Pay It Forward: Loveseat Edition

by Kevin on April 13, 2008

In the personal finance world, we’re all about dollars and cents. Stretching every dollar, saving every penny.

Yet, sometimes life isn’t all about how much profit you can wring out of every dollar.

When I graduated college, I had a ratty, ugly, smelly love seat I took with me to my first real world apartment. We threw a slipcover over it and made due. At the same time, my Mom had taken a job about 3 hours from home. My parents were living in an apartment. They went outside one day to discover someone had been evicted… someone with nice furniture! The guy cleaning out the apartment told them they could take whatever they wanted because the person wasn’t coming back. Literally, there was a stack of nice stuff sitting on the curb. (You’d think they could’ve called the Salvation Army or something?)

My Dad called me and said there was a matching love seat and couch, a microwave, and some other knick knacks. What do you think I said? “Well what are you waiting for? Grab the love seat!”, of course!

So, bless them, my dear parents went down stairs, grabbed this relatively heavy love seat and hauled it upstairs to their apartment. I made a trip home a few weekends later to get it and it was in near perfect condition.

Fast forward several years, and we buy a new house. The love seat doesn’t exactly fill up the living room, so we bought a new enormous couch off of Craigslist for a very inexpensive price. We put the love seat in the office, and made that work. But it took up a lot of space, and my wife really needs her own space (i.e. a desk) for her school things. We tried to sell it on Craigslist for profit, but didn’t get any bites.

We recently had some friends relocate back to the area on a tight budget. They are both starting new jobs and cash is tight. My wife thought we might offer the love seat to them. Stuck in my personal finance mentality, I wanted to sell it to them. Even though we got it for practically free — the cost of a U-Haul rental and a tank of gas — I wanted to make a profit off the love seat.

Greed. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing — but this was unnecessary. Remember, these are our friends. To say the least, this was over the line. So we gave it to them, and they were really appreciative. They came by and got it few weekends back. And now we’ve got a nice open space already stacked with “stuff”.

Let this be a lesson to all: personal finance is important. Truly, I believe that. Sometimes you’ve got to step back and take a look at the big picture. Accumulating money shouldn’t be the #1 end all thing in your life. I can’t tell you what should be number one, that’s for you to decide, but don’t let it be money.

Happy Sunday.


CindyS April 13, 2008 at 8:22 am

Pay It Forward has to be my all time favorite movie. I’m glad that you decided to give it to them as there is no amount of money that can match the feeling you get when you know you have helped someone who needed it. My grandmother used to say that when you do something nice for someone you get paid back although it might not be from the same person. Kind of a “what goes around comes around” mentality only nice!

Tony Tovar April 13, 2008 at 8:47 am

You would not believe me, but I was thinking of bloggin’ about the exact same thing. It reminds me of a verse in the Word that talks about not hording money or to become slaves to the creditor. Great Advice Kevin. You did the write thing.

Tony Tovar
“Live today like no one else to live tomorrow like no one else!”

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