Why $7 Deserves the Same Care as $7,000

This is a guest post from Gip Plaster at So Much More Life. (http://www.gipplaster.com)

On July 7, finallygettingtoeven’s writer was featured as the second-ever guest poster on my blog. She told my readers a story about saving $7,000 on a vehicle purchase by doing her research and being willing to drive for hours to a faraway dealer for the best deal.

But I recently made a $7 purchase, and I put in some serious thought before I made it. Here’s why!

I blog at So Much More Life about living a “simple, deliberate life”. That means I try to eliminate useless things, processes and spending from my life. Making deliberate choices rather than spending, working and consuming without thought is my path to a life better than I ever imagined possible.

Among my efforts to simplify my life this year, I’ve been decluttering my home. I started in the kitchen, and one of the things I threw away was a damaged toaster.

Who needs a toaster? I had rarely used the old one, then it got wet and was useless, so it needed to be thrown away.

But every now and then, a guy wants a piece of toast.

A simple toaster costs less than $7 at Walmart, and — I hypothesized — it would be good enough for me. But did I really need it?

The part of my decluttering efforts that I’ve enjoyed most are the now totally clean countertops in the kitchen. But I could keep the toaster underneath and bring it out only when I want to use it.

Still, wasteful spending is something else I’m eliminating. I haven’t bought anything for the house this year and very little in the months before that. I haven’t even had any new clothes. (Three shirts bought from a clearance rack at Macy’s last week went straight back when the first one shrunk in the dryer.)

Toast, I finally decided, is part of a simple life. Nothing is simpler than toasted bread with butter or jelly.

You see, living a simple, deliberate life doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of anything. It means you don’t clutter your life with things that don’t contribute to your happiness. And it means that whatever you do, you do it mindfully. That is, you think about the things you’re doing and their implications.

So make deliberate choices — whether you’re trying to save $7,000 or spend $7 for something that will make your life better.

Choosing carefully will always serve you well.

Gip Plaster writes So Much More Life (http://www.gipplaster.com) because he thought about it awhile, then decided to do it. The growing blog features posts on simple living, very small one-person businesses and so much more. His readers often sign up to get email or RSS updates from him because they’re good people. There are no other kind.

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I fell off the ‘consumer wagon’.

And yes, I bruised my butt when I landed squarely on it.

The wagon stopped, backed up and came to retrieve me. I jumped to my feet, threw my arms in the air and started running the other direction, screaming all the way.

And guess what, I outran the wagon. Yes, yes I did. When it was no longer in sight I hid. I hid in the bushes. Because I knew if the wagon found me, being all vulnerable at the time I could have been persuaded to climb aboard once again.

And that wagon was relentless, it searched high and low for me, it did. But I crouched lower and lower until I was at one with the ground, feeling the stench of the soil in my nostrils. I stayed like this for what seemed to be an eternity. Darkness fell, then light again, over and over, day after day. I slowly drifted in and out of consciousness. The wagon searched on, pacing back and forth like a hungry tiger looking for its prey. But I would not give up, give in, I would not falter. I was finally free of its grip and I would go down fighting if the need be.

Then just like that, it was gone, the wagon. One morning I awoke to sunny blue skies, the birds singing in chorus, the shadow of the wagon no more. It had given up, I was victorious.

I noticed at once that things looked different to me today. Sights were sharper, smells were sweeter, feelings were ‘lighter’, and I realized then that not only had I fallen from the wagon but that I had left all my luggage aboard. All that useless ’stuff’ that I had been carting from place to place. Now my hands were free, my head was clear, there seemed to be a skip in my step.

And so today, when the wagon goes on down the road I stand to the side and let it pass. It no longer attempts to stop and offer me a ride. It knows, what I know, all the offers of a free ride come with a heavy price tag, a very heavy price tag indeed.

Beware the consumer wagon

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