I plan to “retire” most of my belongings.
In other words, I’ll completely wear them out along with their usefulness before I replace them.
If you are looking for how to become financially independent, maintaining what you have and completely using up what you’ve already paid for is one way to get there.
Years ago, before I even met my husband, I met an older lady who was moving into a retirement home. She wanted to sell most of her large furniture, including a washer and dryer set that was just a few years old. I needed a good washer and dryer, so I purchased them from her for $75. During the next 12 years, this pair of appliances worked…and worked hard.
We repaired them over and over again, spending less than $200. As the new front loading washer came out on the market, I’ll admit I wanted one. Yet, I was determined to see this washer and dryer through to the grave.
One day, our repairman told us that the wash tub was so rusted out that this would be the washer’s final repair, and to start looking for another one. Front loader, here I come!!! With a large family, I could definitely justify that purchase.
Considering I spent $75 and kept them for about 12 years, the use of that washer and dryer cost us $6.25 annually. Dude.
Maintaining those appliances definitely helped to extend their life, as is true for much of what we own. Keeping dryer vents and filters clean help to make sure that heating elements don’t burn up. Wiping mildew from seals and running vinegar washes once in a while help to maintain the washer. How much appliance life maintenance bought me cannot be quantified, but I believe it made a difference.
Being aware of the condition of our belongings also makes good budgeting sense.
I know that a certain appliance/computer/set of tires is going to need replaced in a few months to a year, largely because I am on top of their current condition. THEN, instead of being caught off guard and consequently purchase something that we really don’t have the money for, we can begin to set aside money for that purchase.
The Morristribe likes to use the “envelope system” which is a highly-sophisticated sounding way of just putting cash in an envelope and saving. Delayed gratification…love it.
Taking the time to maintain what we already own isn’t difficult, it’s only a new habit waiting to be formed.
Here’s a list of things that you might add to your maintenance list, or use to form your first one:
Cars and Farm Equipment – Changing oil and filters, rotating tires, etc. can not only keep your car running longer, but increase re-sale value when the time comes. We drove a Toyota Camry (that Mark bought new before we met) to 248,000 miles. If the body weren’t rusting and ready to fall off, we would have kept it, the engine ran great! I truly believe that meticulously maintaining that car contributed to it’s llloooonnnnngggg life!
We only buy good used cars and equipment now, looking for owners, like us, who maintained them well.
Computers/keyboards – Interior and exterior computer maintenance can save you hundreds. Simply buying a can of air and keeping your keyboard and fans clean of dust and hair can minimize repairs due to overheating.
Coffee pots - I like to run some vinegar water through mine once in a while to dissolve build-up.
Drains – My husband maintains our drains by pouring some drain cleaner down them every month or so. Ask your plumber, this might provide some good questions to ask about your particular system.
Vacuum cleaners – Changing bags and belts in a timely way (not just when they are broke and full) will help extend the life of this essential appliance.
Refrigerator – Keeping this clean, inside and out, will extend it’s life. Just vacuuming the coils on the back can make a big difference.
Dishwasher – Such a neglected part of the kitchen, don’t you think? I so abuse mine, so dishwasher maintenance is even more important.
More personal items might include:
Shoes – We have made shoes last for years and years by maintaining them. Replacing souls of expensive business shoes save hundreds of dollars each year.
Clothing – Making timely repairs on buttons and tears can stretch your clothing budget even further. Catching stains before they set in can save a favorite piece of clothing.
Hair and make-up brushes – I have owned some of my brushes for over 10 years and they look just as good as new as I clean them with mild soap periodically.
Jewelry – Regular cleaning/inspection will extend the life of your wedding ring. It’s really worth dropping it by the jewelry once in a while and learning to clean it at home. For what it’s worth, I use an old toothbrush and a little toothpaste.
Sewing machines – I have an old Viking that I purchased new (like a dummy) back in the day. Maintenance has kept that baby running for over 25 years now. The shop I take it to for oil and cleaning always salivates over it and offers to buy it…..no way.
Maintenance of what we own is an excellent habit to get into!
What’s your longest lasting possession? What do you attribute that to?