A Straight Talk on Debt

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Squeezing Out Every Drop of Value

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One of the very important lessons I learned while going through our debt consolidation plan was to squeeze every drop of use out of the things we have. It's all about getting the most value out of the things we buy in order to delay the need to open up the wallet to purchase new things.

Let me give you an example.

In February of 2008 I purchased a chimney charcoal starter for $15. I've used my charcoal chimney several times a week for over six and a half years. It's been the method to start my grill to cook countless burgers, pork chops and steaks. It's also what I used to light my charcoal as I taught myself how to make ribs, brisket, and pulled pork. 

We've made some great food together.

It hasn't looked pretty for several years. 

It's scorched and discolored from years of being exposed to burning hot charcoal. It's rusted from accidentally being left out in the rain. It's no longer round due to the time I threw it across my concrete patio because I left the charcoal in it too long and the handle got too hot. Worst of all, last summer the rivets that hold the product together started to come out.

Over the last two years, it's slowly been coming apart.

Occasionally, my wife would come visit me next to my grill, look at my broken down charcoal starter and tell me I should get a new one. I would just shake my head, refusing to shell out $15 for a new one. I didn't care how ugly my chimney was, or how nonfunctional it appeared.

As long as it held together just enough to keep working, I was going to keep using it.

Sadly, nothing can last forever. 

Over Labor Day weekend, the final rivet finally popped, and my charcoal chimney completely fell apart. I drove to my local hardware store and purchased a new one as we were planning to grill burgers that evening.  

But I didn't pay full price for my new charcoal chimney.

A few months ago, my local hardware store was having a sale in which you could fill out a rebate form and receive a merchandise credit for 11% of your purchase. We did some home improvement projects over one weekend and earned an $11 credit. 

Using my merchandise credit, my new charcoal chimney cost me just over $4.   

Here's to hoping this one lasts another six and a half years!

Have you ever continued to use something even though it was breaking down, and it would have been easy just to buy a new one? What kind of products do you try to squeeze every penny of use out of?

Related Links:

Sales do Not Always Equal Value

Tracking Spending Helps Me Spend Money Wisely

Have My Financial Habits Changed Now That I'm Done With My Debt Consolidation Program?

Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

To connect with Travis on Google+ click

  You can follow Travis on Twitter @DebtChronicles

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  • Haha, Sassy Mamaw.....that's definitely squeezing out value!  I hope it lasts FOREVER!!!

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  • Ran is an existing chimney, easy peas with two other guys to help. Chimney runs up the center of the house so didn’t use the insulation and everything’s working beautifully.

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