I'm trying really hard lately to save money. Lowering the heat. Not tooling around on Amazon. And most importantly, not eating out so often (seriously, there's only so much money you can save by switching off lights - it's the restaurants and the shopping that are killing your budget, trust me).
So of course, about ten different items in my house have chosen to fall apart or break, all at approximately the same time...My non-stick pans are no longer non-stick. The scroll feature on my mouse stopped working. And my rice cooker has been routinely undercooking the rice for over a year now. My Dad gave it to me when I was a freshman in college and I've used almost every week since. That's 12 years of service!
I know this obnoxiously Marie Kondo, but I actually thanked my rice cooker and hugged it before I threw it away. I couldn't help it, I was attached! I loved that thing.
But I had to throw it away because it was too broken to give to Goodwill. Plus...I got myself this new rice cooker for Christmas. Once again, it's turned out to be the best thing ever (yep, I guess I'm a grownup now, getting excited about rice cookers.) But the truth is they make cooking dinner so much easier. You just pop in some rice and water, hit a button, and 25 minutes later you have delicious pot of rice. What could be better?
Turns out, having the right tool for the job does make a big difference. Suffering through something that's broken or not working well anymore just isn't worth the money saved sometimes.
Realizing this, I also bit the bullet and bought myself a new wireless mouse. I was avoiding it for so long, because the last one I bought cost over $50! That was almost ten years ago, though, so I didn't even consider the fact it had probably become much cheaper since then.
What the hell was I waiting for! They literally cost $10ish now! I'm a writer and an editor. I use my mouse ALL DAY LONG. I can't believe I was suffering with this herky-jerky, and eventually non-scrolling mouse for MONTHS before I did anything about it. (Does this make me an underbuyer?)
I've also had that ratty old mousepad since college too. But where do you draw the line? If you went through your house and replaced everything that looked a little tatty or wasn't working 100%, you could probably spend $5000 easily. And that's the extra amount of money I want to save up this year (on top of our usual down-payment savings) to set aside for an emergency fund. I'm trying to borrow or reuse old stuff as much as I can, but I also like to have a nice house. It's a tricky balance, and I've never been very good at it, swinging between periods of wild spending to solve (in retrospect) mild problems, to abstaining altogether and doing stupid stuff like eating under-cooked rice for a year because I didn't want to spend $30 on an excellent new rice cooker.
Do you have any suggestions? How can I make better purchasing decisions? Is there a rule of thumb or a list of questions you ask yourself? I'd love to hear your ideas.