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Anatomy of a purchase decision

June 24th, 2012 at 06:30 pm

My attitudes about buying things have really changed in the past year. In fact, it's getting harder and harder to spend all these gift cards i've accumulated.

Case in point. i visited Home Goods a few weeks ago to try to spend a $25 gift card. You don't know how long I browsed the store. Twice down every row. Couldn't find anything I had to have. They must've thought I was trying to shop-lift or something. I did finally settle upon an attractive blue glass bottle wrapped in sisal, and a long, rectangular box made in India from a pinkish stone.

But then I reconsidered. I mean, what was I going to DO with these things. I would find a place for them and then they'd sit. Forever.

But darn. I had to use the gift card on something. So this a.m. I decided to head for TJ Maxx, which is owned by the same company as Marshall's and Home Goods. I figured I would get more use out of clothes and I do seem to have a shortage of presentable tops and bottoms.

I pretty much did the same thing at TJ Maxx as I did at Home Goods. Scourred the racks. Hit the dressing room I think 3 times. I finally settled on a pair of black capris, the kind made for working out, but so comfortable. They could be worn to my office. They were just $10, so I still had $15 to play with. I carefully searched through the shoes and didn't see anything remotely intersting. Then I browsed all the home decor aisles.

I was pretty well set on a largish yellow glass ball covered with macramed rope or something. It had a nautical feel to it. It would go perfectly with the goldish slipper chair I don't really care for, and the creamy yellow vase in my family room. I thought I would get a cute set of colored pencils carved out of wood, for my sister at Xmas.

Ahh, but then it hit me again. Why, I asked myself, am i buying more or less useless things? How will this improve my life? What purpose will these serve?

Reminding myself of my under-employment status (not that I could forget) I tried to think in more practical terms. So I spent the remaining $15 on gourmet imported food and toiletry items, the kinds of things I would never spend money on ordinarily, but since I had to spend it on SOMEthing in the store, i figured food would be a good choice. I would benefit in a tangible way. So i got some very interesting pasta sauce ($6 for the jar!) and some special honey (also $6) imported from Germany. Oh, yes, and a bar of soap with healthy ingredients.

It must have taken me 2 hours just to buy that stuff.

Then I did my usual grocery shopping and got tons of fruit, including nectarines and plums and organic grapes, plus some yummy dark chocolate-covered frozen bananas I'd never tried before. Also got a rotisserie chicken, which I chowed down on for lunch.

Dinner was light, just a large salad with greens from my garden (amazing they haven't bolted yet) and cucumber, tomato and croutons.

There are lots of green cherry tomatoes on my plants but nothing's ripe yet, and the one broccoli plant that had formed a small head, well, i didn't pick it soon enough and in the heat it's started to open up and bloom, so too late to eat it. I have a ton of snow peas in the fridge i need to do something with.

I learned to lift up the hay I've mulched with under the broccoli becus i discovered that's where the slugs hang out during the day and it's much esier to grab and fling them far away, across the lawn, now rather than early evening, when the mosquitos are biting.

So i was looking for slugs under the hay and found a cute little toad who had submerged himself in the soil so just the top of him showed when i lifted the hay, Toads eat slugs. Smile Smile I carefully replaced the hay.

Yesterday I went to Home Depot to get a washer for my garden hose, which is leaking. Of course you have to buy a dozen washers at a time, not just one, but they're only a buck or so. A young man approached me and talked me into a free, at home consultation for kitchen cabinet refinishing/refacing. I had always been curious how much that would cost, and i figured the kid probably made a commission based on how many people he signed up.

Well, i rethought that today. The appointment was to be Tuesday, but what was i thinking? I'm in no position to act on that, and it would be a temptation to do something if the price seemed reasonable. So I called him today to cancel it. Like I said, i did it more for the kid than for myself. Young people are finding it hard to land a job as it is. But i have to think of myself too, and kitchen redos aren't in the plan for 2012. Plus, the house is a MESS and I'd have to do some cleaning if i knew they were coming over.

I got psyched up about making some hypertufa troughs and pots. I've read about it before and had a strong interst, but the blogs I'd read didn't seem quite detailed enough to convince me I could do it. Then I came across a blog today and she had both step by step instructions and photos. It seems pretty easy. I went looking around the house for the right sized containers. You have to nest one inside the other with about an inch of space in between.

I'm all set with my containers, I think, but have to return to Home Depot and get some Portland cement, perlite and peat moss. the cement, i fear, is going to weight a ton. That's going to be the biggest pain, just getting the stuff home.

But I am excited to try it and will do it either tomorrow or next weekend.

5 Responses to “Anatomy of a purchase decision”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    show us pictures of your pots if you make them! I have had a similar issue spending a gift card at times. I don't want something that isn't practical!

    Something to consider...when you need to buy something review your available gift cards first. You wouldn't look at $10 in your wallet and say I need to go spend it, what should I buy. At least that is what I would do.

  2. Analise Says:

    I love the rustic look of hypertufa pots and planters. They'd make a nice gift, especially if planted with some hearty succulents or small perennial plants. Would love to see pics when you're finished.

    As long as your GCs don't expire, you can always use them to buy gifts for friends/family, an easier task than trying to find something (you really don't need) for your house.

  3. CB in the City Says:

    I use gift cards/credits for gifts -- but then I have quite a bit of family and a lot of expectations in that area. If I had to buy for myself, I would lean toward clothing and food, as you have.

  4. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    Can you sell off your gift cards to one of those card swap websites? You can sometimes get up to 90% of it's value.

  5. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    You could also possibly sell your gift cards on Ebay - sometimes for 100+% of value. I've done that several times over the years.

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