October 11, 2010

The Money’s Already Spent

I worked with a client recently who was concerned about donating things to charity because she wasn’t “getting any money from it.”

I tried to explain that when you donate to a qualified charity, you are eligible to receive a tax deduction. She didn’t see how that would benefit her. Like many of my clients, this one thought she should be able to get cash back for things that she had bought and used.

Some people are successful selling at yard sales or taking their things to consignment shops; however, they will not get back the full value of what they paid. Unless you have things that have increased in value tremendously over the years, you will generally get what the item would go for at a thrift shop. People who shop at yard sales are looking for bargains; consignment shops are looking for things that appeal to their customers, and will give you a portion of the sale amount.

The same question came up at a class I taught last week. One of the participants brought everyone back to reality when she shared that she had to sell everything from her in-laws’ estate and their (very expensive) adjustable bed sold for $25. To the buyer, it was a used piece of furniture.

While it’s often difficult to part with things you own, but don’t use, don’t get bogged down by what you paid for it. The money’s already been spent. You got some use out of it. Let someone else get some value from it.

How do you justify passing things on that you don’t need? Click on Post a Comment, below, and tell us.

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