Give, don't get - MoneySense

Give, don’t get

Before you blow money on an impulse purchase, stop and think.


Here’s a recent listing from online classifieds website

“I am selling 7 Silver Luminaire Wall Art Lamps. Paid over $1,000, never been used, never opened, perfect for displaying wall art work. Roughly 18″ Long, takes 12V bulbs. Bulbs not included. $50.

I have 4 unused Artemide Ceiling lamps for sale. Selling for $100 each. Originally paid $1,000 for each lamp—they do not work in my home. Most of the boxes are unopened.”

What kind of person drops $1,000 on art lamps, doesn’t even take ‘em out of the box only to turn around and sell them for pennies on the dollar?

Actually, he’s a Dragon. This was a listing posted by Brett Wilson, formerly of Dragon’s Den, and it makes me wonder if he’s doing a social experiment. After all, if he can afford to drop $2,000 on lighting he’ll never use,  does he really need the couple hundred bucks he hopes to get from the sale of these items?

Another option would have been to donate them to a local charity—something like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore project. Celebrities often gift their stuff to consignment shops that sell for charities.

Years ago I shipped a whole bunch of TV clothes off for sale to raise money for a local hospital. I didn’t need them anymore and if the fact that I’d worn them on TV made some small difference in someone else’s mind, hey, it was money for a good cause.

I’ve even auctioned the shoes off my feet. I was at a fundraiser for what used to be the Northumberland Services for Women, now the Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre, in Cobourg, Ont. This is a cause dear to my heart so each year I give a luncheon presentation for which they sell tickets and raise money.  They also do an annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event where men get sponsors for their walk, usually in a pair of red shoes. I was wearing red shoes (TV shoes as it happens) for my last appearance and whipped them off my feet and auctioned them off for the cause. The person who bought them had me sign them and she planned to auction them off on her website for another cause. There go those shoes making more money.

There are all sorts of things you can do to help your local causes, beyond reaching for your wallet. You can give your time. You can offer goods you no longer need for a fundraising sale. You can even play games and improve your vocabulary and feed the hungry. (Pop on over to

The next time you’re tempted to blow some money on an impulse purchase, stop and think. Do you need it? Do you really, really want it? Are you going to use it immediately? If not, skip the purchase and save the money. Or just donate it directly to a good cause. No need to get a retailer involved!