So, you’re living on a shoestring budget? We can relate! Oh, and you’re in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with limited space? Why, then, are you giving those fancy-schmanzy clothes, gadgets, gizmos the eye when you know you can’t afford them or store them anywhere?
Let’s face it. There are some purchases that will surely make you feel the pinch of a tight budget even more. What’s worse is spending money but having no place to put all the things you’ve bought.
Ask yourself this: if you were to move, would you be delighted to have to pack the new item and take it with you to your new home? Or, would you be annoyed at the heft it adds to your packing boxes and dread finding a place to store it in your new place? If it’s the latter, you might wish to save yourself the trouble by not buying it in the first place.
So, here’s a list of high-priced items that you probably don’t need to waste your money and space on.
1. Extra-large, Jumbo-sized Electronics
Let’s say your TV screen breaks. You’ve always wanted an even bigger screen, so what’s stopping you from checking out the mega-sized flat screens at your local tech store? Well, nothing, really. But, if you are living in a teeny apartment and are on a strict budget, you need to keep in mind how much money you’ll be dropping for a giant TV—and how much space it’ll take up, if you bring it home.
Take a look, first, at how much money you have set aside for rent, food, and utilities. If you’re cutting it close, it’s safer to skip the big TV and go for something smaller, especially because you don’t know what your next apartment might be able to accommodate. (And, yes, chances are you will move on to another apartment. The average renter moves 11.75 times in his lifetime.)
Besides, you might decide that a 42-inch screen suits you just as well as a 50-inch screen would. A good rule of thumb: if it serves the purpose, comes with a decent warranty, and fits in your existing space unobtrusively, there really is no need to get something fancier.
2. Clothes That are Outrageous (and Outrageously Priced)
So, you love that leopard print dress. And, like many budget-conscious renters, you’ve discovered that buying at discount stores or only shopping when sales makes a huge difference. You should splurge and treat yourself, right? Eh, wrong.
Ask yourself this question: “As much as I love this outfit, is it so out-of-the-ordinary that I really won’t get any good usage out of it?”
Knowing that you won’t be able to wear a particular outfit to work or to the grocery store or to the mall might mean it isn’t a great buy. Yes, it’s great to show your style on your night out, but those impulse buys tend to pile up until you’ve got way too many impractical spur-of-the-moment outfits… with no place to store them!
Closet space can be scarce in apartments. And it’s hard to say if you’re next residence will have more or less than what you’re already working with, so you have to be cautious about how much clothing you want to fill your space with and move from place to place.
Of course, there is one exception. If the outfit matches other stuff you’ve got in your closet, it is safe to buy it. For example, you might have a million sweaters, but one more isn’t a big deal as long as you can pair it with two or more clothing items you’ve already got. Remember, you’re out to save space, not add to it! So, unless you know it will be a frequently worn item, you may very well decide that the way-cool outfit just isn’t worth the price tag.
Tip: While we’re on the topic of impulse buys, remember that nothing beats a de-cluttering session. If you haven’t worn something in a year—if all the seasons have passed you by and you still haven’t seen fit to mix and match the piece, now may be the time to donate it to charity and to give yourself the gift of extra space. Try flipping all of your hangers, then live as normal. Revisit your closest in a year, and toss whatever items are still hung up in the wrong direction.
3. Duplicates of “Stuff” You Already Have
From clothes to artwork to furniture to sporting equipment, a lot of people tend to overbuy. But, when you’re a renter, you have to remember that you can’t build a storage shed or add another room to your place to store everything. What you see is what you get. And, if you ever have to move, you might end up with even less space.
So, while it is important to let yourself indulge in certain things, you should still think twice before all purchases. Yes, it’s important to purchase hardy sports gear, but think twice before purchasing the latest model if you’re counting coins and trying to be space-conscious. Yes, Rossignol skis will surely help you slide down the slopes a tad more gracefully, but if you’ve already got a pair of skis, do you really need another?
If, by chance, you’ve got the disposable income and someplace to store the second set of skis, then your original skis will have to move over. But, if not, reconcile to the fact that the luxury line will not do your tight budget or limited storage space any favors. Save that splurge for a later date when your situation is more accommodating to it.