MMS059: How to Save Money By Making the Old Seem New

MMS059: How to Save Money By Making the Old Seem New

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Executive Summary

Are you constantly trying to update your outdated technology, clothing, and other items? Do you find it takes a lot of money to keep up with these costs?

Michelle Jackson of Shop My Closet joins us to talk about how to save money by giving your old things new shine.

Don’t get caught in the trap of discarding old things — and replacing them with new — before all the usefulness is gone. If something looks dull, you can make it shine again with a few simple strategies. We talk about how you to save money when you breathe new life into something older.

Click to read full transcript

EPISODE 59: How to Save Money By Making the Old Seem New


[00:00:02] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Money Mastermind Show. Let’s talk money.


[00:00:18] GC: Welcome to Money Mastermind Show. Technology and consumerism move at the speed of light these days. You buy any new tech and before you know it, it’s already outdated. What’s popular today, gets old quicker than ever before. Trends come and go before you even know that they’ve been a trend. How do you avoid just buying all the newest things and then just wasting money on it? Today, we have Michelle Jackson of

[00:00:54] MJ: Hi.

[00:00:55] GC: And she’s going to help us explore how to keep the old things new, let’s say. Welcome to the show Michelle.

[00:01:03] MJ: Thank you for having me.

[00:01:05] GC: I’m glad to have you here and the other members of our Money Mastermind Show are Kyle Prevost of, Miranda Marquit of Planting Money Seeds, Tom Drake of the Canadian Finance blog, Peter Anderson of Bible Money Matters, he’s not here with us tonight and myself, Glen Craig of Free from Broke.

If you are watching us live, we do have an event page and if you go on there, there is a Q&A app. If you have any questions on how to make old things new and to save money with that, drop us a question. We’d love to take it.

So how do we make old things seem new again? Just what are some of your thoughts, who has some ideas on making the old new?

[00:01:49] MJ: Well, I did a one year no shopping challenge and quite frankly, you would think that everything would feel really old but you have to be so creative with all the stuff that you have, that tapping into your creativity and like making new outfits or just extending the life of an item becomes a challenge and a lot of fun.

So that actually was a way for me to appreciate what I already had, extend the life of the stuff that I had and just by using creativity and thinking creatively, I was able to really feel good about the stuff that I already had in the house and it actually killed my shopping as well.

[00:02:33] GC: Would you say it’s that you found new ways maybe to use thing or combine things or just the fact that you were able to engage your creativity in it that maybe sparked your interest in some old things?

[00:02:45] MJ: Both and quite frankly, I had no choice but to use the old stuff. So if you’re not shopping for clothes for a year and you have two pairs of jeans that explode on you in front of other people, if that did happen, you basically have to tap into the other stuff that you have now. So I literary had pants explode off me because I use them so much. So then I was like, “Well hey, I’ve got dresses, I might as well wear those,” and those were things that I haven’t touched. It was a really good way to freshen up my wardrobe and enjoy what I already had.

[00:03:24] GC: Yeah, it’s interesting how, you know, I’ll have clothes that maybe sit in the back of the drawer or in the closet and then I’ll pull them out. Usually because it’s the end of the laundry cycle and I haven’t gotten anything else yet and then go, “Oh wait a minute yeah I remember why I like this shirt, or this pants, or whatever.” Sometimes, I remember why I didn’t. But yeah, sometimes you could rediscover things that are there that you didn’t even know, which is nice.

How else? How else could we make some old stuff seem new?

[00:04:01] MM: Well, one of the things that I thought about was something that we did when we owned a house and we were living in Utah was just kind of rearranging furniture. After like five years, we were getting really tired of being in the house and you don’t just run out and — well some people run out and buy a new house — but we weren't going to run out and buy a new house just because we were tired of the house.

We were tired of the look and the feel of the house. It was feeling stale, and we did eventually end up replacing some of the carpet, which helped but that wasn’t particularly cheap. But one of the things that we did to hold us over until we could save up the money rather than running out there and freaking out, was rearranging the furniture and just moving it to a different spots to kind of make things a little bit fresher and changing some of the light fixtures to make things look a lot nicer. You could do that without spending a lot of money. And so that’s something that we did.

And then another thing that we did once was we had this old desk and my husband sanded it down and refinished it. It looked different and really new and it didn’t cost anything. All it cost was a can of stain. So it worked out really well. Those are some things that you can do in your house to spruce things out a little bit without going crazy and spending a lot of money on redecorating.

[00:05:28] TD: Speaking of furniture, we’ve got a lot of hand-me-down furniture and as long as I have toddlers, I’m pretty determined not to replace it with anything new. [Laughter]

[00:05:38] GC: Yeah, just to interrupt, it’s not even a toddler thing. You wait until they’re out in college and then you could buy new furniture, I think.

[00:05:44] TD: Yeah, I had that discussion somewhat recently. Apparently, it’s not toddler so much but we will see how long it can last.

[00:05:49] GC: When they’re older, they tend to carry like other stuff to the couch too and jump around on them a little more often and do all sorts of things, but I don’t want to break any dreams you have of getting new stuff. [Laughter]

[00:06:03] TD: Well, one of the things we did to make some of these couches bearable, because they didn’t exactly look current, was I got some nicely fitted couch covers. Now all our couches and love seats actually look like a set, even though they’re not underneath that all. So for just much less money we can kind of keep it going a lot longer that way.

[00:06:24] GC: Was that a service that came in and did that for you or you got one?

[00:06:28] TD: No, no, you just literary buy a couch cover. It’s not reupholstering, but it’s a cover that fits around it.

[00:06:36] MM: Do you have it on the background there?

[00:06:38] TD: That is one of them actually, yes. [Laughter]

[00:06:43] MJ: At least you don’t have plastic on it like my relatives used to do back in the day.

[00:06:46] TD: No.

[00:06:48] GC: Yeah, yeah, I’ve been there.

[00:06:50] MJ: Then they would take it off maybe and then it would be brand new.

[00:06:55] GC: I don’t think my grandmother ever took the plastic off.

[00:06:58] MM: Well not while you were around anyway.

[00:07:00] MJ: Yeah.

[00:07:01] GC: Yeah. I don’t think she went to so much trouble to bag every piece of it. I think that were 24/7 plastic covers.

[00:07:09] MJ: Yeah.

[00:07:10] KP: “Glen’s coming over!” Bit scramble. [Laughter]

[00:07:13] GC: “No, I do not want to watch him again! You know how much trouble I go through?” I mean that’s a good point though to bring up. Items do depreciate, taking care of things or giving it the right care probably goes a long way to saving having to buy something new. Like what are some ways that we can do that to help things going? I mean we could put plastic on all our furniture. I don’t know that that’s practical, especially on a hot evening like now.

[00:07:55] MM: Just don’t wear shorts.

[00:07:57] GC: I think there is this tendency where because technology is so accessible to buying new things and all these new things are always coming out that people have this tendency that if something happens to it, “Who cares? I’ll just get a new one,” right? Whereas if you maybe take a little bit of care of an item, it can last so much longer and you can save so much money and that by doing simple little things you can save.

[00:08:28] MJ: But I think the issue would be do you have an item that is well made to begin with, that you can put the energy into having it reupholstered or having your shoes taken to a cobbler? Or do you have one of those cheap items that you’ve gotten from inexpensive store where things are manufactured cheaply elsewhere? And I think that’s part of the issue.

If I’m going to maybe H&M, maybe it’s difficult — maybe I’m not going to be as compelled to keep up those items versus a Prada bag, you know? Or if I have beautiful leather shoes versus the stuff that I get at Target, that might play into how I decide to keep that item and manage that item. I think the question is, how much money did you pay in the first place and is it worth it to maintain it in the long run?

[00:09:26] GC: I’m hearing lots of different things. One, is it the issue of because you spent a lot, you want to make sure you take care of it, right?

[00:09:36] MJ: Right.

[00:09:36] GC: You’re not necessarily going to replace that again very quickly or you don’t want to, and I think that’s one part of it. And two, I think it’s also how much of it is the quality of what you’re buying and that it’s going to naturally last longer anyway.

[00:09:53] MJ: Right, exactly

[00:09:54] GC: Do you think those both playing into, or how much does one play into the other and on which purchases do you make that decision on?

[00:10:04] MJ: Well for me, now things are now a little bit different because I’m really into quality versus quality. So if I am buying a good pair of shoes, I’m going to take those to a cobbler instead of tossing them because I’ve probably put some time and effort into getting a good pair of shoes. I kind of buy American most of the time anyway, sorry Canadians [laughs]. For examples, I have boots from Frye and they’re American made boots…

[00:10:31] GC: We wear American cotton.

[00:10:33] MJ: …and they’re expensive. If they get torn up or whatever, I’m going to make sure that I get those fixed. Versus going to H&M and getting a top, maybe I’m not going to be like, “Oh my God, I need to sew that top”. I think that for the typical consumer, that’s part of the issue. We can get so many throw away items that we’re not as mindful about longevity.

[00:11:00] KP: Yeah, I actually find it unbelievable that many of the successful retail models in both Canada and the USA, because now they’re the same stores essentially, are based on the idea that you’ll wear an item three times. I find this especially for young women’s apparel and maybe everyone knows this but it’s a recent observation of mine. My wife was explaining this to me like the trend comes in, it’s super cheap, you can get it manufactured. It’s gonna maximum last you like five times through the wash but that’s fine because you’re supposed to throw it out anyway. That’s just like an amazing — I’m way too lazy to buy a wardrobe. My wardrobe turns over once every eight years, maybe. And that’s out of laziness, not frugality. Like I can’t imagine…

[00:11:46] GC: Is that lazy or is that like a guy versus gal type of thing?

[00:11:51] MM: Okay, so I have like 50, not kidding you, 50 items of clothing. And the only reason I have 50 items of clothing is because — oh and I wrote about this on the blog, but sometime late last year or early this year, I’m not exactly sure when? My husband told me I needed to get more clothes because I had like, I counted, I had like 37 items of clothing. And he’s like, “You need to get more clothes”.
I don’t like to buy clothes. I’ve worn this shirt many times on this show. People who notice these things could probably look back at episodes and see how many times I’ve worn this shirt on this show.

[00:12:35] TD: I think I have more T-shirts than we’ve had shows so I can wear a different one every time. I’ve talked about my hoarding in the past so I’ll leave that alone. [Laughter]

[00:12:47] KP: But to talk to your point about maintenance Glenn, aside from clothes and such, I find that that’s more of my strong suite. I’m not handy so to take something old and make it new again, I just don’t have the creativity. But I am really super conscious of maintenance whether it’s vehicles or anything around the house because I know I’m not good at that and I’m going to have to pay an expert, likely, to fix it.

I can’t get over people that will spend, you know, you think about what $25,000 after tax dollars looks like for a new vehicle and they’ll get this new vehicle. And they won’t even glance at the owner’s manual. I wonder what the percentage is? It’s got to be under 10% that actually glance at the owner’s manual. And I just think, “That that’s insane. How many hours did you work for that possession and now, you’re not going to worry about it?” It’s like, “Oh the oil changers will take care of them themselves and computers do it all anyway these days”. It’s like, “No”.

[00:13:46] GC: Yeah, I mean oil change and rotating your tires, these are the things that I’ve even forgotten too. If you don’t rotate your tires, it’s going to cost you hundreds of dollars when you have to get new tires sooner whereas if you, for five bucks or even free depending on where you go, they’ll rotate them for you and they’ll just last that much longer. Those little types of maintenance things are insanely helpful but people end up throwing away so much money.

[00:14:14] KP: Decks are another one where I’ve seen so many people they build the deck, they love the deck for the first month and then it goes into disrepair. Then the next year when the time comes to refinish it again, it’s like, “Oh, I’ll do that later, I’ll do that later.” aAd then all of a sudden, you’ve got rot and your home is on disaster decks TV show or something and it’s not even safe to be on. And it’s like, wood is supposed to last longer than three years. “I don’t know if you understood that when you initially put it in? But you put on all this effort or you paid a professional to do it and now, you’re not going to spend four to five hours on an afternoon somewhere to stain it again or finish it?” It makes no sense to me. That maintenance will pay for itself like ten times over.

[00:14:58] GC: I think it’s a mindset too that people aren’t developing. They don’t want to put in that extra little elbow grease to keep up and take care of anything.

[00:15:07] MM: But to certain extent though, I mean that’s another thing you have to consider as you’re starting to figure out whether you want to spruce this up or make it look new or make it nice is, you’ve got to look at that time versus money and what you do want to spend your time on? If I had a big, fancy, marvellous deck, and I do have a big deck now at this house and I will probably stain and seal it because it’s awful.

[00:15:35] KP: Do it, do it.

[00:15:36] MM: But to that maintenance thing, maybe you don’t want to spend four or five hours maintaining it, but maybe you want to pay somebody else to do it instead? I guess the thing is, a lot of the time you look at it and say, “Well, I can’t get that time back. This is why I take my oil change to a professional because it takes them 20 minutes and it would take me two hours,” and I think it’s worth it to pay the money for the 20 minutes than spend the time. I can never get the time back and I can make more money.

So I think when you start thinking about, “Well, how am I going to do this? How am I going to spruce this up?” I think you have to look at, “Well, if I spend the time to do this, is that worth my time?” Because time is more valuable than money. You can’t ever get it back. So then it becomes a thing, “Well, do I spend to keep it up? How much money is it going to cost me down the road if I don’t keep it up?” And as far as the time factor goes it’s, “Do I enjoy doing this? I think it will be fun to do the deck so I’ll go do the deck. Because I think it will be fun, it will be a fun use of my time, my son can help me with it and it will be a good learning experience for everyone,” so that will be worth it. That would be a good use of my time but perhaps somebody who doesn’t have that kind of time or doesn’t enjoy doing that sort of work, maybe for them it might be worth it to pay somebody else to do it.

[00:16:56] GC: Or even…

[00:16:56] KP: Either way, it’s a good investment.

[00:16:58] MM: Right, yeah.

[00:16:59] KP: Whether you’re investing in time or your money, it’s way better than every five years replacing whatever you’re working on.

[00:17:05] MM: Oh yeah, for sure. For sure.

[00:17:07] GC: But even then, if you know like I don’t know whether I’m going to keep up with this thing, there is a cost about keeping that you have to understand that it is going in to whatever you might buy. Let’s say in a deck, if you know you’re not going to be good with that, you tend let things slip and whatever. I mean we could talk about setting reminders and doing things like that and I think we know those types of productivity hacks.

But you can also consider that, “Maybe I’m not going to get an actual wood deck. Maybe I’m going to get a synthetic wood deck that’s all weather and you know what? Maybe I just need to tighten the screws once every 10 years.” I don’t know what you need to do to take care of one of these decks but it’s something like that’s a consideration too. In that case, it’s worth spending a little bit more upfront, and it goes back to quality, than having to deal with this every three years and such. You know?

[00:17:58] MJ: I think also just people need to decide what they really want in their homes. I’ve gotten kind of wild and crazy over here and I’ve just started getting rid of stuff. And that eliminates having to manage things that I want to manage. Before I had — Miranda, I have a lot more clothes than you do and I’ve paired down my wardrobe, it’s so embarrassing but like before I had this huge wardrobe. And now I have literary half the wardrobe. Even now, I feel like, “Yeah, I have to get rid of half of it,” and I probably will because I want to keep everything very simple.

I have a much smaller home because I don’t want to be managing a whole bunch of things. So I think sometimes people, instead of letting stuff in their lives that will take too much time to manage and maintain, don’t let it in to begin with. Just keep it simple, and then you won’t have this conversation about creating longevity and things that you could care less about.

[00:18:52] GC: Things take up time, space and money. If you’re not taking care of them, they tend to just take up time and and money somewhere else and it’s even worse. But yeah look, even if you buy, people love a fancy car and they’re great. But then you find out, “Oh well I need special oil for it, I need special gas for it or whatever and this, that, and other thing. All the parts is going to cost more”. So sometimes even buying quality still has its cost also so you always have to understand what’s coming into that.

Buying a bigger home means that you have to do this many more things and maybe you have to flush out the whatever system? I don’t know? But it takes up keeping and you have to understand what’s going in, living a bit simpler can probably eliminate all of that I guess.

What else? Technology is a big thing that we get suck into and I remember about a decade or so ago, going out and buying a fancy new digital camera that I thought was really cool. It took all of but like two years maybe for that thing to be completely blown out of the water by a lot of different other things, before it was obsolete.

I think those types of things happen all the time when you buy new tech and then all of a sudden, it’s out and you go, “What now?” How do we avoid that? It seems like that’s such a “shiny object” thing that we want to have and then we find out it’s kind of dead or quickly outdated.

[00:20:36] KP: I think for me the key is, if you’re going to invest in tech, invest in tech that you’re going to use all the time or that is super important to you. And then, if it ends up that you have to replace it whether it breaks or something happens, at least you can be secured in the knowledge that you got some value out of that product because you used it often.

I had a similar experience Glen where I got a digital camera for Christmas even though I had repeatedly told my mother I didn’t want a digital camera. She got it, it was a great camera, the person that eventually ended up with it loved it and I never needed a digital camera ever.

[00:21:11] GC: Oh no, should we admit that?

[00:21:13] KP: I don’t think I’m shocking anyone here when I say my mom doesn’t listen to the podcast. But anyway, in fact if my mom knew how to describe a podcast, I’d be shocked. But that explains a little bit about the digital camera gift. So anyway, I don’t take a lot of pictures. I don’t do that so I would have never got or used that and then obviously, the smart phone thing came in like you were saying.

For me, even if I maintain my laptops — I’m on my laptop a lot, right? I’m a blogger, I do a lot of nerdy stuff online and I download and watch a lot of things. So my laptops are going to get burned out sooner rather than later, but I got a lot of bang for my buck other than I feel like. Don’t do it for competition’s sake. Just because Apple has the new watch out and your buddy got it if you don’t need an Apple watch — I don’t even know what an Apple watch does that your smart phone doesn’t to be quite honest, but that’s a whole side I thing.

[00:22:10] MM: Well, I think it’s interesting to know that they’ve done studies that show different parts of the brain light up when you get something new or experience something new or see something new and so, that’s one of the things is we crave this novelty. We want this new thing and it makes us happy to see something new, whether it’s like a new picture or if we’re going to a new place or eating a new food. Well maybe not eating a new food, but just new things.

I know I like new things. I think it’s fun to go see new things and have different experiences and I think that falls into the technology, you know, what Kyle was talking about, “Oh hey, I got it and it was fun!” And we like that. And I think that part of our brains and our hardwiring makes it difficult to — we get tired and bored of things and so we want something new. We have to learn how to spruce it up otherwise we’ll be constantly searching for the next novel thing to give us a little kick.

[00:23:11] GC: Yeah, I think finding your really used and not just trying to justify it where you come up with like, “Of course I’m going to all of a sudden take up this new hobby and be awesome and be awesome at it, and spend 24/7 on it,” but really understand yourself and are you really going to get your use out of it so that even if it goes bad in a year technology wise, you’ve gotten value out of it?

For me, I went for the quality route after that camera became really obsolete. I said, “You know what? I want a good camera and I don’t want to spend for a new one every two years”. I’m going to spend a little bit extra and buy a real good quality DSLR. That camera, I’ve had it now for maybe six or seven years and still use it.

[00:24:00] MJ: How do you maintain that camera? What are the things you have to do?

[00:24:02] GC: I keep it away from the kids. They are not supposed to take pictures with it.

[00:24:08] MJ: Okay, fair enough.

[00:24:09] GC: It’s not a lot of upkeep. I mean you keep it in the case and you make sure it stays dust free and clean the lens. It’s not too hard, but we’ve gotten so much more use out of it and it’s not been something that — there’s so many better cameras out even now but this one has been, the quality was so good when I bought it that it really hasn’t become obsolete. You know what I mean?

Even like what Kyle was saying with the computer, because I do the same thing, I am using my computer everywhere and bringing it with me every which way, it was worth me spending more on a computer in the beginning to know that I was getting a good quality computer that I was going to be able to beat up and input whatever I wanted on to it that it was worth spending the money instead of buying the cheapest thing that might break down in a year or two.

[00:25:03] TD: One thing that I found with the computers too is that people start to think that after a few years, “Oh it’s just running really slow, it’s just running really slow. And I don’t know what’s going on,” but it’s normally everything between installing software around and getting viruses even. And sometimes, just going back to a clean operating system does wonders for a computer and I used to fix computers for people on the side and it’s amazing the amount of times that people just sort of give up like two to three years in, “This computer’s too slow. I need a new one,” and it’s really not the case. You can go back to the factory settings on like Dell or HP or anything like that pretty easily and it’s like getting a new computer.

[00:25:46] GC: I found in my older computer, all I did was buy an extra RAM for it.

[00:25:51] TD: That too, yeah.

[00:25:53] GC: I doubled the RAM, it cost me maybe less than a 100 bucks. I don’t even remember, way back when and all of a sudden, it was like brand new for another two years at least. All of a sudden it was fast again, it wasn’t bloated like it was able — for the 100 bucks, I was able to at least push it for another couple of years rather than buy a whole brand new computer. So a little thing like that too.

[00:26:17] MM: Right. Well and I’m looking at repairing my computer, I need to get rid of some of the stuff on it because we had technical difficulties with me in trying to get started today. And I realized that my computer is almost six years old. It probably needs some sort of maintenance done on it but what Tom said really kind of struck a chord with me as well because a few months ago, my son was complaining about how slow his laptop was. “Oh, it’s so slow. It’s so bogged down,” and I looked and I got some antivirus thing called Avast, it’s really great for Macs. And I put it on there, ran it and found more than a dozen infections. He’s amazing, he’s a 12 year old boy. Every site he visits there’s an infection so…[Laughter]

[00:27:12] TD: I’m not touching that.

[00:27:16] MM: Back away slowly, okay I walked into that, just back away slowly. Anyway, we got it all cleaned up. I got the blocking software put in and now, it’s just fine. It runs great.

[00:27:33] TD: Yeah.

[00:27:34] KP: You said your computer’s six years old Miranda, that’s like 89 in regular person years.

[00:27:38] MM: I know, right?

[00:27:39] KP: When you write that much and you’re on it all the time, actually you have like the marathon man of computers there.

[00:27:47] TD: At six years Miranda you’re probably at the point where you probably can’t really fix it that much because like Glen’s example of getting RAM, the types of RAM changed now and then things gets whacked. And you could probably get a new computer for less than any decent fix of yours.

[00:28:04] MM: Well, we’ll clean it up and see what we can do.

[00:28:08] GC: But you know, that goes also to if when you’re buying something new, if you understand how you’re going to use something, spend — and I hate to say spend as much as you can but for something like a computer, almost buy ahead if you can. Get the best chip that you can, get the most RAM that you can, get the biggest hard drive that you can that’s reasonable if you know you want to use it for a period of time. Because sometimes doing it now even though you can get things cheaper later on, sometimes you can’t. It is better to do it now than dealing with getting a new computer because that in itself becomes obsolete.

[00:28:50] MM: I always get mine refurbed. I get mine a model behind and refurbished.

[00:28:55] TD: That’s the cheapest way, yeah.

[00:28:57] GC: And sometimes the refurbs are actually more powerful too. You put the latest chip in it.

[00:29:01] MM: Yeah, I get really good bang for the buck with the refurb because like I said, it’s a model behind. It just turned in by somebody who just has to have the latest thing all the time.

[00:29:12] KP: My wife does the same thing Miranda, she’s had great luck.

[00:29:16] MM: Oh yeah, it’s great. Well, this computer that’s six years old, then my laptop which is coming on two years I think and then my son’s laptop. I mean it’s all been refurb stuff that’s a model behind so it’s great and a good way to save money and you get something new to you.

[00:29:39] KP: Yeah, you still get that shiny cocaine boost in your brain that you were talking about.

[00:29:43] MM: That’s right.

[00:29:46] GC: I think another thing also is like Kyle, you mentioned the Apple watch right? It might be the most amazing product in the world, I don’t know, but it’s brand new and it’s on its first iteration. Whenever you’re buying that first one, you don’t know whether that tech is going to last at all. Is it going to take off? Give it maybe a few cycles to go through, get all the bugs out and let’s find out whether it’s really going to stick with us.

If you look at the first iPhone versus what’s out now, they were vastly different. Because if you would have jump on maybe iPhone 3 or 4, you were in this, like they had their thing set. They knew what they’re going to do, they knew where all the buttons are going to be, but the first couple ones, you were really just paying to get the new thing.

[00:30:35] MJ: Basically, you’re saying resist being an early adapter and look at what happened with Blackberry?

[00:30:44] GC: You know Blackberry, to be fair, were around for a long time. They were the industry standard, but it does show you how something that you think is the greatest thing can disappear also.

[00:30:57] TD: There’s a lot of Canadian dissing this episode.

[00:31:00] KP: It has been. [Laughter]

[00:31:03] MM: I think it’s just Michelle. Michelle has it in for Canada.

[00:31:06] TD: You’re not that far from Canada.

[00:31:08] KP: Hey, well I still uses his I heard. That’s what I saw, he still uses a Blackberry so there we go. The infiltration plan is still underway there.

[00:31:18] MM: My dad has a Blackberry.

[00:31:21] KP: That’s the quickest way to kill a product’s momentum. “I think my dad still has a Blackberry”.

[00:31:28] MM: I know right?

[00:31:30] KP: Done! No one’s buying that ever.

[00:31:32] GC: Yeah, my dad’s Hotmail account is… [Laughter]

[00:31:35] TD: Speaking of phones though, I don’t know about you guys but it seems that every time like maybe three years in, things like the battery starts going and the cost of a replacement battery can be almost as much as the phone. So it seems like they really are meant to be disposable. Right around the contract term..

[00:31:51] KP: I will say this, my new Samsung one — and I am getting no kickback from Samsung to say this — the battery replacement is super easy. That was one of the things that I checked out when I got it, because I am terrible on phones. I forget to charge them all the time so I bought this super-duper aftermarket battery for like next to nothing and I am a tech idiot and I manage to install it pretty easily.

[00:32:16] TD: Yeah, they’re easy on that.

[00:32:18] GC: And sometimes you could find good deals even maybe a slightly used battery or whatever on eBay or on Amazon. and something like that on a cellphone, a new battery might be all you need to keep going for however long that you need it. If it works for you, keep it going. You don’t want to suddenly need to jump into the new thing.

The thing with cellphones is that it just seems like every month there’s another new one coming out that does something else, how do you keep up with even that? But I could say that my latest iPhone is over three years now or almost three years. Will I jump to the new one when it comes out? Maybe, maybe but.

[00:33:05] MM: The iPhone 6 is too big. I’m not loving it.

[00:33:10] MJ: You know what? A tablet, you know like…

[00:33:15] MM: It’s like the size of Tom’s phone.

[00:33:18] TD: You get used to them eventually, yeah.

[00:33:19] MM: It’s killing me.

[00:33:22] KP: I was gonna say, the secret is you just become a 250 pound six foot two guy and it’s all relative, like it looks relatively small in my pocket.

[00:33:32] MM: No, no, have you tried to wear…

[00:33:33] GC: No, it’s actually sits to end.

[00:33:35] MM: Have you tried to wear clothing with pockets made for ladies?

[00:33:38] KP: No, I can honestly say I haven’t.

[00:33:41] MM: Nothing fits in those, much less the iPhone 6.

[00:33:45] GC: You’re not saying women’s clothes, just ones that have pockets…

[00:33:47] KP: You will be shocked to hear I’m not the skinny jeans type.

[00:33:49] GC: …made for the ladies.

[00:33:53] MJ: That’s getting awkward. [Laughter]

[00:33:55] GC: Yeah, we’ve gone a little off task here.

[00:33:59] KP: One thing that I was thinking of when Michelle was talking about the early adapter premium that you pay, which always astounds me is especially the people that are like, “Oh I’ve got credit card debt but I need to be the first one on this band wagon.” For those gamers out there, it’s crazy competitive to jump on the newest PlayStation or Xbox and I know the temptations there but man, it’s always amazing to me after that first Christmas season how quick you can get like 30, 40% off that system and I just think as a value proposition, it’s not very good. I don’t know how you convince your kids of that if you’re buying for your kids, but if you’re buying for yourself, I think that’s a pretty easy way to save some cash to just hold back a little bit.

[00:34:40] GC: And how cheap are you using…

[00:34:40] MJ: You’re going to miss out on stuff, I think that’s the problem with people. They can’t wait.

[00:34:47] MM: You know what’s keeping the PlayStation 3 instead of the PlayStation 4 is the fact that the PlayStation 4 is not backwards compatible.

[00:34:56] KP: Yeah but they do that on purpose.

[00:35:00] MM: I know. The PlayStation 3 was backwards compatible so we got a Rock Band 2 out, we can play that on the PlayStation 3, we got all of my son’s games you can play on the PlayStation 3 but once we get the PlayStation 4, it’s over.

[00:35:19] KP: You might as well just hold out for five now, yeah.

[00:35:22] MM: Keep that thing going, keep that PlayStation 3 going and then that’s one thing. It goes back to that if you can control the impulse to want something new or want to feel part of the in group who has the latest thing, then yeah you can save quite a bit of money by not paying that premium.

[00:35:39] TD: Well the other problem with being an early adopter is when you kind of back the wrong horse, if you’ve got HD, DVD or if you’ve got Betamax players before that or anything like that.

[00:35:49] KP: Do you remember the Saga Saturn, Tom? Do you remember being in that?

[00:35:52] TD: Yeah, I still have one technically, yes.

[00:35:55] KP: That’s a museum piece, someone will buy that.

[00:35:58] TD: Well, I know. I mean I love video games.

[00:36:01] KP: How many games do you have for the Saturn, 8?

[00:36:02] TD: I’ve got every system. I’ve got a lot to do. [Laughs] I was the early adapter for many years, in the past life before I was good with money. I bought every video game system when it came out. I bought a DVD player for almost $1,000 when it first came out and yeah, I know better now but I used to spend money on really stupid things and then watch people buy a DVD player for $200 a year later kind of thing.

[00:36:31] MM: But did it make you feel good for a minute to be like, “Yeah, I paid a $1,000 for this”. Did it make you feel good for just a minute?

[00:36:40] MJ: Did you get that rush?

[00:36:40] TD: Maybe a minute but even back then, long movies on DVD you actually have to flip them still. I just thought it would be easier to play the whole movie.

[00:36:46] MM: Oh my God, I remember those days, yeah.

[00:36:50] KP: The whole game was off like it’s cheaper to be a cocaine addict than to be addicted to it.

[00:36:56] TD: Well, there might be some others too through all that.

[00:36:56] KP: Oh my God, a thousand dollars for it.

[00:36:58] MM: When you like at it like it’s a pretty story.

[00:36:59] KP: Was that first minute great? Like you can just show that’s great? That’s like vain, say like what?

[00:37:06]GC: What are you saying Kyle, is that a way to save?

[00:37:09] KP: No, I’m just thinking. I might have been wondering. I might have been underestimating that rush, that adrenaline rush from the first adopter if it’s that strong as…

[00:37:20] GC: But you know what? That isn’t neurologically like that, it is the same place that’s tapping in. You’re like that’s why you’re the first one to open up the fresh box. I mentioned it last week on a podcast, I love that Amazon Prime and getting that box in the mail. It’s like, “This is awesome. I’m getting a box”, you know? It could be the most boring thing in the world but it’s like, “This is new,” and you open it up and you’re like, “Wow,” and you throw the packaging and then it’s gone and then you’re like, “Alright, I’ve got to order something else now to get that feeling again.”

[00:37:49] KP: Just break up your order into four different orders because it’s prime and it doesn’t really matter anyway. It’s not like the old days where you have to group together stuff. You’d be searching for the five dollar item just to get over the minimum.

[00:38:00] GC: I’m going to make sure I get my money’s worth out of that prime.

[00:38:03] KP: I can just see Glen, “Maybe it’s my new toy! Oh, diapers again, damn”.

[00:38:08] GC: When it came and you get to open it that was awesome, but it does feel good and it’s almost a scary thing too because of how powerful that is. But I think it’s also important to tap into, I mean like how many of us have felt a buyer’s remorse at some point or other. I know I have, I’ll be the first to say it.

[00:38:31] MM: That would be my every debt that I have.

[00:38:34] KP: What was the worst one Michelle, if you don’t mind sharing? It’s just out of curiosity.

[00:38:41] MM: Freshman year in college when I didn’t know anything about money and all of us got credit cards for Express and we bought, I swear to God.

[00:38:53] MM: I did that.

[00:38:54] MJ: You did that too? Oh my God, but this gets worse, we bought about, each of us, bought about a $1,000 worth of clothes and then we didn’t have a car, which makes it even worse. And so we had a shopping cart in upstate New York, because I went to school in upstate New York, pushing the stuff back to college because we had so many bags of stuff. That was the worse.

[00:39:21] KP: I love the commitment to shopping on that. That was awesome.

[00:39:25] MJ: Oh my God, it was great. So yeah, that was pretty bad.

[00:39:30] GC: But I bet it felt awesome though coming back with a shopping cart full until you got the bill.

[00:39:34] MJ: In upstate New York with snow, not really.

[00:39:38] MM: Oh my gosh.

[00:39:40] KP: Just put a blanket over top and people will start throwing money to you as you push the cart.

[00:39:46] MJ: I think they just shook their heads and were like, “What are those stupid girls up to?”

[00:39:53] GC: I think you’re hitting on an important point there though. The availability of credit makes it easy to buy whatever’s new and not worry about it all. Who cares about whether it breaks down, who cares if I lose it? I mean how many of us knows somebody that can’t take care of a cellphone and they just go through them like water almost? Like, “Oh yeah, my cellphone broke” “Again?” “No, no, no, no this one lasted like three months.” And you’re like, “Yeah, they’re supposed to last longer than that,” but it’s so easy when you could put something else on a credit card whatever it is that you don’t necessarily think what the cost is.

[00:40:36] KP: I find cellphones are a great examples too Glen, where it’s like people now consider them a necessity or a fair number of people do. If it breaks, they don’t go through the same cost benefit analysis as they would for another item, where it’s like a tablet take it for an example, well, you weigh the costs and benefits. “If you already have a phone and a computer, is it worth it?” You go back and forth, you look and it’s like, “No, I need a phone today.” You go and then they spend whatever they need to spend to get that new phone or hook up on whatever expensive plan they need to get it. It’s a really weird dynamic that exist with cellphones I think.

[00:41:12] MJ: But I think you have so many people who think about their money deeper than they really do. I mean you’re, come one, you’re talking to a group of people who actually talk about money and write about it and have podcasts, like you are in this verified group of people who are really on task and focused because you’ve worked through whatever was going on before. I love you guys, but you’re giving a lot of people credit for maybe credit that’s not due quite yet.

[00:41:43] MM: But I think Kyle makes a good point though. I mean think about like, let’s say 30 years ago and if you had one coloured TV in your whole house, maybe two, it was a big deal and it was a luxury. But now, it’s like how many people are like, “Oh gosh, got to have the TV”. I mean I still have a 32 inch TV and my gosh, that’s small and even going back even further.

I look at my grandfather who is in his 80’s now and I think about his lifetime and he just looks at the things that we have now that we consider needs. Like a house with 4 bedrooms for two people when you’re talking about families of 10 that used to live in a house with two bedrooms and one bathroom and they now were like, “Everybody’s got to have their own bathroom”. There are so many things that what used to be a luxury becomes the new normal.

[00:42:49] GC: That’s a danger with lifestyle inflation. Once you get that thing at whatever level you’re at, it’s difficult to jump back down. Once you get that first smart phone or once you get that whatever, you don’t want to go, “Well, I’m going to go back to a little flip phone that’s black and white and doesn’t do anything”. Some people can do that but a lot of people find that very difficult to do.

[00:43:14] MM: Yeah, so I used to have a track phone — here it is — and I think about going back to texting where you have to hit the two three times to get to a C right? I think about texting that way now and it makes me sad because I’m so used to turning in, and having my [inaudible] right? I think about going back to a phone like this and I’m just like, “No.” Because I text a lot and you’re right. I mean you just get used to it and you’re like, “Could I go back to this if I had to? Yes, I could. It wouldn’t kill me.”

[00:43:52] KP: I show my students this bad boy. I keep it around in my class just to show that I’m a real dinosaur. They honestly can’t believe that this was ever used. They tried to grab it and they’re trying to talk and get Siri online and I’m like, “Yeah, good luck with that!” But anyway, I plan on selling this to a museum one day. It’s close but yeah.

[00:44:15] TD: There’s got to be a hipster in your class that wants that phone.

[00:44:20] MM: It reminds me of Star Trek 4, “Hello computer”. Everybody is like, “Shhh”, exactly. A keyboard, how quaint.

[00:44:32] GC: I’ve got a bunch of those types of phones all lying around. The kids play with them because there’s not a whole lot we can do with them otherwise. You know we’ve talked about a whole bunch of things here. Before we go, how do we know when it’s okay to upgrade and buy something new?

We’ve talked about ways to avoid it and I think that’s important. I think finding the value in what you want, taking care of things, you know, refreshing what you have and thinking about a whole bunch of different factors is a good thing. But you know, every now and then, you’ve got to buy that something new. What’s your criteria for when you got to bite the bullet and do it?

[00:45:11] KP: For me, when the cost of repairing, both in time and money, starts to overtake the cost of buying something new. In other words, if I’m talking about a vehicle and it’s in the shop once a year, I can stomach that. Usually, depending on the bill, but I can stomach that. But if it’s in the shop every month, now my time and my money it’s now not worth it. It’s singling to me I need to go in another direction.

[00:45:37] GC: How about the rest of you?

[00:45:39] TD: It’s pretty much the same thing. That the idea of looking at a repair, like we just had a dishwasher break on us and we had a repair guy come out and he said, “Oh well, it’s the pump,” or whatever. And he told us how much he could repair it for and it was a couple of hundred dollars and he said, “But the motor is going to go soon too, and that will be $500.” And We’re like, “Okay, well $200 didn’t sound so bad when you could spend $1,000 on a dishwasher but when you put this thing overhanging that the motor is probably going right away too, then we didn’t know if we could be repairing it in a week or two years from now and it was 12 years old. He said that they’re only good for about 10 years, and we had no idea about that either so we broke down and bought a new one because it didn’t make sense to repair it almost up to the cost of buying a brand new one.

[00:46:31] MM: I’m pretty much the same way. The thing that I do though before I run out and buy something is stop and say, “Do I want this thing still? Is this thing still worth having?” And in case of a dishwasher, the answer would be definitely be yes because my goodness. But you know there are some things out there or if the TV breaks down, I wouldn’t be running right out to buy a new one. I can stream that on my computer monitors almost as big as the TV for heaven’s sake. I think I would stop and think before upgrading or buying something new. I would definitely go back and say, “Well, is this something that I really want to replace in the first place”.

[00:47:21] GC: Yeah, I think looking at it and saying like how is it going to affect your life? I mean like really affect it. Not like, “Oh you know, I can’t play the latest game now,” and maybe that’s important to you if that’s really what you’re into. But yeah, what is it going to do? If my computer broke down, that would really hamper me for some reason, you know? And it’s like, “Okay,” like you guys said before, “Okay now the cost of it being broken is a bad thing that’s going to affect me.” But to just buy a new computer because it’s old, that doesn’t really improve anything. It doesn’t really do much and it doesn’t move the needle in my own happiness, let’s just say.

[00:48:02] MJ: With a finances and electronics for me, I have two standards that I work by. With electronics, I just use them until they die. Like literary until they die. I have my Mac that I think actually, my actual Mac is a dud. I’ve had a lot of problems with it but I’m not going to replace this until it literary dies, that’s it. It’s the same with my TV. I just recently replaced my TV and got a flat screen about two years ago. But the other TV was perfectly fine, I mean who cares. It was still working and if I didn’t like what was happening on TV, I could stream stuff on my laptop. That’s one standard, using it until it literary dies or until you break the screen on your iPad or iPod and it scratches your face accidentally.

[00:49:00] GC: When pieces of glass are actually in your face.

[00:49:03] MJ: I’m dealing with that now so that might be replaced soon. The other thing is, “Am I endangered by the item that I’m thinking about replacing?” If it’s like the hot water heater, actually when I bought my place, I don’t think I realized that the hot water heater was as old as it was. One day, I came into the house and I smelled smoke, and discovered that it had the surface had blown.

[00:49:30] KP: Blown the element?

[00:49:31] MJ: Yeah and unfortunately, it’s in my closet so my clothes could have caught on fire. It could have been a big thing. Now, in terms of just maintenance and things like that with appliances, they’ve built in obsolescent so you know those things are going to break. It’s not like 1945 when you’ve got a dishwasher that’s going to last forever so you just need to know they’ve built this thing to break which is crap, pardon my French, and so, “How old is this? When do I start saving money? I need to start saving money now because I will have to replace it.”

Ironically, I have a dishwasher that I’ve never used since I moved in my house. I’m one person, I don’t want to use it. I just don’t want to use it. It does make sense to me. But now I’m at the point where I’m like, “Do I need to remove this or get a new one, because it’s old? Or do I just need to take it out and put a storage area?” Which I think is what I’m going to do for my feature renters who will love me for that.

[00:50:32] KP: Right.

[00:50:33] GC: And it goes back to the cost of the up keep too. When you buy a home, there’s going to be so many things that are going to break and so many things that you’re going to have to pay and you’ve got to know what you’re getting into. When you buy a car, you have to know what you’re getting into or even a computer or whatever it is, a cellphone. You have to know what you’re getting into, what’s going to happen a year down the line, two years down the line, five, ten years down the line, you know?

This has been great. I think we’ve really gotta into a lot of ways that we could avoid spending that extra dollar there. Some people I think might watch it and say, “Oh you guys are just being frugal,” but I don’t think that that’s necessarily the case. I think it literally just putting more value in the things that we have in making sure that we’re not eager to throw away money when we need to.

[00:51:22] MJ: What’s wrong with being frugal? [Laughs]

[00:51:27] GC: Nothing, it still has…

[00:51:28] TD: It’s a bad word to some people.

[00:51:29] MJ: Oh, whatever.

[00:51:31] GC: There’s some stigma on it that it associates maybe a little closer to cheap than it should, like you’re saying before.

[00:51:39] MJ: I like being frugal so I can go to places like Australia, so hey.

[00:51:43] GC: I am with you right there.

[00:51:46] MM: All about priorities right?

[00:51:48] MJ: That’s right.

[00:51:49] GC: But just like you said earlier, for us who understand that, it’s an easy distinction. For people out there, it’s like frugal equals cheap to some people.

[00:52:00] MJ: You’re just throwing my words back at me.

[00:52:01] GC: Yeah, you got that? Any who, what we like to do at the end of our show is to give a final word and kind of sum up everything that we’ve been thinking. So we’ll go around and Kyle, if you’d start us off — the final word on making the old things seem new.

[00:52:20] KP: I guess my final word is just try to find the experts when it comes to making old things seem new and in my case at least that is my grandparents and my parents. I look back and I don’t think I’m happier than they were when they were my age or whenever that was and yet, they reuse things and made old things new all the time. So I know that that’s not the secret to happiness and they sort of knew what they were doing and didn’t need that.

[00:52:48] GC: Miranda, what’s your final word?

[00:52:50] MM: Yeah, just figure out what matters to you as far as time and money and figuring out the value of your money and your time, then deciding what’s worth fixing up, what’s worth getting new and then what you can do yourself and what you want to pay someone else to do.

[00:53:06] GC: Tom, your final word on making the old seem new?

[00:53:09] TD: Well we’re obviously in a very disposable society nowadays where everything is pretty much designed to be thrown out but I think we just have to fight that as much as we can like my dishwasher example. Things will need to go eventually but whenever you can repair something, if the costs work out, you should definitely do it and not just be so quick to replace it for the next great thing.

[00:53:33] GC: And Michelle, if you’ll close out our final word?

[00:53:36] MJ: Tap into your inner dust-filled era relatives like spirit. They’re probably not alive now, because most people that age are, sorry guys, they’re probably gone. But kind of tap into that pioneer spirit where people were like, “Wow, I’ve got this item and there’s 15 ways to make that last for the next two years”. Tap into your creativity, have fun with it. It doesn’t have to be a punishment to create longevity in an item, have fun with it. So I think we sometimes get so wrapped up into this idea of it’s a punishment to save money and think creatively. Have fun with it.

[00:54:22] GC: Good stuff guys. Michelle, for those people who may not be following you and knowing your site, please give them a little bit of a heads up on what you do on your site.

[00:54:33] MM: Okay, I write a blog called the Shop My Closet Project. The URL is and I basically write about lifestyle and personal finance and share my painful stories of money choices gone horribly wrong. but at the same time, I talk about things like dating. Today I talked about dating. I’ve gotten into minimalism and frugality and I have a lot of fun with it. No judgment on my part, if people make mistakes hey, that’s life and kind of just working through the waters of money. And I also have a podcast called Girl Gone Frugal which is on Stitcher and iTunes.

[00:55:20] GC: So there you go, make sure you follow that. Girls Gone Frugal is the podcast right?

[00:55:25] MJ: No, “Girl.”

[00:55:27] GC: Girl Gone Frugal, okay.

[00:55:28] MJ: Not “Oh” that sounded like a horrible…

[00:55:34] GC: Yeah, let’s not go there and

[00:55:40] MJ: Yes.

[00:55:41] GC: Thank you Michelle for joining us and adding your knowledge and sharing your wisdom with our audience and for everyone else out there, until next week. Be good with your money.


ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on the Money Mastermind Show. Get more information at Don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes and YouTube and follow us on Google Plus.




Important issues discussed in this episode:

  • Do you really have to get rid of something that seems older?
  • Is buying something new really the best solution?
  • Can you learn how to save money by adopting strategies to reuse?
  • What are some of the best ways to make the old seem new?

Panelists In This Episode:

For a quick bio of each of our show participants, head on over to our panelists page.

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