Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I Need This vs I Want This

Do I need it or do I just want it?

Along with working at a State Agency I also sell items on eBay. I was thrift shopping for some inventory when I came across this brand new (with original price tag and
those salt packet things they tell you to throw away) Victoria’s Secret Pink cooler with keychain. First of all, my favorite color is blue so I was hooked and second, I love buying brand new items at dirt cheap prices. The original tag had the cooler priced at $29.95 but it would only cost me about $0.25 (the thrift store prices everything by weight). $0.25 cents isn’t a lot at all but this is the major source of my clutter problem – I can find cute things for so cheap that I don’t care that I might not ever use it and that it’ll be taking up space, I’m only buying it for change, it’s brand new and that money won’t be missed so no biggie right? Actually wrong Nikki dear, lots of tiny purchases add up fast and create unnecessary clutter. For times like these I ask myself:

Do I NEED it or do I WANT it?

A needed item will be purchased at the best quality possible (meaning at the best quality that I can afford) so I won’t have to be replacing it anytime soon and a wanted item will be purchased if it will actually be used or enjoyed . . . immediately.

But back to my awesome cooler find. It’s January – why would I need a cooler? Actually, the cooler is small enough to double as my lunchbox for work. My current lunch box is pink and black (I hate pink) and was given to me by a relative that no longer needed it (frugality in motion). So the purpose for the cooler is defined, it’ll replace my lunchbox that really didn’t do much outside of storing my food. An added benefit is that the cooler has a shoulder strap (my current lunchbox is a handheld) which will free up my hands to hold other stuff (like an umbrella to fight off Florida’s ever present rain – it’s raining now as I type). And the icing on the cake is that the cooler is my favorite color and makes bringing lunch to work a little more fun. Not “Oh my gawd – packing lunch in this cooler is just the best!” type fun but the color and cuteness does liven things up a bit.   
I don’t go through this with all my purchases, just those that need some convincing as to why I should or should not purchase the item if it’s not an intended purchase that will be of value. It helps me steer away from those “I’ve got a dollar in my pocket – what can I buy?” purchases and those golden thrift store finds that will only take up space in my home. There’s only a few items I’ve used this tactic on but it seems to have worked because the items I wanted but decided not to purchase, after a day or two the desire to have them is no longer there (or I just don’t remember what they were).

Make sure to smile today,


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Minimalism & Me

I bought a new car – everyone congratulated me. I thought to myself “. . .. why are they congratulating that I have a car note??”   

I absolutely love my 1998 Mustang– I am content, satisfied, all rainbow and unicorns with my 1998. It is paid off, gets me to A, B, C, and all the way to Z in comfort, is roomy enough for my son and I and provide just enough additional space for our travels. It fulfills a need with a lil style and fun sprinkled on top – why in the world would I give that up for a new car? I’ve had the 1998 before my son was born, it brought him home safely from the hospital, takes him to school with no problems and carries him excitedly to all his amusement park trips with no problems. So why was everyone always commenting for me to get a newer car – especially at a time when my car never stalled, needed a major repair, nada? I didn’t understand it and honestly, I still don’t understand it.

After close to 12 years of service, the 1998 decided that she wanted to stall out when changing gears aka she refused to move out of the driveway. Everyone screamed it’s the transmission (including the mechanic in the family) and that I was better off getting a new car. And even hinting at purchasing a new transmission instead of a new car brought on looks of “that’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard of”. After much thought, dealing with car rentals and getting out of my feelings of now having to put money towards a car rather than making extra payments towards my house, I researched, test drove and bought a 2014 Mustang (I refused to buy anything else besides a Mustang and the body on the 2015 and 2016 Mustang was too much of a change in design to me).

Not even a month has passed with the 2014 and the 1998 cranks and moves out the driveway with no problem. I had another mechanic take a look – a minor fix, no transmission issues at all. I toyed with the idea about returning the 2014 but I’m sure there’s only a few more years left in the 1998 and decided to keep it. I figure the 1998 will be my daily commute vehicle (I have about a 1.5-hour commute to and from work) and my son’s future car (I won’t cringe at him banging the 1998 up as newbie driver compared to a newer car – I’ll buy him a newer car once he graduates from high school) and the 2014 will be used for whenever the 1998 may be down, when there’s bad weather (Florida = guaranteed storm like conditions year-round), weekends, and for longer drives.

The 2014 purchase got a mixture of “I can’t believe she bought a new car” and “Congratulations”. I can understand the not believing I bought a new car because my motto was (and still is) “I’m gonna drive her until the engine falls out and can’t be put back in”. But . . . why were they congratulating me? Purchasing a car = gaining a hefty car note, increasing my insurance payments, taking up extra space in the garage, my car maintenance is now times two, annual car registration is now times two – who would congratulate that? When and why has a material possession become so great that it makes people turn a blind eye to the upkeep?

When is enough actually enough for some people – even myself? When something successfully fills a need and makes you smile (like my 1998 - especially when there are no cops out clocking) why can’t that simply be enough? Why is newer, bigger, faster, trendier, and every other adjective that advertisers use to entice a purchase the new requirement to fill a need – which leads to the need never being fulfilled because next week there is something newer, bigger, faster, trendier, etc.

This is where minimalism steps in for me (pictured are the Godfathers of Minimalism: Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus). After being congratulated on a purchase that is going to 
cost me more in the end – I found I wanted to be congratulated for things I thought were worthy of
being congratulated on. Actually, forget the whole being congratulated by others – I wanted to do things I found congrats worthy even if it was just me congratulating myself. And these congrats wouldn’t come by way of purchases but by ACCOMPLISHING and EXPERIENCING something other than me signing my name on a purchaser’s contract. Travel abroad, paint my own masterpiece, learn a different language, raise a wonderful, brilliant, respectable child, be more involved in my community, semi-retire, and much more. None of these things can be accomplished or experienced with me spending money and time on things or activities that don’t bring emotional or physical value to my life.

Since my divorce, I’ve been a frugal momma so cutting down on purchases won’t be a problem (except when it comes to finding great deals at thrift stores and couponing – that’s gonna take some work) but getting rid of the things I already own but don’t need (and won’t admit to not needing) is the problem. For most of us women it begins with clothes and shoes but my biggest hurdle will be my photos. I’m a picture taking nut and I have tons and tons of photos randomly stored all over my home. I love my photos and I doubt I’ll give them up but will probably find a clutter-free way to store them. But first and foremost (and this has gotten on my nerves more than enough times already) I’ll be decluttering my pots, pans, and Tupperware. I have so many pots and pans passed to me over the years and many them I don’t use (it’s only my 11-year-old son and me in the house – why would I need two huge stockpots??). The dreaded Tupperware – so many are scratched, stained (thanks to storing leftover spaghetti), and hardly any of them have their matching tops. I swear, they’re just like socks – they’re purchased together but after one use one of them is missing.

So this is my beginning, my small step towards the finish line of a clutter free, mindful purchasing, and congratulatory life. A car purchase and getting rid of a bunch of Tupperware – inspiration can truly be found in just about anything.

Make the best of 2017 everyone!