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The Consequences of Owning Six Winter Coats

Posted on January 26th, 2010 by Terrell Meek |

I recently had a closet mishap which forced me to acknowledge that I own too many clothes, bags and shoes. I found things I had completely forgotten about and things I was holding on to in the hopes they would one day fit again or be back in fashion. How can I call myself thrifty and resourceful when my closet is overflowing with unused and unappreciated items?

As I’ve stated before, being thrifty means spending money thoughtfully. Having a handle on your possessions can help prevent you from wasting money on things you already own or things you probably won’t use.

If you have not taken stock of the contents of your closet in the past year or more, I challenge you to do so. It is enlightening. For example, my own closet contains six heavy-weight winter coats. You may not think that owning six attractive coats all in excellent condition could be a problem.

Here’s why I do:

1) These coats take up a lot of room in my closet which causes a storage shortage in my apartment. The less space I have to store things, the more time, money and energy I spend on organizing. Clutter is proven to be a huge cause of stress, and no one I know likes to be stressed.

2) It’s honestly hard for me to remember to wear every coat I own. It’s not that I have short-term memory loss, but since I don’t have a large, walk-in closet, I have to store my coats in multiple places throughout the apartment. The coats in the hall closet and on the hooks near the front door get worn most often. The coats in my bedroom closet barely see the light of day. I could switch them out or devise some sort of system to help me remember which coats to wear with which outfit, but to me, a simpler solution would be to downsize my coat collection.

3) Apparently, I have spent a fair amount of my hard-earned money on coats. To an extent, this doesn’t bother me. I mean, I need coats to stay warm and dry. But, by recognizing my needs versus my wants, I could’ve probably saved a couple hundred dollars—money that could go towards a future down payment on a house.

Please don’t get the wrong idea, that I’m beating myself up over past purchases. My intention is to illustrate that being thrifty takes effort and vigilance. It’s easier to buy things on impulse than it is to think through the consequences. In my case, the consequence of having too much stuff was a busted bureau drawer—a little reminder to keep my eye on my inventory.

Terrell Meek has worked for more than six years as a marketer for Verity Credit Union, advocating the benefits of financial responsibility.

A born saver, Terrell credits her parents with teaching her sound financial habits at an early age. She believes one of the keys to a satisfying life is learning to live simply.

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