photo credit: daniel spils
My boys and I went through their collection of Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars the other day.
I had bought storage containers to keep the cars organized, and the boys helped me fill up their new cases.
There were 154 toy cars for three boys. My thoughts instantly went to the dollar amount invested in these little vehicles.
Have we really spend more than $150 on toy cars? I was both amazed and a little embarrassed at our collection.
I stressed to my boys that they were lucky to have so many sets of wheels. After all, not every family has a fleet of toys this big.
I realized that these cars were reminders of how often we think it’s alright to purchase things because “they’re only $1.”
These little cars were treats for being good, surprises from grandparents, gifts for birthdays and holidays, and a way to make dentist visits more palatable. They were bought by boys with Tooth Fairy money and earned for being nice to their brothers.
These little cars represented the idea that, as long as the treat wasn’t expensive, it was okay to spoil the kids every now and again.
And what kind of message is that sending? And how often do I treat myself to little things that add up?
That candy bar or bottle of soda, a magazine, or an MP3 download – all those little rewards I buy myself. I can tell myself I’ve had a hard day, I’ve worked hard, I deserve it.
I know that little rewards can help you reach your goals. I know that little rewards can make all the difference when you’ve pulled the budget in so tightly you can hardly breathe.
But all these little things add up. They cost money, they take up space, and it takes time to take care of these things.
We’ve got to do a better job of making the treats a rare occasion instead of the “norm.”
I think we would all appreciate the little things more if they were a little more rare.
Good illustration of how a $1 here and there adds up big. Thanks for posting.
When I first saw your title and the photo, I thought you were going to talk about traffic. That’s a little window into MY mindset. 1 car + 1 car + another car + …. = traffic snarl.
Kathy w says
When I read your blog on the number of cars you accumulated, I could so relate. My son loved those cars when he was little and he would get them all the time from everyone. I really got to thinking how many others things do a accumulate like that just spending a little here and a little there. I am really starting to think twice about the little things I purchase after seeing the end result. Thanks for the reminder!
Angie S says
Food for thought. Thanks for posting!
Barb @ A Life in Balance says
Such a great example of how little things add up! For years, grandparents purchased matchbox cars for my oldest son til he had quite a big collection. Not to mention the hotwheels tracks. We’ve been whittling away at the collection, and we don’t buy the cars or the tracks anymore. The tracks truly are a waste of money!
I used to buy magazines at Christmas time for inspiration. Those babies can really add up at $5/magazine. I’ve disciplined myself not to buy them, and to just review the ones I already have. Pinterest has become a great, free resource for my holiday inspiration, not to mention the rest of the web.
Christina Brown says
Ahhh… Pinterest… My new favorite way to spend online time. At least it’s free!