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 Post subject: Do you own your stuff?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 3:49 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:46 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Chicago, IL
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92508461&ft=1&f=100

Sorry if this has already been pointed out, but I thought it was an interesting article.

I actually got into this sort of thing with my best friend from high school--- of all things, when presented with, "This stapler doesn't work anymore," he re-tempered the spring...


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 5:22 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:19 pm
Posts: 1780
Location: Ottawa, Canada
I found the article interesting. While I can certainly admire the creativity and innovativeness of people like that, I can't help feeling that they're missing the whole "time is money" element. If it takes you an hour to fix a broken stapler, and a new one can be bought for $3, doesn't that mean you only value your time at $3/hour? I'd rather just spend the $3, buy a new stapler, and spend that hour with my family instead.

That said, we all make compromises, we just draw the line in different places. While I wouldn't waste an hour to save $3, I have no problem mowing my own lawn (might save me $15 by not paying someone else to do it) or changing my own oil in my cars (might save me $30 for an hour's work). Others might view those tasks as "not worth my time", if they're used to making much more per hour, like a CEO or a politician. It's an interesting idea to think about.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 7:51 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:19 am
Posts: 49
Location: New Jersey
I suppose by the definition of that article I do not own my things. The way I see it, there is no point in me trying to fix my broken items because 9 times out of 10, I have no idea what I am doing. And the opportunity cost of me going and finding the means to learn to fix things is much higher than me just getting a new item. Though, I really do admire those who can fix things, I do not need to be one of them.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:04 pm
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kombat wrote:
I found the article interesting. While I can certainly admire the creativity and innovativeness of people like that, I can't help feeling that they're missing the whole "time is money" element.


If we evaluate their time based directly on the value of the item then yes, you're probably right, however I think they are gaining an intangible asset by learning various skills relative to what they're repairing. I don't consider learning lost time.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:26 am 

Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 11:03 am
Posts: 298
Location: Michigan
There's also something to be said for the sustainability of behaving in the way you describe. The time as money paradigm is a bit too simplistic. That said, I'd just buy a new one. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:23 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:38 am
Posts: 280
It depends. I once watched my husband spend an hour jury-rigging a mousepad holder for a 1970s desk using rubber bands and a bookend, so that he didn't have to pay $20 for one at Staples. Foolish in terms of time? You bet. But he got a lot of satisfaction out of the activity. He's just into engineering, and enjoyed the challenge.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:33 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:08 am
Posts: 80
Location: Canada
i loved the article. My SO did a similar thing, he made a system to record his vinyl records into mp3's using a record player he got at a garage sale. [i can't ask him exactly how he did it because he's not here.] I went on the net to see if i could find a similar product. i found one for $200. so not all handy man project are to fix $3 items. personally i don't think we could afford $200 on such a novelty but he had the time. if you still have your record collection you add in all the money you save by not having to buy those songs again. [if there available at all anymore].

When shopping i often figure out how many 'hours at work' it cost for an item and that curbs my spending. but i can only spend so many hours at work. so although 'time is money' i'd still rather spend that time at home fixing things than take a second job to pay to replace them. I'd also rather my SO spend his afternoons figuring out how to use garage sale finds to do things expensive electronics do instead of working extra hours to buy them new. Because thats time we can spend together in the comfort of our home.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 9:09 am 

Joined: Fri May 30, 2008 1:05 pm
Posts: 50
Location: KY
Being able to fix things and build things is always a nice plus, but often the time spent learning and doing these things never really equates to being cost effective uses of time. If they were.. people would be doing this as a full time job.

But I do admit, being able to build furniture, fix about half of our electronics, and do most all general handyman type house work/ home improvements have probably saved my family thousands of dollars every year.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 6:38 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 12:06 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Richmond, VA
Oh I agree..if you are handy, you will save soooo much money every year.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 11:46 am 

Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 8:25 am
Posts: 520
Location: Santa Barbara
If you have free time (most people do, since the average person spends 26 hours a day watching TV, give or take), repairing/improving/building/growing is a great way to spend your time doing something constructive that saves money. I think I've mentioned before my old professor's research where he meticulously cataloged all the time and resources he and his wife spent on their (rather sizable) backyard garden and found out he made all of $2/hour net. But the fact is, you can't be working all the time (nor would you want to). Spending your free time doing something that saves money, even if it doesn't appear to be most economical use of your time, definitely counts for something.

Besides, when the whole s---house goes up in flames, you'll be glad you have a couple extra skills tucked in the back of your mind. (Sorry, just a hyperbolic Jim Morrison reference).

Ryan


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 2:27 am 

Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:46 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Chicago, IL
If nothing else, if you don't spend too much money on it, it's a cheap way to occupy one's time and keep one's mind active once you're sick of freerice for the day.


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