Here’s something that’s really helped me over the years:
I always have a back up plan for stuff I buy!
Not stuff like groceries or other necessities you need to survive on this planet, but extras like “wants” or even some needs like clothing and Amazon purchases (hah).
#1. Shoes. As you now know I’m a super fan boy of VANS, so usually if I find a pair that fits and is cheap – like from the thrift store or somewhere – I’ll buy it even if it’s not my favorite so long as it has a high chance of me still wearing ’em and enjoying. If I do end up liking them and wanting to keep ’em, I do, but if I don’t I have a list of 3-4 places around town I can easily go to and hock for a few dollars of profit, or at least break even. Which isn’t hard to do when you’re only snagging them for a few bucks ;)
Here’s a pair that in theory I should have loved cuz they’re a bit different and I don’t have any green pairs yet to match my green outfits!
[2019 Vans U.S. Open of Surfing ed.]
As I wore them around town, however, I felt like a complete CLOWN and quickly knew we were not made for each other.
So the next week I walked them into one of my favorite vintage stores and sold them for $15.00 – netting a $7.00 profit. Win-Win! The shop got cool new shoes in their inventory, and I not only got a few bucks back, but more importantly GOT THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE so they’re not constant reminders of how clowny they make me feel.
And that last part’s the important part.
It’s one thing to regret a purchase, but it’s another to be reminded of that regret over and over and OVER again!! Don’t let them drag you down!
If you *know* buying something was a mistake, get rid of at once – from your home and your mind. Even if you completely lose out on the money as it will eat you up every time you set eyes on it!!
#2. I also have back up plans for my books. If I see a book that looks remotely interesting I buy it regardless of the price tag. I learned this from Ramit at I Will Teach You To Be Rich who declared that the knowledge you get from it will always be worth more than the cost of it, even if it’s just a single nugget. Which I wholeheartedly agree with. Plus, it takes away one more decision you have to make in life! “Does this book look interesting? Buy it!” Boom – easy.
Then once you’re finished with the book, benefit #2 comes in: getting rid of it or including it in your personal library!
Now I’m pretty picky so most books never make it to my bookshelf even if they are great (I rarely re-read them), but after sucking out their essentials and then blogging about it for future posterity, the backup plan then gets initiated. Which looks like this:
- Was this a great book? Find someone to give it to!
- Was it an OK book? Donate it. Either to a thrift store or tiny free library.
Done and done 👍
In fact, most of my back up plans include “just donating it” when I’m done with an item or made a wrong decision. Not so easy to stomach if you’re living paycheck to paycheck and every dollar counts, but what a benefit for all those who’ve gotten things under control. It’s a beautiful thing not having to stress about every last decision you make – even if you lose out on a little money in the process!
Which is really what it comes down to at the end of the day – being *at peace* with your purchases and not letting them get in the way of life. And knowing that not all decisions are final either. You can always do something about it if you’ve goofed!
Plan Bs also come with another interesting side affect – it allows you to experiment more with things you normally wouldn’t. This is exactly how I got into skinny jeans… (so maybe don’t follow this advice?! Haha…)
I was 50/50 on whether I’d like them or even DARE wear them around in public as a 40-something, but knowing I could just return them or donate them right back the next day got me to pull the trigger and *test out in real life*. And, well, 4 skinny jean pairs later I actually don’t wear much of anything else these days! I love ’em!
Though I can’t say the same with the decision to buy this weird contraption 😂 I still like the idea of it but have only worn it twice in 4 months:
Other areas these back up plans come in handy:
#3. Coin collecting – I know that at any given point in time I can re-sell the coins or trade them away, even if I don’t get top dollar for it. I go in spurts where I get disenchanted with collecting and wonder if it’s just wasted money sitting there in cute coin form collecting dust, but then others where I find them incredibly fascinating and get immense joy researching and learning all about their history and beauty.
But in both cases it’s helpful knowing there’s a back up plan for when I’m eventually done collecting. Which includes one day donating or lending my local collection to our local museum where others in the community can view and appreciate them too!! A much better use of them, and a challenge that keeps me going since it’s a hard feat to pull off :)
#4. Rare books/other antiquities – Similar to the above, most places will buy back their goods even if its at a discount or store credit. A couple years ago I bought a rare book for $150 that I could never find, and then literally the next week I found the same one – in slightly better condition too – for $75 (!!). I couldn’t believe it. I snatched it up right away knowing I could always re-sell a copy, but ended up just returning the $150 one for store credit to save the hassle. Plus, it’s always more fun to shop with credit :)
#5. Amazon purchases – Just like all families in the country, Amazon is at our door daily. But unlike other families in the country, whenever we buy something we don’t end up liking or needing, we return it RIGHT AWAY!! Which of course they make *super easy* these days not giving anyone an excuse not to…
You literally don’t even have to box up your returns or slap a label on them anymore – you just drop to your nearest UPS store or other spot in your area and the Refund Fairies take ’em away and drop the coins back in your wallet! It’s not hard!
Yet as insanely easy as they make it, people still don’t take the time to return stuff and allow the financial and mental losses to stack up making life progressively more miserable with each day…
So please, for the love of all things money, RETURN THE STUFF YOU DON’T WANT ANYMORE!! And do it right away so you don’t forget or miss the deadline!
A trick I use is just keeping the returns in the back of my trunk, that way when I’m riding around town it’s always with me even if I forget. Or you could pick a day of the week where all returns or donations go out of your house, like Friday afternoons so you start out the weekend with a nice cash or productivity boost ;)
Either way, getting unwanted stuff out of your house and mind is what matters most. So many houses are getting cluttered that don’t need to be and it really isn’t that complicated!
Make your purchases, have those back up plans in place, and continue making your life a little easier by simplifying your decisions.
Lighter in the mind, fuller in the wallet – BOOM.