It is no secret that we live in a throwaway society. Companies spend millions of dollars in advertising to ingrain the habit of discarding old and broken merchandise in favor of new replacements.
Even though our ad consumption is way down (cutting cable TV will have that effect) I still have to consciously consider what to do when something breaks in our household. This is not a new topic for this blog as I previously wrote about it here (Squeezing Every Penny).
Last week I caught myself again in the consumerist mentality when the bicycle pump broke. The pump is probably 6-7 years old and is used mostly for inflating car and jogging stroller tires.
The rubber hosing had fatigued and snapped off by the chuck. My first thought was to toss the whole thing and go to the store for a new one, but like the mower last year, I realized that was stupid and it was indeed a simple fix.
By unthreading the collar and cutting off the bad section of tubing, I was able to reconnect the hose to the chuck.
It is good as new and I saved $10-20 in the process.
You may be thinking to yourself, what’s the big deal about a $10 bicycle pump, it isn’t that much money. The important takeaway from this is the mentality. If you regularly repair and extend the useful lifespan of simple everyday objects then you are more likely to do the same for expensive items as well.
Case in point, I just spent this morning upgrading my work computer to the latest operating system. The computer hardware is not officially supported. I could have taken the consumerist attitude and spent $2,000 to buy new supported hardware that met my business requirements or I could take the frugal mindset and extend the life of perfectly capable hardware for a total of $0 (plus an evening and morning of tinkering around).