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How Often Do I Use This?

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

It's always a good idea to inventory and evaluate. There are items which are priceless, earning their keep over and over again. Then, there are those which only weigh us down with debt. How many items do you have which are earning their keep, and how many do you own which are weighing you down? It's time to cut the cord and let those weights anchor someone else's debt for awhile.


Surprise Finds

Each year my inventory surprises me. Items that I never gave much thought to the rest of the year suddenly open my eyes to their cost. If someone pays monthly for a boat that stays parked in his yard for all but two of the weekends in the year, that's one expensive boating trip!

Last year I was surprised when I factored the cost of my new computer. Even though it is crucial for my work, it still didn't seem to be earning its keep. We had a productivity meeting, and it took on some new tasks such as on-line bill pay and tax filing. All of these new tasks saved me money and thus justified the cost of the new system. Now my monthly payments on the system seemed well worth it.


Happily, last year's inventory showed that my monthly car payments were indispensable. Yet, a few years ago I learned otherwise. While we needed a vehicle other than my car, the one we had wasn't carrying its own weight. People take vehicles for granted, but they shouldn't.


That year I realized that we were driving a gas-guzzling, heavy duty, extended cab pickup which could tow a house, and we didn't need to be. It drank a gallon of gas every eleven miles, and we both commuted nearly twenty-five miles a day. This wasn't our most practical choice. Instead, we re-evaluated our needs. We didn't tow our camper but once a year; it was permanently parked at a campground. We hauled some mulch, leaves, and an occasional piece of lumber. Worse, there was little room for groceries and other small items which couldn't be put in the truck bed.

We decided to trade the truck for an SUV. We didn't get ahead on the payments; they were the same once we paid the truck loan and took another. Where we did save was on the overall package. The SUV allowed us more versatility in use, and with a small landscaping trailer we still can haul larger items. It has the snow traction we need in winter and the passenger room. Meanwhile, we saved money on gas with a few extra miles per gallon, and we downgraded our yearly tags which saved nearly $50 a year. It was the better, and more surprising, choice for us.


The Anchors

The next item we evaluated was the RV. As a solution to our truck problem the year before, we agreed to leave the RV parked at the campground permanently. Now we saw what the RV was costing us. Besides our monthly payments, we paid a rental fee on the site, electric utilities, extra insurance, and maintenance costs. When all was tallied, we immediately decided that this wasn't worth our money.

Investing the yearly costs from the RV in a large vacation seemed to be a better option. We set out to cancel our lease on the site and sell our RV. When our need to enter the outdoors arose, it was wiser to rent a cabin than to pay all year on an item that we only to used a few weekends a year.

The Habit

This year my inventory turned out well. We'd freed ourselves of some dead weight in previous years, and although I still have monthly car payments and a few time payments, the items are worth it - at least for now. Next year, who knows, there might be something else pulling me down.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 25, 20070 found this helpful

Wow, for a minute there in the beginning, I thought
this would be applicable to my home clutter and over abundance of supplies. Now that I've read your idea,


I get the point and believe I can apply that to many of the things I don't really use now, although, I have such low income, with no extra in sight, I feel that what I have stored will be replacements for what always wears out, is spent up, worn, broken, and
covers for most every need. It seems in retrospect that my items are too valuable to toss, since I have
NO help in purchasing anything I need that is beyond
basic bills. I have learned to repair and recycle very
well, so in my case, my clutter is more valuable than
knick-knacks and what-nots. By the grace of God, He has provided supplies, materials, crafts, replacement appliances/parts, clothing when I change sizes, and things to give to others in need.
Now that I cannot afford the gas to gather such things up as I need them, I am ever so grateful to
have found them curbside along the way, which has served me well as I have struggled for

the past 10 yr. now, since I became impoverished
financially, yet spiritually rich during the same time.
Sort of the way hardship draws folks and family closer together? I've had to change my value system
and tolerate less living space, convenience, and
swallow my pride, while peacefully assured that I will not be without basic things such as those essentials for which I have been provided. God bless you. : )

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