Monday, March 22, 2010

Spending and the charity thrift shop

Used pots and pans on store shelf in thrift store, full frame

Lest you think all my behavior is about being good (staying in my spending plan and saving over 40% of my income), I bring you one of my downfalls: the charity thrift shop. I prefer to buy used for many reasons: being frugal, lower environmental footprint, the good work done with my money. However, my weekly trips usually mean I walk away with something that I need (want) when I stroll through the store.

My latest trip found me leaving the store with a new pair of sandals (I wanted ones with straps for the front and back of my foot), a pasta maker (I want to try making my own), a ceramic pot for plants (it's pretty and I can find a use for it), a cobalt blue glass (my plastic ones are cracking and it's a great color), baby powder (I am running low on the small container I have) and a metal watering can (I have been looking for one and hate how easily the spout on the plastic one broke when I kicked it against the garage wall). Of these, the most useful ones are the watering can and the glass. The rest were optional.

This is how most of my purchases run. I don't need more pots or canning jars or candles or soaps or dishes, but I get them for the just in case/like them/trying something new/possible future gifts. Even if I buy used from a charity thrift shop, I am spending money and it means more clutter, more unnecessary stuff and less money even if I do not spend more than I allocate each month.

My behavior would not be so bad, but I do not always carry through on plans. The stick blender I purchase over a year ago still collects dust rather than mixing up a batch of cold-process soap. I have not using my crockpot much and it's better if I do not discuss all that fabric I bought for all those gift bags I never made. My best move would be not to spend money every time I go to the thrift shop, no matter how good the deal is. However, I like patronizing the shop and would rather make poor spending decisions there than other places.

Am I justifying my existence or a pompous, preaching windbag about my spending habits?

1 comment:

  1. I made a list of my stuff I was not sure if I should keep or toss. I did this because I was 'stuck' on my de-cluttering. It turned out all the items were bits for FUTURE projects. Some items, like a book on how to sketch I've held since high school and never read... and I'm 31 now so I sold it at a garage sale... Ironically a high school girl bought it :) My new goal is to trash all items unless it's a really urgent future project. I realized many future projects (even of my own choosing) are adding stress, not pleasure, to my life. When I'm considering a purchase I ask myself if this is a new project and if so that's a red flag for me. I have 100 projects pending it seems!