This post is from personal finance writer Gwendolyn Pearce, who, since contributing at GRS, has learned that you don’t haggle at farmers’ markets. You just don’t.

It’s time for another monthly challenge. This month, we want to challenge you to look for opportunities to repair something.

As with all of our challenges, this is open to some interpretation. Whether this is bringing an appliance back from the brink, taking steps to repair your credit rating or perhaps re-establishing some relationships that might prove beneficial, it’s useful to learn to assess what could be valuable to you by making a small investment of time and energy. It becomes one of many tools in your financial toolbox that you can use to help make smart financial decisions. So, take a moment to think about what you could take time to repair in your life? Do you want to? Will it be worth it?

I, for one, am taking this challenge literally. I have a set of wooden nesting tables that has been banished to the garage for, well, too long. I originally painted them in bright, fun colors to complement a breezy, tropical décor. First problem, I was only mildly enthusiastic with the paint job and quickly decided it was a shame I didn’t stain them and keep the grain showing. Second problem, a refill of air freshener leaked onto the largest table and ruined the paint job. (Since the revelation that air fresheners strip paint better than paint stripper, I’ve transitioned to a homemade essential oil mixture for scenting my home.) Third problem, one of the smaller tables developed a 6-inch split in the tabletop – presumably under the moderate weight of a large houseplant in a ceramic pot.

I like the size and shape of the tables, and they only cost $20 for the set of three from a garage sale, so I’ve decided that another $20 and a bit of sweat labor is certainly worth it to restore them to a condition I’ll be proud to have back in the house. I already have a palm sander and sandpaper, but I’ll need some wood filler, paint stripper and new stain. I’ll also need some craft motivation, which, I’ll be honest, isn’t easy. I really have to talk myself into repairing things, since most of the time I lack the time, energy or skill required to see results. But considering the time and cost to shop for something new versus the beginner task that this (hopefully) will be, I think this is worth it.

So, what have you repaired lately? Was it worth it? What will you repair this month? How has a repair instead of a replacement benefited you?

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