Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Make vs Buy
I just finished reading Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes and I think my life is different now. She profiled several folks who are making their life from home instead of making a life based on a career. Her premise, and I agree with it with all my heart, is that people who think you need an external salary to survive are wrong. She knocked down all the counter arguments, like "you need a salary to pay for education," "you need a salary to pay for insurance," "car," etc., etc.
Many of the people she profiled had gotten their gumption to quit the rat race from reading a book called Your Money or Your Life. I haven't read that book (yet), but according to the Amazon description, it advocates a way of saving and spending money that will allow one to quit making a salary. A relevant example is don't buy something when you can make it or do without it.
Case in point - and my current dilemma/decision. (Isn't it funny how life sometimes seems like a headlong rush from one decision or dilemma to the next one!) I bought this loveseat before I even got into this house, I loved it so much. And, when a junk store has something wonderful at a great price - ya gotta know it won't last long. I love the old-timey feel of it and the colors. It's comfortable too!
Anyway - I repaired the pillows last year and you can see that the repair didn't stick. Reason: this sofa, and accompanying wool blanket is what kept the dogs warm through the bitter cold winter days when mommy deserted them and went to work. The vinyl is literally falling apart. Disintegrating, as something 60 years old might be expected to do. I need to either buy new cushions or make new cushions. This enclosed porch faces south - so sitting here this time of year is a religious experience, soaking in the strength of the new sun.
I've already failed Shannon Hayes and whoever wrote Your Money or Your Life because they might argue that I can do without. And I can. Time to get past that failure. My dilemma however, is do I buy new cushions, or make new cushion covers over the existing filling? I'm sad because I would like to have exactly the same material (I love this stuff), or something with the same 50s or 60s attitude and color scheme, and what the stores are selling is bland, industrial material that "goes with everything" and has no character.
Anyway again - this salary-making girl would rather buy something because these pillows have piping and anyone who has sewn piping can tell you that it's a pain to make and sew with. The piping alone will triple (or fourple) how long it will take to make new pillow covers. Making 4 new pillow covers would take me, probably, 20 hours of work, on top of the material cost. Buying pillows might not be that expensive.
Where I get stuck is this...if I'm ever going to be a person who supports myself without a salary, I'm going to have to stop being a person who buys everything. When am I going to stop spending money and start saving it? (Says the person who just spent TWO solid days shopping for relaxation ...)
Oh well - time to stop beating myself up. I'm beginning to see that in addition to planning for the future, I need to change my behavior now if I want to maximize my chances for future success. It's an uncomfortable set of thoughts - this is what I mean, when I say my life is different now.
Edit: Well - that was an easy decision! Make. The stores don't carry cushions of the quality I like and besides - they're all the wrong size.