Thursday, August 24, 2023

Thrifty Thursday #14 ~ Would You Rather...?

    Last week, the boys tagged along with me to the thrift store.  I let them take some of their spending money so they could have a little fun doing their own shopping.  James, who is two, has been especially eager to "go buy sumpin'" with the pocket change his grandpa gave him.  He settled on two toy cars for fifty cents.

    He was so excited over his finds and happily took them to the register, but when it came time to pay, he didn't want to give up his money- he wanted both!  I tried in vain to explain to him that when we want something in a store, we have to pay for it.  We give them our money, and they let us take our desired object.  He clung tightly to his coffee can of change (maybe he inherited my frugal gene), equally insistent on having the cars.  I offered to pay for them as I knew he might be too young to understand, but in true toddler fashion, he wanted to do it himself.  Eventually, the kind and patient thrift store volunteer got through to him and said, "If you give me one of your coins, I'll give you a car."  Reluctantly, he gave her a quarter.  She handed him a car, and the process was repeated.  By the time we left, he was happily carrying his cars and still had plenty of change left over in his jar.

    This got me thinking about what it really means to buy something.  Truthfully, I didn't want to give the nice lady my money either, but it happened that I wanted the items I chose more than the money that they required, so I handed it over (without any theatrics) and made the exchange. 

    Every potential transaction is an act of choosing one thing over another.  Most of the time, we cannot have our cake and eat it, too.  We have to ask ourselves, "Would I rather have the money or the item?"  Our decision is based on what we deem more valuable.  We are weighing the use and pleasure of the object against the time it took to earn the money, as well as other things the money could be potentially spent on.  Which is worth more? 

    Maybe you already know you are willing to part with the money, but you have only a certain amount in your budget and have to choose between two items.  I think we have all had to do this, and the same principle applies.  Naturally you are going to choose which item you want or need more.  

    My Shopping Book has really helped me with this.  I know what my personal allowance is each month, and I'm already willing to spend it, so when I see something I like in a store, I will think, "Would I rather have this item, or an item on my wish list?"  I find this helps me avoid impulse purchases.  The items in my shopping book have already been carefully planned out, and I know for sure that I want them.  Buying something else means putting those other items on hold for another month or more, so I have to make a choice!

    I find perspective plays such a huge role in saving and spending.  Taking this view when shopping is just another tool in our money-saving arsenal.  Do you think weighing your purchases this way would help you save money?


  1. Awww....I love the story about James. What a gift to run into a kind lady to check you out.

    1. All of the ladies at our local thrift store are real gems. Our community is blessed to have them!

  2. What a sweet story! He is definitely learning and I love that you are working with him to discover these things! I also had to read the post about the shopping book and I love this idea!

    1. Thank you, Mandy! I'm loving my shopping book. I add to it only when I find something very special, so it helps me keep all of my "wants" in check. And it's fun 😉


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