As you may already know, I took on a self-imposed ban on purchasing new items. Even though you only read about it for the first time in July, this endeavor began on February 1 of this year. Since then, I accidentally made a purchase (a dog toy) that was immediately destroyed by my black lab, Lily. On the bright side, she still plays with the carcass.
Well, the past six months since I began this challenge have certainly been interesting. In one summer I lost two cars (beaters) to complete engine failure. I had attempted to fix one that cost me about $1000. That hurt considerably. I broke down and finally started shopping used cars a few weeks ago. To keep in the spirit of reduced consumerism, I started looking at the most fuel efficient used cars I could find. Long story longer, my wife and I purchased a new hybrid car. Despite the 0% financing, I still label this as a ‘major violation’. Although in my defense, with the finance savings, it is thousands cheaper than the two-year-old edition.
In the past two weeks I have also lost my shaver (which is a crucial item since I shave my head weekly) and the starter on our other vehicle. On top of this, our garage door opener appears to be on its last legs. I had to replace my shaver on Saturday, which was a $32 endeavor after the government took their cut. My starter on my other vehicle (not the new one!) went out in the parking lot of the store – if that isn’t karma…
Luckily, my cousin is a tow truck operator and he was able to give me the $40 employee rate. The next morning, I procured a rebuilt starter for the truck, which saved me about $43 and kept my investment at $84…or $124 counting the tow. I did the work myself to save a couple hundred more dollars and had it back on the road before the weekend was over!
So I have had a couple of unforeseen issues that have forced me back to the stores. I will NOT allow this to deter me or use it as an excuse to end the challenge. The truth is I actually like NOT buying things. It is mentally challenging to work out my own solutions to my problems. I find useful ways to repurpose the junk in my garage and I have a far better eye for what is garbage – and what things still have some use or value.
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Author Malcolm Johannessen is a Certified Financial Counselor with LSS and he specializes in Foreclosure Prevention Counseling.