Have you ever given a used gift?

I give them all the time.

The kids (note that some of these individuals are now young adults) and others in my life have had to suffer! I readily give them used things for birthdays and holidays. Not only that, I don't feel bad about it.

As a person who studies economics (a bit more than a hobby), I know that our economy can only function well if a LOT of people buy new things. But I also know that I value TOOLS and BOOKS, particularly well written books that tell people how to do things well.

If I've already identified a tool that is particularly good, whether it's for opening jars in the kitchen or for fixing something in the garage, if I run across that tool at a rummage sale or an estate sale, guaranteed that if they haven't already gotten it, someone's going to end up with it as a gift.

I have a hard time parting with books but have several times and am always willing to share. I'm particularly fond of self-help books. As I write this, my most recent acquisitions are Black & Decker's Advanced Home Plumbing and Stanley's Complete Doors and Windows. (Note that these were 'opportunity-based' acquisitions--in contrast to the many books and articles I seek out when I have specific projects I'm working on).

I'm not a master plumber or carpenter but every once in a while I think it's good to tackle a project myself--mainly to remind myself that it normally takes me 5-50 times as long to do the same job and sometimes not at the same level of quality. I also know that when money is tight, it's helpful to have some skills if things break down.

When I pass a crew laying a curb along a road (when they are doing a particularly great job) I think . . . wow, what a work of art! Many people fail to appreciate these things but these are the things that make communities look 'cool.' People that create works of art value good tools.

Now, lest you think me a Scrooge, I also give NEW tools and books but know that money reaches farther if I am able to 'blend' the new and the old. When I look at my collection of books, though, I am confused . . . because I have an abnormal number of cookbooks and I don't normally like to cook. Some things in life make NO sense at all.