The Rule of 3
by Nikki Willhite
When I was taking my Interior Design classes
in college, in one of my classes we were given a special project. We were to go
downtown and do some shopping. We were to buy something for a small amount of
money. It could be anything...but it had to be able to serve 3 purposes.
It was interesting to see all the different
objects people bought, and hear their explanations for the different ways these
objects could be used. Most of all, it was a great lesson in creativity and
versatility. Although it wasn't the purpose of the exercise, it was also a
lesson in frugality.
If you can find 3 uses for something you want to buy, it will never
Consider the clothing that you buy. If you
buy a dress, there is not a lot of versatility. However, if you buy a sweater,
you can find many uses for it. You can wear it casually with pants, or dress it
up with a skirt. It can also just be worn for warmth. It fits the guidelines.
An object like a glass bowl has many uses.
You can use it for food, either serving food or food preparation. You can fill
it with fruit and use it as an accessory on your countertop or table. You can
fill it with potpourri. You can even throw up in it when you are sick.
A basket also has many uses. I'm sure
you could come up with a dozen of them, from holding skeins of yarn to bills,
magazines, food, and flowers. Almost anything you want to store can be put in a
basket. What could be more versatile?
Here's another way to look at it. Think of
your hands. How many purposes can you think of for them? Now think of buying a
pearl ring for one of your fingers. What purpose does that ring serve? It is
decorative, and worn for only one reason- to look good.
If you tire of that ring, or your fingers get
larger and it can't be sized, is there any other purpose for that ring? Not
really, unless you remove the stone and put it in another setting (which will be
expensive) or give it to someone. So just be sure you really want that ring
before you buy it.
On the other hand (no pun intended) when you
buy a wedding ring, it has several purposes. It is a symbol of your marriage
union. It has sentimental value. It is also decorative. It could be said, in
some ways, to be worn for security. It passes "The Rule of 3".
Here are some more examples:
- Keep your appointments.
One last example of a single purpose item is
a piano. I couldn't live without mine, but then, I play it every day. However,
for it to be useful, someone has to play it. If someone does it is money well
If, however, after you buy it, you tire of
lessons, and it just sits there, you have made a mistake, from which you may or
may not be able to recover your money. How many people do you know that have
pianos just sitting in their home? The only time they are played is when company
comes. Since it is probably not being maintained or tuned, they won't want to
play it for long.
before buying items with just one purpose.
About the Author: Nikki Willhite,
mother of 3 and an interior design graduate, has been writing and publishing
articles on the topic of
frugal living for over a
decade. Visit her at
- where you will find hundreds of frugal living tips and articles. Frugal
Happy Families- more than just money!