BOSTON (CBS) – There is something in everyone’s closet that still has the tags on it. Probably hidden in the back so hopefully your spouse doesn’t see it.

[Audio|titles=The Stuff That Never Gets Used|artists=Dee Lee]

The cute black dress you bought for your high school reunion one size smaller than you normally wear because you thought you were going to lose weight. The new gym clothes because you were going to join a gym.

What about that gym membership that you signed up for to go with those new clothes. Your New Year’s resolution was to get more exercise and the gym seemed like really good idea. But after the first month you are struggling to get there once a week.

Our mothers told us that the way to hell was paved with good intentions. Be leery of purchasing any gym membership unless you have convinced yourself you are going to use it. Some of the contracts are for a year and very difficult to get out of. Only join a gym if you can do a month to month arrangement.

Exercise equipment is a big one because it’s expensive. We think we are going to use it, we promise ourselves we are going to use it but we don’t. That treadmill has become has become a towel rack in your bedroom!

It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and buy something you don’t really need. It’s easy to be talked into something you don’t really need. And at times it’s hard to figure out what you do need.

Some questions to ask yourself before you buy something:

Do I need it or do I want it?

Can I afford it?

Do I have the cash available to pay for it?

Will I really use it?

If you can answer “yes” truthfully to all of the questions then go ahead and buy it and enjoy it!

So what about the stuff we accumulate? The Panini press and cookbook, the bread maker, the kids clothes that they outgrew before they could wear, the must have wrench set still in the box and the make your own beer at home kit. Oh and my husband added this one, the vibrating recliner.

Have a swap sale with your friends. Everyone brings their stuff they bought on impulse or got for Christmas and you have a good old Yankee swap. Price the stuff you bring and you can take something of that value home with you.

Or better still sell the stuff you don’t need or want on eBay or Craig’s List and for the sports equipment try Play it Again Sports. I have used Craig’s List and found it easy to sell stuff.

One more thing: Kid’s clothes. You buy the stuff on sale this year in anticipation that next winter your little one will fit into the bargain snowsuit. Sometimes it works, but many of us have brand new clothes our kids have never worn.

You may even forget that you ever bought it and find it in the attic too late for the season. Or the kid grows two sizes and it’s too small. Or worse, it fits and they hate it, refusing to wear the purple jacket with the pink trim. There was a reason it was still there at the end of season.

You insist they wear it and the battle begins with the kid running around without a coat on until you give in. Or grandma caves and buys the kiddo a new jacket.

Resist those sales if you can. I’ve been there and it’s truly a crapshoot you’ll come out ahead. The department stores are doing battle with the discount stores these days so winter clothes do go on sale in the fall and again this time of year when they are trying to get rid of winter stock. Buy the kiddo a new jacket only if he needs it now!


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