Letting Go

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been a saver. I got my first bank account when I was five, and I loved to deposit my nickles and dimes and watch my very small balance grow. I’ve never liked to spend money. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get new stuff. But over the years I’ve come up with creative ways to have the stuff I want and entertain myself and my husband without spending much money. So it stands to reason that the few times I’ve spent a lot of money for something, I tend to remember it for a while.
Several years ago, when my husband and I were first dating, he was trying to get me interested in snowboarding. I found out that he didn’t have a helmet ( I’m also a very cautious person, and safety devices are my friends). So one day we went to a winter sports store and I paid $100 each for two snowboard helmets. I didn’t do any research beforehand, I didn’t shop around – I made a purely emotional purchase. And it turned out that the helmet I got for  him ended up being too small. By the time we discovered that it was uncomfortable after a long day on the slopes, it had been several months since I had bought it, and we couldn’t return it. So we bought another one (after some research, for $40). But the unused helmet sat in the back of a closet, reminding me of the $100 I had spent on it. Around the same time I bought the helmets, I also got into rock climbing at my local gym. A girlfriend and I decided to climb together, and took the certification class together. Then we each went and bought our own climbing gear. Normally this would have been something I would have shopped around for, and probably bought used. But in the excitement of the moment, I went to a specialty sporting goods store, and shelled out top dollar for all my climbing gear. For about 6 months, I used it two or three times a week, and had a great time. Then  we moved to a different city, and I no longer had my climbing buddy. So the rock climbing gear went into the closet with the helmet. All of this was about four years ago.
Yesterday, I packed up the helmet and the climbing gear, and took them to a local consignment shop that sells sporting goods. They were happy to have the stuff, and I’ll get some money for it once everything sells. But the best part was the liberating feeling of letting go of things that I had been keeping just because I had spent a lot of money on them. Never mind the fact that they were of no use to  us anymore, and were just taking up space in a closet. The memory of the helmet and climbing gear are enough to remind me to always shop around, especially for big-ticket items, and to not buy impulsively. I don’t actually need to keep things that are no longer useful to me, just because I feel that I didn’t get a good deal when I bought them. And selling them at a consignment store sweetens the deal, because I’ll get a little money for them when they sell. So there’s more room in our closet, a load off my mind, and we’ll get paid for the stuff we’re selling. A good day all around.

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