Learning to Shop Wisely - The Rule of 3!
When I was taking my Interior Design classes in college, in one
of my classes I was given a special project. We were to go
downtown shopping. We were to buy something for a small amount
of money. It could be anything, but it had to be able to serve 3
It was interesting to see all the different objects people
purchased, and their explanations on how they could be used.
Most of all, it was a great lesson in creativity and versatility.
I call it the Rule of Three. If you can find three uses for
something you want to buy, it will never be wasted.
Our pioneer ancestors, who had to be frugal by necessity,
followed this rule. Everything in their home was used, worn out,
or recycled, and served as many purposes as possible.
An example of this is their eating table. It was called their
Harvest Table. The wood was only finished nicely on one side.
They did this so that in the fall, when the crops came in, they
could take the table outside, turn it over, and place their
precious bounty of crops on it for sorting and cutting.
We do not face the same challenges as our ancestors. However, we
have our own obstacles to rein in our spending. We are bombarded
from every direction with temptations to overspend and go into
One of the easiest ways to waste money is in the needless, or
impulse spending on clothing. Our society is extremely visual.
We place far too much importance on our looks and clothing.
Trying to keep up with fashion is very expensive.
However, with proper planning, we can keep this expense down. A
few well-chosen clothes can go a long way. For instance, if you
buy a dress, there is not a lot of versatility. However, if you
buy a sweater, you can find many uses for it. You can wear it
casually with pants, or dress it up with a skirt. It can also
just be worn for warmth. It meets the Rule of Three.
An object like a glass bowl has many uses. You can use it for
food, either serving or preparation. You can fill it with fruit
and use it decoratively on your countertop or table. You can
fill it with potpourri. You can even throw up in it when you are
Same thing for a simple basket. I'm sure you could come up with
a dozen uses, from yarn to bills, magazines to food, floral
arrangements to endless storage ideas. What could be more
Here's another way to look at it. Think of your hands. How many
purposes can you think of for them? Probably more than about
anything else. Now think of buying a pearl ring for one of your
fingers. What purpose does that ring serve? It is decorative,
and worn for only one reason- to look good.
If you tire of that ring, or your fingers get larger and it
can't be sized, is there any other purpose for that ring? Not
really, unless you remove the stone and put it in another
setting (which will be expensive) or give it to someone. So just
be sure you really want that ring before you buy it.
On the other hand (no pun intended) when you buy a wedding ring,
it has several purposes. It is a symbol of your marriage union.
It has sentimental value. It is also decorative. It could be
said to be used for security in some ways. It passes the Rule of
Here are some other examples to further illustrate my point:
SOFA SLEEPER Used as a bed. Seating for company. Seating for
Used to pay bills. Used to write letters. Used for studying.
Used to mix waffle batter. Used to beat eggs. Used to make
Seal letters. Sewing aid. Wrap presents. One last example of a
single purpose item is a piano. Now then, I couldn't live
without mine, but then, I play it every day. However, for it to
be useful, someone has to play it. If someone does it is money
If, however, after you buy it, you tire of lessons, and it just
sits there, you have made a mistake, from which you may or may
not be able to recover your money. How many people do you know
that have pianos just sitting in their home? The only time they
are played is when company comes. Since it is probably not being
maintained or tuned (which is expensive) even they won't want to
play it long.
Think carefully before buying items with just one purpose!