A dear friend of mine is always educating me about the value of making smart money decisions. I come from a family particularly fond of bargain-hunting, but what I've learned from this friend is that in many cases, it's better to make smarter, well-thought-out purchases. We call these "investments" for our slow home. It's not always easy to make the decision to spend a lot of money. While I still bargain-shop for clothes, which may be in one season and out the next, in many other arenas, I try to wage the bargain against the investment.
Let's take the classic case of my beautiful prized possession: a Carribean blue 5-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven (I'm in love, what can I say?). Other brands can be found for under $50; why did I think it was necessary to have the one that cost around $200? For starters, it's beautiful. A stunning kitchen piece, it's a real workhorse that gets used every week in fall and winter, for soups and breads and casseroles. Then there's the extensive warranty. I know this piece will be with me for the rest of my cooking days, and someday, I hope to pass it down to my family.
Making wise purchases, and knowing when to spend more for a better product, contribute to the slow home. When considering any new addition to your home, take these things into consideration:
Do I want this to last? A bed, an heirloom kitchen item, or a substantial furniture piece are all lasting things. A smock or tablecloth, however, might not be.
Is the design timeless? To truly buy well, buy once, you must factor in the design of the product. Something that's super hip and trendy today may fall by the wayside in no time. Focus on things that speak to you—loudly.
Is it built well, by people who are treated fairly and with sustainable resources? Superb craftsmanship is of utmost importance here.
• Beyond Small Living: The Slow Home Movement
• Tips for the Slow Home: Smart Furnishings
• Family Spaces from the Slow Home
(Image: Amber Byfield for Re-Nest)