7 Reasonable Alternatives to Buying

By David Ning on 29 July 2010 0 comments
Photo: urbancow

Rumor has it that we tend to spend less in retirement, but it sure seems as though we come up to the buying intersection more frequently as we grow older. Worst of all, it's as if the intersection gets wider with more traffic so our decision gets more complicated as we age too. Will buying that HDTV affect our savings goal? Do I have enough for my kids' college if I change my car now? Luckily, for the most part, buying is rarely our only option. Here are 7 alternatives to buying.

1. Make It Instead

One of the great products of the information superhighway is the abundance of how-to guides and access to people with unique expertise. If you are willing to put in some effort, a vast majority of stuff can actually be made. Note: DIY isn't always cheaper though. There are situations in which DIY is more expensive.

2. Fix What's Broken

Repairing is really becoming a lost art. In our modern society, replacing is often a cheaper solution but fixing is not solely about cost. Fixing is sometimes about convenience and self sufficiency too. Just the other day, a fluorescent light fixture in my home stopped functioning. Despite my efforts, no electrician wanted to come replace it because the job was too small. I ended up taking it apart myself and changing out the ballast, which took all of 15 minutes to do. Could I have eventually found someone that I can pay enough to come by? Of course, but how long will that take?

3. Refurbish What You Already Own

Whether it's giving your car a fresh coat of paint of refinishing your furniture, many of what you already have can be made fresh again. If you've never done this, you might be surprised at how simple updates can completely change the perception of whether something needs to be replaced or not. Note that quality of work matters a good deal. If you are going to repaint your car for instance, it's crucial to find a reputable body shop that can do a good job. Going with the lowest cost is rarely a good idea, so think carefully before you decide!

4. Rent It or Borrow It

Renting often seems expensive, but you may end up spending less money since most people don't use anything to its maximum lifespan. You won't get the initial rush of buying something brand new, but chasing desires is a dangerous road my friend.

5. Barter or Swap for It

Actually, we already do this on a daily basis. We exchange our labor for pieces of paper we call cash in our jobs, then we exchange those pieces of paper into products. Bartering is just skipping the middle step, exchanging labor directly into what we want. Another great way to stretch your dollars is to arrange for a swap. Could your friend use a printer you no longer want who could give you that car seat his daughter grew out of? Caution if you agree to this arrangement: retailers don't like this.

6. Maintain It Before It Breaks

Quite often, we need to replace something because we never took care of it in the first place. Do you regularly clean up the junk on your computer before it slows to a crawl? Do you service your vehicle regularly? Maintenance sometimes seem cumbersome and expensive, but replacing is often much more costly and time consuming.

7. Make Do Without It

Quite often, all that stuff we accumulate becomes just a big pile of junk. And worst, it's hidden in the attic until we move, costing time and money. What's the point? You know the drill. Just make do! [Want to save money on moving? Here are some tips.] Buying is at times necessary but it's not always the only choice. Be creative and you might be able to save even more money than you do now!

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