A few weeks ago my Kindle stop receiving data through the 3G AT&T wireless connection. I found a lot of info on broken Kindles but I couldn’t find any relevant literature for this problem on the internet so I contacted the Amazon customer service online chat. It immediately sounded odd that the representative offered to have me turn in my Kindle and buy a refurbished one for $70 instead of diagnosing the problem. The quickness that he offered this solution immediately raised my suspicions that this might happen quite a bit. I informed the gentleman that I’ll look into it and get back to him.

While I was never a communication specialist in the military, I did learn the first step in diagnosing a radio problem is to check connections. I popped open my Kindle saw the only thing I could connect and disconnect was the SIM card. So I did that and turned it on. Magically my Kindle works just fine now. Usually I wouldn’t take the time to attempt to fix something that appears to be toast, especially something I am really too familiar with but this case reminded me that it’s always a good idea to maintain your stuff.

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Some people might argue we live in a disposable society, which is true to a very large extent. But the old saying goes something like this: “a penny saved is a penny earned.” I’m not advocating for you to be a cheap bastard that keeps McDonald’s cups for the refills but merely for maintaining things so they look good and last a long time.  So if you keep something working for longer there really is no downside to it.

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What things should you focus on attempting to maintain? Well one category would be durable goods. One very good example of this would be your car if you have one. The usual oil change, tire rotation, and tire inflation should already be your standard. Men should also strive to have their car washed at least every two weeks, especially if you live in an environment that has corrosive elements in it such as sea air and road salt. If you want to take it even further you can replace the paper air filter in your car with one of the aftermarket washable ones that not only are cheaper in the long run but improve performance. Who knows, maybe if you maintain your car well enough, what you have today might be the equivalent of a 64 Mustang tomorrow.

You don’t always have to maintain your stuff yourself. Sometimes it is easier and more practical to have others do it for you. A very good example of this is maintaining your computer. Buying that antivirus subscription for 40 bucks year is a whole lot less aggravating than trying to solve things on your own when they pop-up. If you can’t deal with putting the Kiwi shoe polish  on your own shoes then pay someone to do it. There are very few people in the world that can legitimately afford to throw away anything as soon as it gets dirty and I’m guessing those people who can wouldn’t anyway.

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Sometimes failure to maintain your stuff makes you look bad. If you cannot keep your leather shoes and/or boots tiptop with a shine you will look like a scumbag and people judge you for that. Girls for the most part will not want to have sex with you if there are springs sticking out of the mattress. This is especially true for potential employers. If you appear to be incapable of maintaining your own stuff they’ll doubt your ability to maintain company property.

In conclusion, it is a good idea to maintain your stuff especially in these trying economic times. But like anything you do, you have to be reasonable about it. Trying to re-solder that seven dollar pair of headphones you broke at the gym is not really a good use of your time. Buying an air pressure gauge  so you can check your tires is a good use of your money. Upgrading your phone at the earliest opportunity may work for some but buying a nice case for one works for everybody.

Read More: Why Adopting A Frugal Mindset Will Hurt You