There she is. What’s not to love? Actually, when I think of the two years I spent as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa with no electricity or running water, cooking with charcoal, or – as a special treat – kerosene, this stove seems like a Bentley. But that’s not why I love this stove.
I love her because she’s still working great, and we haven’t had to replace her. When we first moved to this house in 2009, I wasn’t thrilled with the stove. We had replaced the 1980s stove in our previous house with a new-to-us Craigslist find with a fancy glass top, and it set us back $175. I loved that stove – easy to clean, and I really like the look of glass-top stoves. Our original stove had kicked the bucket, and after a couple of repairs, it was obvious that continuing to fix it was going to cost more than buying a new stove (since “new” always means Craigslist for us).
But we only had the new stove for about a year before we sold our house and bought a new house with an old stove. Actually, it’s not that old, since the house was built in 1999. But I have no doubt that a lot of people would have considered this stove to be a candidate for replacement soon after moving in, despite the fact that it still works just fine. And in many cases, that would have also involved replacing the microwave, since it’s above the stove.
But here we are, 6+ years later, and that stove continues to be a workhorse in our kitchen. We cook all three meals at home each day, so a stove is an essential piece of equipment for us. But we both know that our favorite thing to buy is our freedom. And we continue to plug away at that goal, with our deposits into our investment accounts comprising the biggest chunk of our monthly expenditures. We spend money when necessary, and sometimes just for fun. But for the most part, we know that continuing to use the stuff we already have – instead of buying new stuff – is a great way to make sure that we continue on our path towards financial independence. And it keeps us humble and easily-impressed, which I’m convinced is an excellent way to live.
One day, when our stove does finally die, we’ll go on Craigslist and find a glass-top stove. It will probably cost us about $200, and it will seem like the fanciest stove in the whole wide world. Our basic 2009 Mazda5 feels like a very high-end car to us, because we’re comparing it to the 1991 Honda Civic we had before it. So does our Craigslist washing machine. And a used glass-top stove will seem similarly awesome when we end up needing it someday.
But that day is not today. Instead, we’ll continue to plug away at putting money into our investment accounts, where it can go and make babies. Our stove reminds me that we’re making good financial choices and setting ourselves up for success rather than just purchasing stuff because it would be nice to have. While the cost of a new-to-us stove would be pretty minor, the stove is just one of just many things we’ve opted not to upgrade, and the cumulative effect is that we keep inching closer to the day when we’ll be able to make decisions without having to factor in the need to earn a living.
So in addition to the fact that our stove works great and keeps our family fed, I also love it because it’s a visual reminder of the fact that many small choices can add up to a big result.