We were walking home from school drop-off and chatting to a neighbour; the usual June chatter: what are you up to this summer? Heading out of town or sticking around? Camps? etc.
He said, “Well, we bought a tent trailer this year, so we’ll try to do some camping. I thought that our vehicle would pull it, but it’s very slow & heavy, so I guess we’ll be getting a new one.”
It goes something like this: I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars a night for vacations, so we will invest in camping instead, which is WAY less costly.
It seems true. Until you buy a trailer. And a new vehicle to pull the trailer. And $20 away your financial margin on gadgets and tools and second items to live in the trailer.
Loads of people love camping and are delighted to spend the money; it’s exactly what they want to do. If that's you, fantastic! Maybe you will use that trailer for years and years and the financial equation will totally come out in your favour. Maybe it's not about money at all, and you want to access places you wouldn’t otherwise, or there are benefits that you can’t replicate in a single location rental. If all of that is the case: great. God bless. Enjoy!
Here’s the thing: I’m not really talking about camping.
This conversation is a perfect example of our tendency to look at money in isolated, incremental ways, rather than the big picture. The first thing my husband said, after we parted ways with the neighbour, was, “I wonder how many weeks of a timeshare we could get for the cost of all that camping equipment.”
His comment obviously reflects his own holiday affinities much more than a dedicated camper, but it also reveals why he’s rarely had regrets when it comes to money he’s spent.
It’s not just about comparing between types of trailers or types of vehicles… as Dan Gilbert said: money doesn’t know what it’s being spent on, whether it’s $100 saved on a car or on groceries. Do I want to spend $15,000 on camping-type vacations, or $15,000 on a house rental on a lake, or $15,000 on renovating my home, or $15,000 to give to disaster relief or refugee assistance??
It’s all the same money, and we’re too smart to let it slip away in “I guess we need a new vehicle now.”
This summer, go in eyes wide open. Practice the art of comparison! Think about the value, to you, of holiday purchases & spending choices. It may sound like a hassle, but trust me, you will actually start feeling better about your money, not worse.
And, if you're going camping, eat a s'more for me! ;)
Dignify’s origin story has long been included, in brief, on our about page, and I refer to it whenever I’ve done interviews or podcasts or if I meet someone in person who inevitably asks, how did you get into this?
I'd like to share a bit of a wider panorama of the story, and an update. I have heard some tremendous stories from customers about the meaning that their blanket has had in some aspect of their life or a relationship. I'm so inspired, I would like to share more of mine, too. The story of dignify is very intertwined with my friend, Kathy.
I've taken a Halloween approach (thus far) that is almost entirely of a free-for-all. As in: Go trick-or-treating, have fun, eat candy, keep it in your room, go wild... and usually by two weeks in, it's all gone, forgotten, or lost its lustre. This week, though, our three kids brought over 1200 candies & chips back into our house (!!!). It was, to understate things... a bit much.
When you find yourself with an abundance of junk food, the idea of throwing it away feels inconceivable (at least for me). Maybe it is that candy is non-perishable, and there is a sense that throwing something edible in the garbage is abhorrently wasteful?
A little behind-the-scenes insight here...
As a store owner, there are loads of resources out in the wilds of the internet, ostensibly to help me succeed in my business. Did you know that I start hearing about Black Friday (as in "are you prepared to break through on Black Friday?") in the summer?
It is SO EASY to find ourselves as consumers in the maelstrom of other people's (and corporations') marketing efforts, and not even remember how we got there, or even notice these (very intentional) forces working away on us.
Here are some actions we can take now to simplify the noise before the noisiest time of the shopping year: —