With the warm weather of Spring finally coming out from hiding, the season of garage sales is upon us. No matter where I drive on the weekends, there are signs for yard and garage sales everywhere I look. Everyone is selling their used junk in an effort to clear up some space and make a little profit in the process. Bargain hunters from far and wide will come to find treasures at rock bottom prices amongst the used gym equipment and piles of readers digest. While there is nothing wrong with having a garage sale or shopping at them, the problem lies with wealth slowly slipping through our fingers with every small purchase we make.
How does one know if they are rich-poor? I’d say the obvious diagnosis is if you own a garage yet you are unable to park any vehicles in it. In my old neighborhood in Edmonton I would say one in every ten houses had their vehicles stored in their garage, while the rest had crap stacked to the rafters. You never know when you might need three weed whackers or when your pre-teens will feel like playing with their pre-school toys again.
Why do we amass such a pile of junk in our car ports while our higher priced vehicles are being exposed to the elements? It’s very simple; the junk we collect is a large representation of our wealth. Rather than having large numbers in our bank accounts and investment portfolios, we hold on to piles and piles of long lost treasures from out past. We spend a little money over here, some more of it over there because spending $20 is no big deal, right? Well unfortunately it does add up and we unwillingly invest our fortune in junk over the course of our lives.
If it makes you feel any better, it’s not entirely our fault. We’ve been raised to be eager and well conditioned consumers just like our parents before us and now we are teaching the next generation to buy whatever makes them happy. We are bombarded by advertising everywhere we go and everywhere we look. If you ever watch a video online the commercial plays 100% perfectly yet the actual video that brought you there is often slow to load and stops to buffer more often than not. The next time you buy your favourite magazine, count the number of pages of advertising you’ve paid good money for instead of more articles. Even when you pay $18 to go watch a movie, the commercials keep rolling and the $20 popcorn is empty before the movie even starts.
Rich people don’t buy Junk!Don’t get me wrong, I like having garage sales much as the next guy. In fact I’ll be having one in the near future to get rid of some unwanted stuff from my unsuccessful marriage. We just need to be smarter about the purchases we make now so that we don’t sell it for 90% less to the bargain finders down the road. Start by asking yourself a few questions before making a purchase:
Do I absolutely need this item to survive my life on this planet?Straight up ask yourself if you really need the blu-ray, special directors cut with the missing 10 seconds of Sylvester Stallone’s drive-through order edition of “Stop or my mom will shoot”? Most likely not. Chances are if you even have to ask yourself this question you really don’t need it. If you do find yourself needing to buy something, follow up with this second question:
Is it made of the best quality of material to last me for as long as possible?Do you want to buy a good quality screw driver once or buy twenty from the dollar store over the course of your lifetime? Why not save the environment, non-renewable resources and your pocket book at the same time by purchasing quality items once, maybe twice rather than many, many times throughout your life. If it’s flimsy, made of cheap material and you only need to use it once, then buy it from the dollar store. If you use it once a week or more, then paying a little more for higher quality is the way to go. Now ask yourself:
Does this item go on sale, and is this the best price you can find it for?Rich people never pay full price, and neither should you. Unless it’s a kidney dialysis machine to keep Grandpa alive, you can probably wait a week or two to find the best/sale price possible. I’ve used price matching to get 10% off a sale price for an even bigger score. There’s lot of ways of getting a deal, just use your imagination.
Stop the cycle of wasting moneyI get that life is short and you only live once. Sometimes you just feel like paying good money to have someone inject ink under your skin, I hear ya. Once you stop spending so much and your money stops flowing through your fingers every paycheck, you might be surprised that you have left over cash every month without using a credit card! Holy smokes! Before you run out and buy those limited edition Sex in the City salt and pepper shakers with your new found pile of cash, you might want to learn what secrets rich people use to make and keep money coming in. Join me next time as I share with you the not so secrets that people use to attain and maintain their wealth. Until then, stop buying junk!
This article was written by The Loonie Bin. If you enjoyed this article, please consider subscribing to his feed.