Sometimes the best pieces of advice don’t seem real because they don’t seem like advice.
Like this one:
Wait, before you make a purchase.
See what I mean? It’s so prosaic, so basic, so sensible that it’s almost boring, and it’s tempting to pass on it as you head through the store aisles tossing stuff into the cart.
“Oh look — a set of three cordless phones, one with answering machine, for an eminently reasonable price. A really, really reasonable price.”
Of course, you already have a set of four cordless phones, one with an answering machine, and they’re working just fine.
“But it’s an eminently, eminently reasonable price. And three is actually better than four — simpler, actually — and it won’t be this price forever. And I like the color.”
Ah. There’s the rub. If they looked exactly like the phones you have now, only three instead of four, would you be so determined to buy them?
Why not go home and wait on it for a day or two? They’ll probably be the same price on Tuesday.
I mention phones specifically because I was looking for a set — two out of four of my cordless phones are in a state of, well, not working — and my favorite warehouse store had a set of three for an eminently, eminently reasonable price. But the main thing I was hoping for was a phone into which I could plug my headphones, so that I can use my hands while I talk — if only to gesticulate wildly in the air, as this mysteriously advances my thought process — and this box of phones, which look just like the phones I have right now, didn’t deliver.
So I decided to wait. Given that some phone — four-pack, three-pack, two-pack — is always on sale at this store, I know that I can find a replacement when the remaining two handsets die, and physically removing myself from the product’s box was like walking out of the bakery; the cheesecake’s siren call wafted away on the wind.
It’s two weeks later; my two phones still work; and the eminently reasonable amount of money that the phones would have cost me is still in my bank account; I can buy something fun with it, like extra electricity to run the lights for the month, or maybe I’ll lower the deductible on my car insurance. There’s always something.
And that’s the point — spending money in this country is easy because so many people are demanding it, and some of them you can’t refuse — it’s nearly time for our twice annual rent payment to the king, er, state, for the privilege of living in the house that we own, and this is not one of those “purchases” that I can wait on and see if I want to make, because, frankly, I would never want to make it.
But those other purchases — those impulse buys that masquerade as solid investments because they are so eminently, eminently reasonably priced — can wait a day or two as I see how life goes on without them.
And then, when I do save money by not purchasing something I don’t really need or want, I set as much as I can aside for the real things — the items that give me pleasure and enjoyment and contentment and encouragement, the ones about which years later I say, “I’m so glad I bought that. I use it/see it/enjoy it every day.”
That’s not impulse buying. That’s a wise investment.
This article was originally published on ThoughtfulWomen.org.
Do you know what is a wise investment? Fine Art — and we have found that the clients who purchase Steve’s take their time to save up funds, and they look, and dream, and anticipate. Frequently, we are in communication via phone or e-mail for days or even weeks, as all questions are answered to the clients’ complete satisfaction. If you’ve never purchased fine art before, this is a great way to go about it, and rather than think, “Ah, I’ve never done this before, and I probably can’t do it,” contact Steve (the artist) or Carolyn (the wife and manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask your questions.
Today I went down to pick up the used mat cutter from the store that was going out of business. I had talked to the husband on the phone yesterday, and he offered me a deal. It was a really great deal, given the original price of this wonderful machine, and he sounded as if he might take installments. The wife was there today. Nope, no installments…take it or leave it. I left it, And I am so glad you wrote this today, Carolyn. Thanks for the double-whammy confirmation! 🙂
Susan — good for you. I bet you’re like us — you are so willing to work with people and figure out a way for them to make the art purchase that they want, that when you meet others with that, “Nope, it’s all or nothing” attitude, you think, Forget You, Dear.
I’m laying a bet that this store will have its mat cutter 15 years from now, but by golly, they’ll have their price for it!