Spend money on things you love – also Storage units-what are those???
When we were moving, we looked around our house and asked how we managed to accumulate so much stuff in two short years. With every box, I swear we were shouting, did we buy that? Why did we need it? Moving with a ton of stuff sucks.
Pause: do you ever look around your house, apartment, room wherever you are and ask yourself when and how you bought this or that item?
I think we all do. We think we need certain things maybe because the advertising is good or we see everyone around us wearing item X, driving car Y and we talk ourselves into believing that we need that item.
Tunnel vision of scarcity
NPR’s Hidden Brain had an excellent podcast on something called tunnel vision. They said that one of the reasons poor people don’t always make good money decisions when they get a small windfall is because the scarcity stress is taking up too much cognitive energy. They are focused on the here and now and can’t see beyond their current scarcity.
I think the same thing happens to us when we develop a strong need for a product. We might even begin to see it everywhere we look. As an Apple user (please do not judge me- we are praying about this) I know that each time a new iPhone comes out or whatever gadget there is this tap tap tap sound in our brains that makes us think we have to get that item. A good friend of mine who is very tech-savvy says most people do not need a Mac. She told me that most of us hardly use the most basic functions that make the computer expensive so really, we would be just fine with a $300 computer as opposed to dropping $1,200 on an air book. We can also talk about brand loyalty later – because – ya!
Do you have a recent or old purchase that you really love? What is it?
There is no value in buying things we do not need
Storage units are a uniquely American business. Did you know this? I just read about it actually – that Americans are really the only people in the world who spend upwards of $120/month to store things they do not use. In our town, the tiniest storage units 5X5 cost about $89 a month. Yikes. That is over $890 a year to store things you do not need. If you keep it for 5 years that is $5,000. Is the stuff in there worth $5,000? You decide.
Nearly 10% of American households have a storage unit that is almost 300 000 households. According to a recent report from a real estate journal, there are more self-storage facilities in America than there are McDonald’s restaurants. There were 48,500 self-storage facilities in America at the end of 2014, Curbed points out, compared to a mere 14,350 McDonald’s restaurants.
There are times when one might need a storage unit, e.g., when you are in between moves or when your life needs some adjustment, but for the most part we do not need to be spending that kind of money.
Another study found that American households own over 300 000 things. If we did a walkthrough of your home, you might find that you have not used half the things you own. And, that you do not even like most of the items. I am just as guilty. We moved a few months ago, and we had to do a serious purge of various items from kitchenware to random garden things, and we don’t even have a garden or like gardening – go figure!!
Purge: I am going to challenge you to do a purge. You can sell what you are not using or donate to a local church. There is always a family that could use your old couch, bed, or microwave. I promise your items will not be wasted. Giving will also make you feel great about yourself.
Something else: when you get rid of stuff, you create room in your home to breath. There is so much joy in living in a half-empty home. You will enjoy the space.
Before we go- There is great value in buying things we love and use often
Apple watches are great, but the value is in what you use it for. I try to jog every morning so a few years ago my husband got me a fit bit, but the functionality of that first Fitbit was not good for me, so it was not the best use of our money. However, he recently gifted me an apple watch, and this is honestly the best gift I have ever had. I can only wear plastic watches due to allergic reactions, so past fancy watches were wasted on me. I love logging my exercising from walking, jogging to yoga. I like knowing how many steps I have hit in a day, and I also like knowing how my heart is working. I believe gift-givers also enjoy watching us utilizing our new treasures. As for thFitbiter fitbit, I saw some of the parts in storage boxes the other day and my heart hurt for the wasted money.
Before you buy an apple watch or any gadget, ask yourself if you will use all the functions- if not you may be suited for a different, cheaper much cheaper product. If you do buy the apple watch, you can get the cheaper kind- you will still get all the functionality you need. That was my one condition with my husband- yes, I wanted the apple watch, but we would not spend a lot for it. I know he was heartbroken because he is not a big shopper and when he does, he has a very specific plan in mind, but I just knew I would enjoy the smaller one more. Here is to thoughtful spouses 🙂
Ok- get to purging. Tell me what you think about these posts. I don’t even know if anyone is reading this 🙁