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When your budget follows your heart

Hundreds of phones are piled up, priced at $1 apiece, at California's "Garage Sale" in Sacramento, Calif.

Tess Vigeland: And here's one more thing that many of us find hard to rid ourselves of: Stuff. The possessions that accumulate over a lifetime. Especially when they belonged to someone else, like your parents. Here's commentator Tim Bedore.


Tim Bedore: My chiropractor warned me never help a friend pack up and clear out the house of an aging parent. But there I was staring at a lifetime's worth of heavy -- depending on your definition -- either heavy stuff or heavy junk. And my friend had a finite period of time to get the house emptied and ready to sell. And we got to a defining moment standing in the garage looking at a Tom and Jerry bowl set, trying to figure out if this was a treasured family heirloom or dumpster material.

If you don't know, a Tom and Jerry is a holiday season, batter-topped brandy/rum drink, which our parent's generation believed you could not celebrate the holidays without. So my parents, his parents, they all had a giant bowl and 20 mugs with the words "Tom and Jerry" printed on them and ladled out these drinks to family and friends.

And this Tom and Jerry set made very real the truism that time is money. My friend would have to go buy more boxes to wrap up 20 mugs and a giant, you-can- give-a-puppy-a-bath-in-it bowl, or quick-hire a packing crew -- that's more money. Then store all this stuff in a rented storage space -- more money! -- and sotre them until he realizes he'll never have a Tom and Jerry party, because, well, when was the last time you were at one? Oh, he could keep the Tom and Jerry set and sell it later on eBay and make tens of dollars. Subtract the cost of the boxes and storage unit... Well, not a reasonable option.

And the dumpster he had rented was due to be picked up later that day, the clock was ticking, it was right there in the driveway. So I said, "Hearing 20 Tom and Jerry mugs crash in a dumpster might be fun." He knew I was right, but his head lost out to his heart. And he has rented a storage space for those 20 mugs and more stuff like it, and has to square that all with his wife -- which proves, that when logical things like budgets have to be followed by emotional things like humans, well that emotion thing is powerful stuff.


Vigeland: Tim Bedore is a stand-up comedian living in Minneapolis.

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Tim Bedore is a father and stand-up comedian based in Minneapolis.

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