Why You Should Look After What You’ve Got (Wealth Tip #34)

This really is one of the best money saving tips of them all.

It should also help you to appreciate what you’ve got, to enjoy what you’ve got and to enjoy life more.

It’s Nice To Take Care Of Things

Our society has become way too ‘disposable’ that maybe we forget sometimes how to look after what we’ve got.  Or we buy cheap goods made for next to nothing in China and then are hardly surprised when they fall to pieces.  Then we just buy some more of the same thing because it didn’t cost much in the first place.

In days gone by, things were made to last.  They were manufactured with pride and people paid for the craft and workmanship that went into their production when they bought them  Because goods were relatively expensive (especially compared to some of today’s goods) people would try and repair broken goods if at all possible before considering buying a replacement item.

Why Paying Less Isn’t Always The Best Idea

Some things in todays world are not built to last and if you buy really cheap goods it’s entirely possible that something might fall to pieces and just cannot be fixed.  A more likely scenario is that it can be fixed but you haven’t considered repairing it or wouldn’t know how.  That’s the shame of today’s world. Fair enough things can be produced cheaper and quicker but we are losing something if we constantly throw away anything that’s broken and just buy a new one.

If something is looked after well, it is less likely to break in the first place, or to need costly aftercare.

Some Examples

Some examples – looking after a rug or carpet by – for example – insisting that everyone take their shoes off before walking on it, will prevent it getting soiled and the need for expensive cleaning products.  Keeping a carpet clean and well looked after can save you money, is more hygienic and makes for a more pleasant living environment.  The same goes for ovens, keeping an oven clean prevents the build up of grime and dirt, is more hygienic and saves on buying costly cleaning products.

Looking after machinery – a vacuum cleaner, a washing machine, a boiler, a car … you name it.  Looking after the machine in the first place will save you money on expensive emergenncy repairs or replacements.

Give It A Good Clean

When we lived in London, we had a plumber we always used called Tom.  He was the loveliest man and never in a rush.  He had a look at our boiler twice, once for a general service and the second time for a repair.  Both times he charged about the same, not too much and after both visits I asked him what was wrong.  On both occasions he told me that he’d done pretty much the same thing, he had taken the boiler apart and given it a good clean.  ‘It should be working fine now’ he said on both occasions and gave a 3 month guarantee covering a free re-visit should anything go wrong.  On both occasions he hadn’t replaced any parts he’d just taken it apart, given it a good clean and put it back together again.  Of course this doesn’t always work, sometimes components fail and need to be replaced but he assured me that in all of his years as a plumber, this approach had served him well and usually a good clean is all that was needed.  Note: He also enjoyed doing it this way because he learned more about the boilers.

We recently had a problem with the boiler in our new property.  We have moved so can’t use Tom anymore.  We had an engineer visit, replace two components and leave charging us for an hours labour and the parts in question.  The whole thing took him no more than 10 minutes.  It only occurred to me after he left to wonder if Tom’s approach would have worked here too – he simply replaced 2 parts, he didn’t particularly test or try re-fitting or cleaning the old parts.  Now I’m not suggesting here by any means that you should have a go at fixing your own boiler by cleaning it, I just provide this as an example because I found it interesting that dirt/dust is very often the cause of the problem and this lesson applies to all household items.

The Best Example – Your Car

Probably the best example of a piece of machinery worth looking after is your car.  Look after your car and understand it as much as you can so that you can pre-empt problems. A car is a classic case where a small problem untreated can lead to a much bigger more expensive problem occuring.  Service your car regularly – it might seem like money you’d rather not spend (in which case it’s even better if you can learn to service your car yourself) but it is easily worth it to avoid unexpected repairs.  The more of a surprise an expense is, the more expensive it will be!

In Summary

Not only is it a good idea to look after what you’ve got, it is rewarding and cultivating your skills and handicraft.  In times gone by, most of the eldest in the household would know how to look after things, what to re-use in the kitchen, how to keep things clean, how to mend things, to darn socks … let’s not let these skills disappear completely.

Finally looking after what you have shouldn’t be difficult, it should never be a case of ‘when I get round to it’ or ‘when I get some time’.  The time to maintain something, to give a bit of a clean or to just check something out is the very moment you think it needs it.  If you do this whenever you see something that needs some attention, the amount of attention needed will be small, things will be kept in good condition, you’ll keep on top of what you have and what you need and avoid any expensive surprises.

Leave things too late and when you do need to give things some attention it will be more expensive and you may just get some nasty surprises such as emergency repairs which could have been avoided.


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