The Last Bobby Pin Effect

Although women will probably understand this analogy slightly better, men will appreciate it none-the-less.

Anytime I get a new package of bobby pins (hair clips for you men), without a doubt, one-by-one, they always manage to disappear into the abyss. How I lose them is beyond me. I put them in my hair and take them out before bed in the same location, but somehow my brand new stash slowly dwindles away and I have no idea where they end up. My once lofty collection of bobby pins is down to one lonely clip. Every time I get down to that one clip I somehow manage to hang onto it; always knowing its exact location, because, you see, it is my last hair pin and I may need it. This happens, without a doubt, every time I buy these pesky little things.

Why Does This Continue To Happen?

Is it because I don’t value them enough? They’re less than $3.00 for about 50 of them and I rarely lose my more expensive hair clips. Do I subconsciously lose them because I know I will always have more? It takes time to slowly lose them.

If I applied this analogy to my money we’d have a pretty similar story. Or so that’s how it once was. I’d get paid (brand new pack of bobby pins) pay the bills (putting them in and taking them out as per usual) yet somehow I only really started to pay attention to the money when there’s almost nothing left (last, lone bobby pin).

Where did my money go? I wasn’t really paying attention. Truthfully it use to be that didn’t care that I just wasted $10.00 at the store on something I didn’t really need/want/use because it was only $10.00, and I just got paid over 15x that amount. I didn’t care. That was the problem. Not that I was always frivolous, but my thought process about money has changed substantially in the last 6 months.

Treat Money With Respect!

If I treated every single dollar like I do my last bobby pin, I’d probably be in an entirely different financial situation right now. Especially since switching to cash, I really give every purchase a good thought before forking over our hard-earned money. Not saying we now hoard cash and don’t spend anything but we now apply value to that lunch date together, the food we’re eating for supper or shirts we are wearing.

I truly believe I have lived my life the way I have to learn lessons just like this one. Although it sucks to learn anything the hard way, I’m a better person for it.

Lesson Learned.

Treat every dollar like your last bobby pin, even when you have a brand new pack, because each dollar deserves the last-pin-respect.


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  1. I like this! It reminds me of a hair tie I had once that lasted me 5 years. How do I know? I made it special. I put a ribbon on it one day during my senior year in high school, and left the ribbon on it. 5 years later, I was in grad school when the hair tie finally bit the dust. But I never lost it for more than a day, because I managed to make it feel special!
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..That’s Not Frugal, It’s Theft!My Profile

    • Isn’t it funny. I have a favorite little hair clip too, I’ve had it for a few years, I may lose it for a day or two but it always finds it’s way home.

    • I know eh? My sister in law just said to me yesterday that she wasn’t going to bother returning an item to a store (which is in the process of closing for good) because it was only 25.00! I was like Hello!? give me the item and I’ll gladly accept the 25.00 return!

  2. I enjoyed the bobby pin analogy in relation to money. You’re absolutely correct in that we need to have greater respect for the money we work hard to earn.
    K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks! recently posted..Debt Freedom DayMy Profile

    • Thanks! A lot of people do have the respect money deserves but I didn’t until recently. I thought I did but in retrospect I didn’t at all.

  3. That’s so funny, as I am down to two bobby pins that I’ve had forever and was searching for one this morning. I have really noticed this effect since I’ve been on a strict grocery budget. I had $3.41 left for this month and had to shop creatively and frugally to get something to make for my husband’s birthday on Thursday. I ened up spending $2.82 and was so happy. I probably wouldn’t have spend much time thinking if it had been the first of the month, but I should always pay that much attention.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Does It Make Sense to Pay Off The Mortgage Early?My Profile

  4. Tee-hee, I am down to my last four bobby pins. Why? Because I NEED four to properly smooth wispies from my face each morning. The rest have been lost into the dreaded abyss and when I misplace another, I shall cry. Then drudge over to the convenient store to pick up another pack of fifty/hundred/what-have-you’s, so the whole process of them dwindling away can be revived.

    I mean, does anyone ever FIND their lost bobby pins? Where do all of these suckers actually go?
    Jennifer Lynn @ Broke-Ass Mommy recently posted..Festively A MinimalistMy Profile

  5. I can totally relate to your analogy. I use to be in the exact same boat in terms of spending, esp when I had a full-time PM job that did pay well. My prob was that when I quit the job I didn’t quit the spending.
    In regard to specifically the bobby pins – I am the opposite of you. I have one strip of them on a cardboard that they came on. I rarely use them, so have had them for over 10 years…
    Tackling Our Debt recently posted..Evaluating Your Life as It Stands TodayMy Profile

  6. It always amazes me how much I can want something in “the moment” and later wonder why I ever wanted it. And those moments add up fast! Money is such a gift, but you do have it to treat it with respect or like it’s your last bobby pin – and oh, so precious!

    • haha lip chap is another, I also use to have more than one but but I have one tube and that’s it or I will lose them!

    • Yeah printing it and putting it in her lunch bag might be a little obvious…maybe even printing monthly statements to show her where the money is going would help though. If she doesn’t know she can’t change!

  7. Interesting analogy Catherine but you are correct. We are not cash users rather credit card but we certainly treat money and value it no different than using cash. We like to look at what we are buying but at the back of our minds remember how long we had to work to buy what we are buying or using what we are using. What I’m trying to say is that money shouldn’t be just something we use to pay for items it should be used as a measure of how hard we worked to achieve it. Respect it and it will stick around.*(at least that’s the plan.. Mr.CBB :-)
    Canadianbudgetbinder recently posted..Best Home Renovations-Money Wasted or Money Invested?My Profile

  8. Indeed, bobby pins are for women but the lessons from these bobby pins are for everyone. You have to treat every single dollar as if it were your last. Respect for money is quite important.

  9. Love this! One of my favorite posts today, and SO true! I do the same damn thing! It’s especially true when I get some big checks from clients. I grocery shop without worry and other tasks, but then when my checking account gets low, I’m meticulous about every freaking dollar. I’d have to do this a lot less if I just too more care the big amount when I had it.
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..When You Find Yourself in a Hole, Stop DiggingMy Profile

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  13. So so true, love the analogy, We get what we focus on, if we don’t pay attention we lose it. It is said that business only make good decisions in tough times. When times are good we get lazy.

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  15. I understand the analogy but wondering about why you lose hairpins is like wondering why you lose paperclips or elastic bands. They are small, specifically used items that barely weigh anything, have no heft and are easily forgotten when not LITERALLY IN FRONT OF YOU.

    Also, whenever I buy new bobby pins I find a MILLION of them in a purse somewhere.
    Danielle recently posted..My Shopping Addiction – Does it really exist?My Profile

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  19. I’m convinced there is some secret hair elastic and bobby pin cabal because I NEVER find them once I’ve lost them. There could be whole a city built underground with the amount of pins and elastics women across North America have lost up until now.

    I do the same thing with hair elastics as you do bobby pins, although I don’t lose them as frequently anymore. I think I contribute it to always putting them back in the same place when I take my hair down. I find I only have to replace them every so often as the elastics eventually wear out and break.

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