This time of year it is hard to avoid the barrage of new and used gear sales filling up our Facebook feeds or flooding our inboxes. Last season’s colors, 2015 models, “I got bills to pay so I’m letting this go” sales, and everything in-between is being deeply discounted. Whether it’s a private sale or retailers slashing prices in preparation for new product arrivals in the spring, it’s hard not to be tempted into buying something. Whether you’re flush with a little holiday cash or just shopping for a deal, here are three things to keep in mind before you pull the trigger.
1. Do You Really Need it?
I have a closet and garage full of gear I’ve acquired over the years. Most of it I thought I “needed” and couldn’t live without. While it may have gotten a handful of uses, the bulk of it has lived a long, lonely life collecting dust. Let’s not even begin to add up the cost of all of that slightly used gear taking up shelf space. When you think you’re ready to buy something new, simply ask yourself – do I really need it? Am I going to get some serious mileage out of it or do I simply just want it? Buying things out of want is totally fine, but just be honest with yourself and admit it. If you’re buying something you’ll use only a handful of times in the next six months to a year, consider borrowing it from a friend or renting it from a local outfitter.
2. Buy Quality
While it seems simple enough in theory, many of us (myself included) are quickly lured by the new widget, round shiny object, or deeply discounted “act now” price tag. What typically happens is that we end up buying a second tier product rather than the best we can afford at the time. Sure, we’ll probably get some good mileage out of it, but when it wears out or doesn’t survive for as long as we’d like, we go back to buying another version of the same second tier widget. Had we of just ponied up the funds for the proper item or piece of kit, we’d be much better off in the long run. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean that quality gear has to be the most expensive gear. It means do your research, ask around, and don’t let the current “savings” guile you into getting something you really didn’t want.
3. Plus 1, Minus 2
I am not sure where I first heard this term, but it’s something that has stuck with me for years. It is also one that I’ve personally done a horrible job of following in the past, but have pledged to make a priority in 2016. The “Plus 1, Minus 2” concept is simple. For every new piece of gear you pick up, get rid of two pieces you no longer use. I know that the majority of men subscribe to the “I’ll need it one day” logic, but let’s be real for a moment. Unless you’re planning on opening your own surplus store when the end of days finally come, you could probably stand to part with a few things. Before you buy something new, find two things you’re willing to part with. Sell them and use the cash to buy the new item you’re looking at, or better yet, give them to a friend or neighbor who’d actually put them to good use. If it’s clothing, you might even consider donating them your church or local non-profit.
Keep these three simple points in mind when it comes time to opening up your wallet or hitting that “Buy It Now” button. Not only will you end up with more quality kit, but you’ll get more enjoyment and use out of it in the long run. Plus, you’ll make some others very happy when it is out with the old and in with the new.