Hubby and I went to IKEA last weekend to pick up components for a new home office for moi. What triggered this? My sister came to visit over Christmas and saw my office set up – a folding card table. Yeah, I’ve been rocking the college student décor for the 3 years that we’ve been living in our house. It was serviceable but I wished I had more storage and space so I didn’t have to constantly swap out my laptop and sewing machine.
My sister said to me, isn’t it time you get a grownup desk? Had someone else said that to me, I would be super offended. But, my sister knows me well and she is aware of my frugal ways. She is far from being a spendthrift but she does believe that life is short, it’s okay to buy things for yourself.
I had been wanting a new desk for awhile and thought that I can scoop one up for cheap from garage sales or Craigslist. I figured, why pay retail? After all, I have no problems buying used items as it’s my preferred way to save money. The problem is, we drive little cars that aren’t capable of transporting something as large as a desk.
So then I thought about renting a U Haul van but kept putting it off because of the hassle and coordination involved. I was worried that I’d rent a van for the day and not be able to find a desk I wanted. Or, I was afraid that I’d find a desk I like but can’t secure a van in time.
I kept telling myself that the card table’s fine and kept putting off finding a desk that would be better suited to my needs. My sister’s words gave me the push I needed. She had recently revamped her home office with IKEA furniture and raved about it. I finally took the plunge and decided to buy a new desk.
We ended up spending $160 which is not that much money in the grand scheme of things but my frugal heart still died a little inside. I envisioned being able to pick up a used desk for $50 but it just didn’t pan out. I will admit that I really like how my desk looks with the added storage and the clean lines.
A week on, I’m still super happy with my decision. It makes me think of people who decide to spruce up their home when it’s time to sell. They say to themselves, our house looks so nice now, why didn’t we do this sooner?
Sometimes we are so caught up in trying to save money that we end up making things more complicated. Had I just spent the $160 from the get go, I could have had the pleasure of enjoying the new desk for the past three years. Instead, I tortured myself and plotted ways to save money and kept using a card table that was clearly inadequate.
The lesson I learned from this is that it’s okay to press the easy button. Saving money and being frugal are wonderful habits to develop, but it’s important to remind ourselves to not go overboard. I was hunched over a card table for 3 years because I didn’t want to buy a new desk. Was that worth it? No! Sometimes the cheaper option involves more work and time such that it’s worth it to spend a little more money.
I’m reminded of last autumn when the leaves started falling off the trees and it was time to rake leaves. Hubby and I both dread this task because we have desert landscaping and a lot of the leaves get trapped in the plants. It’s a time and labor-intensive task, but we do it because we want to be nice neighbors and we don’t want to be fined by our HOA.
Then, miraculously, we received a flyer in the mail advertising leaves pickup and disposal for $30. What a deal! We called the number on the flyer and arranged for the work to be performed. The frugal thing would have been for us to rake the leaves ourselves, but we pressed the easy button. We decided that $30 is a small price to pay to be able to spend our weekend doing fun stuff instead of raking leaves.
Don’t be so hard on yourselves when you decide to spend money and life easier instead of pursuing the frugal option. Sometimes, our attempts to save money backfire or simply take too much time. Yet, we persist because we don’t want to deviate from the money-saving path.
I’m glad that I learned this valuable lesson. For $160, it’s well worth the price. As someone who works very hard to save money, I sometimes feel guilty about spending money. It’s a constant balancing act. I remind myself that I work hard and save regularly, and it’s okay to spend money if that makes life a little easier. The sky’s not going to crash down. If you spend a bit too much one month, cut back the following math. Everything will balance out.
Have you ever foregone frugality and pressed the easy button?