Whenever my partner and I look at something (him more than me, actually) to buy, we consider one major thing above all else:
How much is it really going to change your life?
For any particular item, if it isn’t going to change our lives by very much, we either don’t buy it and make do with substitutes or we want to find something for less than what we would pay for as a quality item.
Take for instance, a decision on a new laptop.
My partner the other day was cursing up a blue storm (I had to take Baby Bun out of the house for most of the day) because he was working on his taxes on a tiny little netbook (the only PC computer he owns) that is so tiny it is meant for babies, and hard to read (even for sharp young eyes).
At the end of the day, he comes to me frustrated and says: “What do you use for your taxes? I am thinking I need to buy another PC or something because this netbook is driving me crazy.”
I looked at him wryly and said: “I know. Every time you work on that thing, Baby Bun and I leave. I use VM Fusionware on my Mac so I never have that kind of frustration.”
(VM Fusionware or Parallels are programs that let you run & install a virtual Windows operating system on your Mac without having to use a PC)
Then he said: “Okay, I guess I could buy a new Netbook or Parallels, but I just think to myself, ‘I only do this ONCE a year, is it really worth the money and trouble?'”
I stayed silent, but the answer for me was YES. It takes him twice as long to work on that stupid netbook and on top of all that, he is frustrated, and very touchy when dealing with taxes to begin with, so not having the right tools makes him even grumpier. It ruins my day and his, frankly.
So how much is it going to help?
That’s the real question.
For me, if it is under $100, it will reap dividends year after year if you are able to work comfortably on your normal laptop, with a bigger screen and avoid that frustration, even if it is only for one or two days of the year (still 8 – 16 hours if you look at it!).
I use this question at the back of my mind for every purchase, even for these special detail brushes I was debating over at a store.
I even went through this struggle with wanting a chair to use at the counter. I had been sitting on a folding chair on the floor, and straining my back and shoulders to reach the food on the countertop where we mostly hang out and eat (we don’t have an actual dining table yet, we are waiting we have saved enough in our budget to buy one and it isn’t in the budget for this year or the next until I get work).
I struggled for at least 4 months before throwing in the towel and saying: I NEED THAT CHAIR.
It was hurting my back, shoulders, annoying me, and it wasn’t comfortable for something I used at least three if not four times a day for fairly long periods of time.
So, we decided to buy the chair at $300+. One chair. Singular. My partner was not convinced he needed one as well because he’s super budget-conscious but that’s his prerogative, not mine!
How much was I really going to use it?
Was it worth it?
Is it going to really cut down on time and change my habits / mood?
All good questions to ask before buying something.
In case you’re wondering, I wanted this chair, sturdy, well-made out of wood and the perfect height for the countertop but obviously without the baby seat attachment!
The Stokke Tripp Trapp. I know it’s meant as a baby highchair, but Baby Bun has one already, and not only did I want to match his chair, it is super comfortable even for adults and very sturdy rather than being a flimsy but sexy looking barstool (I hate it when my chair wiggles and moves on me.)