Terribly Inefficient

August 16, 2011 · 27 comments

We moved in to our new place one month ago, yet we still haven’t managed to go a single day without stopping at Target, Walmart, or Home Depot. Just when we think we have bought the last thing on our list, we remember a few more things. I don’t know if Girl Ninja would agree, but I think we have been terribly inefficient during this “nesting” process. Full disclosure…. I’M THE ONE TO BLAME!

One example that comes to mind is our epic hunt for a dust pan. Yes, a dust pan. We stopped in at Walmart and they offered a pretty mediocre dustpan/brush combination for $5.99. The dust pan had that stupid piece of rubber across the mouth that always warps and makes it impossible to pick up dirt. Since, I wasn’t comfortable purchasing the Walmart dust pan, I asked Girl Ninja if I could try and find one online for cheaper.

A quick search on Amazon made me realize that I was either going to get an equally crappy dustpan for $5, or I needed to step it up and fork over $9.99 for the Cadillac of dust pans. Last night, I added a $10 OXO dust pan to my Amazon cart, and just before I was about to select “checkout”, I panicked and thought “Do I really need to pay twice as much for something as insignificant as a dust pan?”. I ended up deleting the dustpan from my cart. But now, as I sit here typing this post, I’m thinking “What the heck Ninja, you need a freakin’ dustpan, is $10 really going to break the bank?”

Basically, I make everything about Eleventy-Bajillion times more complicated that necessary. I have a sick obsession with trying to find the best deal possible. It makes shopping trips miserable because we run to three different stores, cyber stalk the internetz, and still end up empty handed.

My psychotic need to get the best value totally sucks. Can any of you relate? Do you often find yourself checking prices on your iPhone while you are in a store, to make sure you can’t find something cheaper online? Do I buy the $5.99 dust pan, or the $10?!!??!?!?! AHHHHH!

p.s. Girl Ninja has a post going up at 9:30am Left Coast time.

{ 27 comments }

1 James

Ninja, I think clearly you should buy the $10 one. Think about what’ll happen when the (a-ha! Someone else who hates it!) stupid rubber strip warps – all you’ll say is, “Damn, I should’ve spent the extra $4!”

2 StackingCash

Yeah, I have a similar problem. Being a perfectionist causes us to hold out for the best possible situation but in the long run it just causes stress. As Nike says, “Just Do It!”

3 LittleGeorge

Think of your time on an hourly basis and the gas money spent driving looking for stuff. Sometimes the more expensive ($4? NOT expensive) is not that expensive when you consider your time also has a monetary value to it. Even if you only made $8 an hour, the 15 minutes you spent pondering it is still $2 of your time gone, that’s half way to the new better dust pan!

Then again, how long does a good dustpan last anyway? You could buy the 2 crappy ones in the same lifetime of the one good one, then you get a nice new clean one halfway through that time.

good luck!

4 Tiffany

I agree. I always think I could save $5-10 to drive somewhere else, but is it worth my time? Nope. I’d rather just fork over an extra couple of bucks and be done with it.

5 Melissa

Do you guys not have a dollar store close to you? I got my dust pan years ago from the local Dollarama and it’s still holding up strong.

6 Mo D.

Live on the edge… go for the $10 primo dustpan!! I can promise you, you WILL play the “shoulda, woulda, coulda” game when el-cheapo dustpan warps in record time. In the grand scheme of things, what’s an extra $4?

I remember when we took possession of our condo; for weeks, EVERY TIME we went out, we came back with that “one last item, and we’re done shopping for our home”. I’m sure it’ll happen again next year when we look to sell our place and buy a townhouse… I really don’t enjoy shopping, so it WILL be a painful time ;-)

Can’t wait to read GN’s post! YYEEAAHH!!!

7 Larry

You’re probably spending more in time and gas than you’re saving. Of course the best solution would be to maintain a totally clean environment where no dust is produced; in that way you can save even more.

8 Jonathan

I try to always buy the best of any item that I can afford, that way it doesnt have to be bought twice. By the way, How is your brother? I hope he is recovering ok.

9 cashflowmantra

All the Cadillac of dust pans has to do is last twice as long as the other then it would be a great deal. Just take good care of it, and I am sure that you can make it last a lifetime.

10 Larry

Sure. Just think of it this way: assume you’re both about 25 and will both live to age 90. That’s a combined total of 130 remaining years. At that rate, a nominal $10 plus WA 6.5% sales tax is costing you practically nothing (about $.08 a year if my calculation is correct). If you factor in expected inflation at an average rate of 3% a year and/or you leave the dustpan to your heirs, you’re saving even more!

11 Larry

Oops. Maybe that should have been $.008 a year. I suck at math.

12 MK

XOXO is a brand that’s sold at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Find a 20% off coupon, go to the store and pick it up so it will be less than the $10 on Amazon anyway!

13 Carly

It sounds like this might be something that could be easily solved by just allowing Girl Ninja to run these sorts of errands. She would probably have the same concerns about getting a cheap one, and it wouldn’t cause her as much stress to just pick up a $10 dust pan at Target. I’m sure this isn’t the only example of where it would be more efficient to just have one person make these kinds of decisions.

14 slug | sunkcostsareirrelevant.com

Well, at least you have realized the impact your obsessiveness as on the experience of others and utter inefficiency you’re creating both in terms of time and brain space. With the these things in mind your rational brain will not tolerate the behavior, and I expect you to get better with time without the support of medication or therapy.

15 No Debt MBA

I totally do this. It probably saves us some money but is a terrible ROI for my time.

16 Taylor

There is a black dust pan that Home Depot sells that is pretty spectacular. It holds up well in remodeling and basic home clean situations.

17 Momninja

I love the scan app for my iphone and I do use it – if I can get it cheaper at Amazon since I am a prime member and 2 day shipping is free I will wait the 2 days.

18 Emily

I bought a cheapy dollar store dustpan until I found a “kick butt from the era of the indestructable” set of three metal ones for 50 cents at an estate sale. Grainger sells the metal ones brand new if you’re willing to invest the money in a good dustpan.

19 Joe C Skrizel

i do this with big ticket items with a value of over $1,000 but for a savings of 4 bucks to stress out this much is a waste of time. Time value of money if you waste an hour thinking about your dust pan, with driving aroud and searching the net you still have wasted an hour of your life and even at minimum wage you have lost money on the deal. Little things = just do it, big things = worth the research

20 Money Beagle

I’m the same way and nine times out of ten, I will regret not buying the ‘premium dustpan’ if I don’t.

21 Matt

I will contribute $10 for your counseling needs. $6.00 vs. $10 online. Go with the six dollar one. I am like you and I always want to select quality products that will last me forever, but a dust pan is a dust pan.

22 Erin

I am also very particular about dustpans and I found a pretty great one at IKEA last year. It has that rubbery strip, but has not warped in about a year of regular use. Best part — it was $2: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70170329.

23 20 and Engaged

I can relate, and it’s a hard habit to break. You’re the epitome of a bargain shopper. It’s nothing wrong with that, until it starts interfering with your life or your shopping trips. A dust pan, it’s something you’re going to use a lot, so why not spend what you need to for a good one?

24 Paul Williams

Yep, I’m guilty of this, too. I’m learning to be more flexible though and not be obsessed with finding the BEST possible price. My time is worth something – and it’s often worth more than the savings I get through my OCD shopping habits.

25 Sara

I definitely do the same thing, except that I pull the trigger faster than you do. I can’t ever buy anything at Borders because whenever I’m there, I look up the price on Amazon and balk at paying more for it right then. :P

26 Denise

haha I definitely do this. Sometimes I end up finding the “best deal ever!”, and then need to tell everyone about it to show off my excellent bargain-hunting determination/skills, AND to make myself feel like that extra time was worth it. But at least half the time I waste a lot of time and energy trying to save some cash, get frustrated, and then I usually go for the slightly more expensive item because at least it will last longer (warp-free dustpan) and/or irritate me less (less dust evading the dustpan).

27 ShoeGal

I do the exact same thing, and drive myself crazy…probably end up wasting the savings on gas in the process.

Previous post:

Next post: