Saying Goodbye to Stuff and Hello to Saving

It’s hard to let go of stuff. Some things make life easier, while other items are nice mementos. Sometimes, though, stuff just gets in the way of life goals, no matter the ease or memories they provide.

Recently, for example, my husband and I sold our third car. That sounds ridiculous even as I write it, but it’s the truth. Mike and I had three cars between the two of us, and I work from home. Yes, that is right. Ridiculous, huh? That’s not the whole story, though…

The Whole Story

This year, we decided to purchase a 1962 VW Bug as a show car. It’s a cute little thing, but it is not practical for an everyday car. There is no heat and no defrost, and there are holes in the door sealants that let in snow, rain, cats, dogs, you name it. Anyway, the intent in purchasing this car was simply to fix it up, drive it occasionally, and show it in an annual car show in which Mike’s whole family participates.

Reasons to Sell

Which brings me to the ants in my pants: Once we bought the Bug, I found no reason to have our second car, a Hyundai Accent commuter car. In my reasoning: 1) I never went anywhere during the day, 2) we had not driven the Accent more than 3,000 miles in a full nine months, and 3) someone in the world needed that car more than we did. Oh, and I wanted to cushion our emergency savings account.

So, bye-bye Hyundai! Hello moola! I am very happy that we sold the Accent because we turned an unnecessary asset into always-welcome cash. We can now invest that cash and watch it grow rather than watch our asset depreciate, unused in our driveway.

Driving it Home

Ok, so the car is sold, the money in my pocket — where does this connect to you? Simply, stuff can deter you from the road to wealth. Hanging on to that third car or that jewelry you never wear because of convenience or memories can hold you back from reaching your financial goals. Also, letting your stuff depreciate, unused, in your driveway, jewelry box, or boat slip costs you money when you could be making money by selling your items and investing the cash.

Further, if you are in a world of debt, selling your stuff can turn your fortune around, or at least get you closer to a positive net worth. The balance here lies in the use you get from the item. For example, selling your wedding ring that you wear every day makes much less sense than selling the boat that you use three times per year. It’s all relative, and only you can decide if selling an item to decrease your debt is worth losing the usefulness of the item.

Photo Credit

Anonymous's picture

MoneyCone wrote:

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 12:49 Comment #: 1

I'm quite similar! In fact every gadget I buy I consider it a 'rent' from Amazon! The only thing I bought for myself this season was an iPod. But before that I sold my old generation iPod for 70% of what I paid for it.

My philosophy is if you don't use something, sell it. You can always buy it back! (of course there are exceptions - don't sell used electric shaver!)

Great post as usual Christa!

Anonymous's picture

Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog wrote:

Tue, 12/21/2010 - 18:17 Comment #: 2

This is a great post. I happen to have an extra car that I'm not sure what to do with at this point. Unfortunately, selling isnt the greatest option because it doesnt run right now. I think i'm going to donate it and take the tax write off.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Wed, 12/22/2010 - 00:19 Comment #: 3

Awesome return on your iPod sale, MoneyCone! I like your buying philosophy -- especially your philosophy on no resales for used electric shavers :)

Jeff, good idea on your tax write off for your car -- it's always nice to know that your belongings can help a worthy charity (and pad your taxes!).

Anonymous's picture

Invest It Wisely wrote:

Thu, 12/23/2010 - 02:43 Comment #: 4

Too much stuff can indeed get in the way. Moving to a 850 sq.ft. condo, so we will decidely be minimalist in our stuff -- but, savings = more vacations and life experiences down the road. Reasonable tradeoff to me.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Thu, 12/23/2010 - 20:00 Comment #: 5

Invest It Wisely -- good luck on minimizing for your move! I would also rather have more life experience than house -- I will always have more fond memories of exploring the Pacific Northwest (and other travels) than I have of the "home" (studio apartment) I lived in in Seattle :))

Anonymous's picture

Carrie wrote:

Sun, 12/26/2010 - 19:38 Comment #: 6

I have a similar story. I had a smart car that I bought because I always wanted one. I drove it a lot in the summer, but it wasn't really great in the snow so it spent a lot of the winter in the garage. I was at the point that I had to make sure I went out and started it every week in the winter. It was expensive to maintain because I had to take it to the Mercedes dealership for service, hello $200 oil change! It was expensive to insure as well. I finally got rid of it in September. I decided that the cost of it wasn't worth the pleasure it gave me. I am now saving the $283/month payment and the $93/month insurance payment. I can also park my other car in the garage now, much appreciated on cold winter mornings.

Christa Palm's picture

Christa Palm wrote:

Mon, 12/27/2010 - 16:20 Comment #: 7

Carrie, bummer and blessing on selling your Smart Car -- I think they are the cutest cars, but they would not be practical in the snow, like you say. Congrats on the saving and the garage space!

Anonymous's picture

Festival of Frugailty - Craigslist Edition wrote:

Tue, 01/11/2011 - 05:30 Comment #: 8

[...] presents Saying Goodbye to Stuff and Hello to Saving posted at [...]

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