Guest post from Amanda of Crunchy Hippie Life
It started with a scratch-off card — we had won something!
We called the number on the card and schedule an appointment for someone to come out and look at it. “In return,” the lady said, “we would ask that you watch a one-hour presentation about an air filter system and give your opinion. You can even just say you wish it came in a different color.”
Well, we actually really liked the product. It had great features and seemed to work really well.
Then he pulled out the big seller: a vacuum with all the bells and whistles. It worked really, really well — even the carpet looked happier. The materials were even a hippie’s dream: hemp and cellulose filter, charcoal overlay filter, made in the USA. It had it all.
But it was $3,000!!!
We are still paying a couple thousand in student loans and we have some big purchases coming up.
My husband and I went back and forth for over an hour about this decision. We pay cash for everything, and this was a lot of money. But this product worked much better than our vacuum and was built to last. So we decided to delay our financial goals in favor of this system.
The next morning, we questioned our decision. For the first few hours we kept reminding each other that the vacuum picked up a bunch of dirt even right after we used our vacuum thoroughly. It was an investment, and it even came with free annual servicing.
However, my husband called me later that day in a bit of a panic — he had a nagging suspicion that couldn’t be ignored. He did some thorough internet searches and found many of the same vacuums for sale at drastically reduced prices. It seems many others had given in to the very convincing presentation and wanted to make part of their money back.
Thankfully, we were still within the 3-day waiting period, so we were able to return the vacuum and the air filters!
During our reflection on what decisions led to spend $3,000 on a vacuum, we learned 3 important things:
1. We implemented a 24-hour hold rule.
We got way too excited in the moment and made a very hasty decision. Thanks to this vacuum incident, we now have a 24-hour hold rule for all purchases over $100 — meaning we will wait at least 24 hours before making any purchase that costs more than $100.
2. We recommitted to a budget.
When we had a significantly smaller income, we would have considered this sort of amount of money to be an outrageous amount to spend on something like a vacuum. We wanted to be true to our core beliefs and continue to be frugal.
3. We learned to express gratitude for what we have.
Our little vacuum may not be the top of the line or have lots of cool features, but it’s ours and we will appreciate and take care of it like it is the best vacuum around.
If nothing else, I’m thankful that this experience taught us some perspective and gave us something to work through together as a couple.
We are firm believers in being on the same page when it comes to financial decisions, and I am thankful for the opportunity we had to recommit to that principle. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to stop and be grateful for what we have.
Contentment is a powerful tool when it comes to living on a budget!
Amanda is the RN hippie mama behind Crunchy Hippie Life, where she blogs about natural living, frugal ideas, and her family’s new move to Iowa. When not working or blogging she enjoys sipping a latte at the coffee shop, listening to audiobooks, or taking a walk with her husband and son.