CD's...that is its basic use. I do not need one that is going to read the names of the song out loud before it plays them. Just play the damn CD, right?

It is a process and it is one that teaches patience and sometimes humility.

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