Sunday, March 14, 2010

First Day Musings

Daddy: "You need a new car."

Me: "Why? The one I have is fine."

Daddy: "It is old. It has too many miles (I can't argue there -- it has 330,000 original miles). It is undependable."

Me: "It is not that old. When I bought it in 2001 I made myself a promise to drive it ten years or 500,000 miles. It is a Subaru. That is reasonable. It has only made me walk once due to mechanical failure. It is dependable."

Daddy: "I don't understand why you won't buy a new car."

Me: "I am not going into debt."

Daddy: "Everyone goes into debt."

Me: "I love you, Daddy. The car stays."

As Don and I have gone through the Financial Peace University program one of the things we have noticed is how often things are bought "Just Because." And, as we have worked on clearing out the house and buildings, we are finding things that we Just Don't Know Why We Bought It. For example, why did I think that the Winnie-the-Pooh thimbles were "to die for" ? What were we thinking when we bought a push mower when we have two acres to mow?

One of the most powerful things I have come away from the class with is learning why I make the shopping choices I do. And, this has caused me to question what I value and why. What I have learned is that stuff holds me prisoner. I am forever worrying about taking care of it, storing it, keeping it safe. I know this is a recurring theme here, but I am just astounded that as a society we have, in two short generations, gone from use it up, make it work, or do without to copious consumption. This is an epiphany for me and I am wondering if I am alone in this.

What do you think? Is our society bound by the "gotta have its" or is it shifting back to a less complicated and less materialistic value system? Do you find yourself shopping less and making do more?


  1. I was just thinking about how we look at the number of miles on a car instead of how it is still running. We were given our Buick because it had 200,000 miles on it and our son-in-law's parents would get nothing to sell it.

    All the mileage was from commuting. We had to have a rebuilt transmission put in last year but our mechanic said the car is in great shape and well worth that expense to keep it going.

    Our Dynasty finally died for good last year but I think it was around 14 years old, kept going by a great mechanic.

    I rarely shop at garage sales because I keep telling myself even if things are cheap, they still add to clutter in a small house.

    Moving to a small house was my eye opener on how much stuff I had that I didn't need. Even if purchased cheap, it all adds up.

    I'm much better at Goodwill about not buying something because it is cheaper (probably because it is not usually as cheap as garage sales).

  2. Our last car had 342,000 miles on it. It was starting to have major problems. We buy all our vehicles with a salvage title or used. Never have had a brand new..
    Stuff is a lot of peoples problem. I have alot of stuff some that is not needed but I try to get rid of unuseful things!
    My MIL is one of the worst I have seen she has a shed and rooms Full of stuff!! She doesnt use but the crisis center where she volunteers was going to throw it away or ship it off. So it sits in her house.. Even though you may not be able to get to her kitchen table that stuff did NOT get thrown away!!
    I go through a whole conversation when I buy stuff. Why I need it and all that stuff!!

  3. I certainly went through a period of collecting lots of stuff - we had a house with tons of storage and you know what that means - you keep everything and buy more. Once we downsized to a townhome (which was a HUGE project), it's been a constant challenge to buy less. But I am making progress and feel good that I can now say "no" fairly regularly and feel good about it. As a society, I do believe the pendulum has begun to swing back to a thriftier way of living. We still have a ways to go but I do think there is a shift occuring.

  4. I am with you--I find that I wonder at times why I bought something:-) I don't do thrift stores or yard sales as I find that I find someone else's stuff , cheap, I just don't need. When we left the city and suburban living we switched gears. I shop only when I need something. It is really freeing, but hard at times. Sometimes I just want some stuff...LOL!

  5. I really need this post today! Sometimes I look around at the STUFF in my house and I wonder "WHAT WAS I THINKING?" when I bought these things!! I have so many Longaberger baskets that I just HAD to have about 10 or 12 years ago. I sure wish I just had the money back that I spent back then. I should have put it in a savings account. I called my dear hubby at work today and asked if he could just help me tonight by sorting through all our things in our bedroom. He asked me what he could do to help and I said, "Just encourage me..." to get rid of the unnecessary clutter. I am a prisoner to it.
    It does feel very good to get rid of and clean up, doesn't it?
    We are really trying to get ourselves into a smaller home that we can afford and we realize that we can't take this much stuff with us! The things we have purchased that we THINK wil make us happier have actually caused us pain. Strange, huh?
    Thanks again,


Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!