The other day, I found myself on a kntting supply website. In an attempt to make a dent in my yarn stash, I’ve been crochetting an afghan out of random colors. Well, I’m running out of random colors, which meant that I needed to purchase some yarn.
Wait a minute. The purpose of this project was to use up yarn, not to buy new yarn. I closed the website and made a note to catalog my yarn stash before buying anything new.
You see, before I started really paying attention to my spending and to my budget, I had a tendency to buy a lot of yarn. A whole lot of yarn. I would get a great idea for a project and buy yarn and then never get to the project. I would find great yarn on sale and buy it and then never use it. I would finish a project and end up with three skeins (or more) leftover.
Most knitters/crochetters will laugh at this, but I have three big Rubbermaid bins of yarn hidden around my apartment. Why the laughter? Because in the world of yarn stashes, that’s actually pretty small. People have entire rooms filled with yarn.
So I sat down and cataloged my entire yarn stash and even took pictures of what I had. (Yarnworkers, have you checked out Ravelry.com? It’s a little bit addictive, but a great way to track your projects and your project queue.) And surprise, surprise, some of the colors I was thinking of ordering for my current project were colors I already had hidden away.
The financial lesson here? Well, the first lesson is to not create a stash of anything unless you are sure you are going to use it. It is not a bargain if you wouldn’t have bought it in the first place. And if you do stash something, be it yarn or groceries or golf balls, be sure to keep a record of what you have. It can be a note on the inside of the closet door, a file on your computer, or a fancy log complete with photographs. It’s also not a bad thing to have in case of fire or flood, depending on what you’re stashing.
The other lesson is to take stock of what you have before buying anything new. Who knows what you might have that will be just as good (or even better) than something you already own!
Anyone else keep a stash of something? Yarn? Socks? Candy bars?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.