When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
snyder66
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When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by snyder66 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:22 pm

I know there are many on this board that probably do not allow this at all. I'm just wondering what goes into your decision making when you want something. I have been wanting a second vehicle for over a year now and I'm second-guessing myself to the point where I'm not sure I want it. Yes, The mind can play terrible games. And, I'm probably posting this so someone can justify this decision for me. :D Thanks!

sscritic
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by sscritic » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:25 pm

When you are 70, although I am cheating and doing it at 66.

livesoft
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by livesoft » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:26 pm

I've written this before: The dollar-amount that my portfolio goes up and down on a typical good or bad day (not a ReallyBadDay(TM)) is the limit that I allow for my wants over the course of a year. So if my portfolio goes up or down by $225,000 on a bad day, I budget $225,000 annually for wants.
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Dave76
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Dave76 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:30 pm

snyder66 wrote: I have been wanting a second vehicle for over a year now and I'm second-guessing myself to the point where I'm not sure I want it.
Go for it. I bought a car for $900 and it runs great.

Muchtolearn
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Muchtolearn » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:37 pm

This may sound childish. I buy whatever I want. I do not buy anything that I do not want despite there being people always telling me what I want.

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desertbandit442
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by desertbandit442 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:42 pm

If I still want it after waiting a year. Most of the time the want goes away.

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Sheepdog
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Sheepdog » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:56 pm

When my wife says I can. :shock:
People should not say everything they think. They should think about everything they say.

snyder66
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by snyder66 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:57 pm

The want is still there.

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tetractys
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by tetractys » Sun Apr 29, 2012 1:58 pm

snyder66 wrote:I'm just wondering what goes into your decision making when you want something.
When want=need.

Recently I bought a car after several years of not having a car. I had two reasons. My parents are getting up there, and a car would give me a quick way to reach them at any time. And my job requires reliable transportation, to any part of the county at any time.

So living for quite awhile vacillating between wanting a car and being happy without one, changed into needing a car. -- Tet

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by cosmic » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:00 pm

Work out what the cash will be worth in the realistic future e.g. 10-20 years. Then, ask yourself if your life will be enhanced sufficiently by having the 'want' now, and forgoing the extra cash in future.

For example, you could spend no more than absolute living necessities for the next 30 years, invest the savings, and retire rich. But you would have spent 30 years forgoing many pleasures and life-enhancing experiences by your skinflint behaviour. It is better to live a full and interesting life and be comfortable in retirement, than to live a misers life and be stinking rich in retirement. As Warren Buffett says, sex is something you don't want to save for old age - and many other experiences fall into that category.

It's also useful to compare the gains at the margin. Going from carless to car-owner may well be worth spending $5k-10k today, at a cost of $100k when you retire. If you get particular pleasure from driving, it might be worth 20k today. But it's unlikely to be worth 100k+, unless you are already pretty rich. The incremental pleasure from a 100k car is not so much greater than from a used 20k car as to be worth a 5-fold difference.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by gator15 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:03 pm

What's the point in hoarding all of your money. I believe one can balance saving and spending. I aim to save a certain percentage of my income. Whatever I have left I use to get what I want. For low cost items, I will wait a few weeks to see if I still want the item. For big ticket items, I wait a few months. The point is you can live for both today and tomorrow with a balance of saving and spending.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Toons » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:11 pm

sscritic wrote:When you are 70, although I am cheating and doing it at 66.
Agree, To elaborate : I have found that as I am allowed to "age" and realize the timespan of this journey called "life" becomes shorter and shorter,I am allowing myself to satisfy my wants more frequently,,,,,You really can't take it with you .As my wife somtimes says,,,"What did we save and invest decades for"? :happy :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by bvp » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:29 pm

You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.

sscritic
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by sscritic » Sun Apr 29, 2012 2:36 pm

Toons wrote:
sscritic wrote:When you are 70, although I am cheating and doing it at 66.
Agree, To elaborate : I have found that as I am allowed to "age" and realize the timespan of this journey called "life" becomes shorter and shorter,I am allowing myself to satisfy my wants more frequently,,,,,You really can't take it with you .As my wife somtimes says,,,"What did we save and invest decades for"? :happy :happy
Exactly, that is why I am allowing myself to cheat and start spending early. I am not waiting for the government to force me to take a RMD before I start enjoying what I have.

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bearwolf
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by bearwolf » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:04 pm

snyder66 wrote:I know there are many on this board that probably do not allow this at all. I'm just wondering what goes into your decision making when you want something. I have been wanting a second vehicle for over a year now and I'm second-guessing myself to the point where I'm not sure I want it. Yes, The mind can play terrible games. And, I'm probably posting this so someone can justify this decision for me. :D Thanks!
You should look carefully at the bottom of your feet and see if you have an expiration date. If you do not then it means you don't know how long you will be here. If it doesn't make a material difference in your life then you should buy wants whenever you can. I don't like to accumulate stuff, but I do like to accumulate experiences. Travel, meals at nice restaurants, bridge tournaments. All in all not expensive and like livesoft the weekly/annual fluctuations in my portfolio are much larger than my expenditures. Remember, you can't take it with you so don't forget to enjoy life while you can.

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Dave76
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Dave76 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:15 pm

gator15 wrote:What's the point in hoarding all of your money.
Freedom, security. It's psychological, I suppose.

I hoard money, but only because there isn't much out there that I want. Nearly everything I own is old, but I'm content with what I have. Besides, most products today are not made well. There is something wrong with my parents' 56" TV and it's not even 3 years old. They had to send an exercise bike back to the retailer because it was defective. And my new 2012 Hyundai Elantra? It has turned out to be a real lemon. My $900 car really comes in handy.

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mike143
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by mike143 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:21 pm

I research the hell out of everything so I usually talk myself out of it during the research phase. Food is the only item I splurge on, want wise.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by German Expat » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:27 pm

I buy some wants. My rule is that I always wait and do a lot of research in the meantime. Case in point is our new 55" TV in the basement. We had an ancient 36" Sony with a Xbox and a Wii (child) connected and it took me 2 years to replace it. I did buy a stand 1 year ago already because it was on sale and I liked it. Advantage is pricing went down and I still wanted it after the long wait.
This was an extreme case though and I usually tend to buy things faster. But minimum is 1-2 nights of sleep over anything 200$ or above just to make sure its not a spur of the moment decision.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by bengal22 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:31 pm

Sometimes I feel that this board's personal austerity philosophy kind of flies in the face of living a strong, fruitful, balanced life. I love the discussions on investing but the strings on monkdom are confusing. The purpose of life is not to collect but to live fully. just sayin...

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by j920 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:50 pm

I buy 'wants' when I want them, but only after savings and needs have been met or surpassed.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by WorkToLive » Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:56 pm

It depends on how much the want costs. First, I wait a while and see if the want goes away (a year sound about right). Next, I see if there are substitute products for free or less money that would satisfy me. Finally, I try to find the best deal I can and go for it. Some examples:

1.) I wanted an e-reader. I waited a while, I looked at what I actually needed, then I found a new-in-box used Kindle Keyboard on Craig's List for $50 and bought it with my allowance money.

2.) I wanted a smart phone. I waited and used an old phone that I activated on a pre-paid network for $8/month. After about two years, my work gave me a BlackBerry and pays for it.

2.) I wanted an iPad. I waited over a year; I looked at things like the Kindle Fire, the iPad 2, other tablets, etc. I determined that I really wanted the iPad 3 for a lot of reasons so I took my money from my side job, pooled it with my birthday money, and only paid about $350 from my savings for what I wanted.

I don't do this to be austere, but I do think about the environmental impacts of overconsumption. I try to only buy what I really need plus a few wants.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Fallible » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:06 pm

Usually, when I see something I want but don't need, I first buy what I do need. Most of the time that takes care of the want (and the money to pay for it). If it doesn't, I just give the want time to disappear, which it usually does. If it doesn't, and this is now a tiny fraction of the time, I'll look over the item again, after which I usually don't want it. If I still do, if it's worth the price and I know I'll get long use from it, I'll finally buy it.
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Default User BR
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Default User BR » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:16 pm

gator15 wrote:What's the point in hoarding all of your money.
My biggest "want" is to achieve a level of financial independence that will allow me to determine when to retire and under what terms. Right now, anything else is small potatoes.


Brian

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by tibbitts » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:16 pm

cosmic wrote:Work out what the cash will be worth in the realistic future e.g. 10-20 years. Then, ask yourself if your life will be enhanced sufficiently by having the 'want' now, and forgoing the extra cash in future.

For example, you could spend no more than absolute living necessities for the next 30 years, invest the savings, and retire rich. But you would have spent 30 years forgoing many pleasures and life-enhancing experiences by your skinflint behaviour. It is better to live a full and interesting life and be comfortable in retirement, than to live a misers life and be stinking rich in retirement. As Warren Buffett says, sex is something you don't want to save for old age - and many other experiences fall into that category.

It's also useful to compare the gains at the margin. Going from carless to car-owner may well be worth spending $5k-10k today, at a cost of $100k when you retire. If you get particular pleasure from driving, it might be worth 20k today. But it's unlikely to be worth 100k+, unless you are already pretty rich. The incremental pleasure from a 100k car is not so much greater than from a used 20k car as to be worth a 5-fold difference.
The pitiful investment returns of the past decade-plus have helped me loosen up a lot when it comes to spending. I now spend about as much as I earn, and sometimes more, even though I'm not retired. If you figure close to 0% real going forward for the next few decades, there's just not much incentive to save.

Paul

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by livesoft » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:30 pm

mamief45 wrote:Sometimes I feel that this board's personal austerity philosophy kind of flies in the face of living a strong, fruitful, balanced life. I love the discussions on investing but the strings on monkdom are confusing. The purpose of life is not to collect but to live fully. just sayin...
Sounds like living the soft life is OK, too.
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backofbeyond
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by backofbeyond » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:12 pm

I spent the first 39 years of my life being a Super Saver. Up until then, I had never owed a brand new car. Ran each of the cars I owned into the ground or until they were nickel and dimeing me to death, most were at least 9 but usually 13 years old. About then, I got a divorce and saw half of my wealth dissipate.

A funny thing happened then, I realized that at anytime, something could come along and take all (or most) of what I had, so I may as well enjoy it. The pendulum then swung the other way, I had a textbook midlife crisis, spent thousands on booze, younger women and fast cars. Amazed I survived frankly.

Then I meant my soul mate, and she helped me get grounded. So now, I'm sitting right in the middle, saving some and spending some..and it's wonderful. The middle of the road is the best advice I can give you. :sharebeer
The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it is at what income. - George Foreman

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:15 pm

Sheepdog wrote:When my wife says I can. :shock:
When she's not looking. If I waited for her to say I can I'd never get anything. :wink:
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by KyleAAA » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:24 pm

Whenever you have the money to do so without dropping below some pre-determined savings goal. If your goal is to save 20% of your gross income and you need less than 80% to pay the bills, spend the rest on whatever you want. Or save it. No big deal.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by GammaPoint » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:30 pm

I buy whatever I want all the time. For many items I want future financial security more than I want the item, so I don't buy anything at all. For items that I really want, I just go for it. I typically value my free time, the ability to exercise whenever I want, getting good sleep, eating good food (at home), and enjoying my work more than anything else, so since those are preferences there's not a lot of consumer items that I need to fulfill them.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by stoptothink » Sun Apr 29, 2012 5:43 pm

GammaPoint wrote:I buy whatever I want all the time. For many items I want future financial security more than I want the item, so I don't buy anything at all. For items that I really want, I just go for it. I typically value my free time, the ability to exercise whenever I want, getting good sleep, eating good food (at home), and enjoying my work more than anything else, so since those are preferences there's not a lot of consumer items that I need to fulfill them.
+1

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Dave76 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:02 pm

Everything in moderation...

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by rustymutt » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:06 pm

I need a doctor. I want a piece of cherry pie. I need transportation. I want a BMW. I need money. I want to be wealthy.
You get my point don't you?
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Atilla » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:07 pm

Today I wanted to go with my wife to the fancy pants specialty grocer/butcher down the street to pick up stuff for dinner along with wine and $9 a six-pack micro brew IPA. So we did. $65 was the total tab. :sharebeer
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by GammaPoint » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:12 pm

Atilla wrote:Today I wanted to go with my wife to the fancy pants specialty grocer/butcher down the street to pick up stuff for dinner along with wine and $9 a six-pack micro brew IPA. So we did. $65 was the total tab. :sharebeer
Sounds like the life Atilla :)

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by reggiesimpson » Sun Apr 29, 2012 6:16 pm

I am fundamentally frugal primarily for one reason.................when i really "want" something i buy it! Thats why i worked, saved and invested conservatively..................and acted in a frugal manner my whole life!

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by snyder66 » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:04 pm

And, This is why I Love this board!

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by tetractys » Sun Apr 29, 2012 8:30 pm

backofbeyond wrote:The middle of the road is the best advice I can give you. :sharebeer
Good advice. If your dead center on the line you may never get run over. :happy

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Watty
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Watty » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:01 pm

Unless you are an super expensive area of the country then a single person could likely cover all their real "needs" for maybe $20K a year and still live better than 90% of the people in the world.

The question then becomes how to allocate any other the money between your "wants" .

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Go Blue 99
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Go Blue 99 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:03 am

When I want to buy something, I tend to do a ton of research. This occurs for months and months- even years for some items. So by that time I will typically know if I really still want the item. The added bonus is that if I do purchase it, I will usually find a deal or sale during the long research period.

Most current example- polarized sunglasses. I was obsessed with getting a pair, and even posted a thread about it on this forum. But after a few months, I decided to pass because I didn’t notice much difference with the polarized, and decided I could make due with my current pair.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by FlyHi » Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:31 am

I have no needs or wants, at least until now. I decided (at age 73) to buy a show dog. Used to own them back in the late 70's. I have the money so that's no problem.
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by MrMiyagi » Mon Apr 30, 2012 11:41 am

mamief45 wrote:Sometimes I feel that this board's personal austerity philosophy kind of flies in the face of living a strong, fruitful, balanced life. I love the discussions on investing but the strings on monkdom are confusing. The purpose of life is not to collect but to live fully. just sayin...
Agreed. I used to be a tightwad (and still am in the eyes of my wife) - I still always check for a coupon to a place before we go there, I wouldn't buy anything I knew was a "bad deal." The only thing I never compromise on is food - I eat out a lot. That's not to say I don't have a lot of junk and "what was I thinking" type purchases. :oops:

However it came to a point when I realized, what's the point of saving so hard that you're not enjoying the fruits of your labor. So now if something costs less than 200 bucks and I want it, and think it's a decent deal, I just buy it. For bigger purchases, I tend to research it first and then buy it. I still drive a 12 year old car though. :P

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by englishgirl » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:19 pm

If it's a book, I buy it whenever the thought occurs. Same with a lot of lower cost items, really.

If it's something expensive, then I do some research. I look to see if there's anything lower cost that will be just as good. I look to see if I can find the item I want cheaper somewhere else. Then I sit around and do nothing for a couple of months, just in case it goes down in price. And if I still want it then, even if it hasn't gone down in price, I'll just go ahead and get it. Occasionally I have waffled for so long I decided that I didn't want it strongly enough, but I never deny myself to the point of feeling deprived.
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by JupiterJones » Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:05 pm

Most of us have essentially unlimited wants but finite resources. So the first step is in prioritizing those wants.

The next step is that I make sure that my needs are met. Then I make sure that my higher-priority wants are met (such as having a certain amount of savings, not going into revolving credit card debt, etc.)

After that, it's a sliding scale depending on the cost and priority. I tend to sit on the expensive stuff for quite awhile before making the plunge. And I don't buy anything I don't have the money for, except my house. :-)

I also take into account how much space in my life the new purchase will use up. I tend to be more spur-of-the-moment on consumables like food, booze, show tickets, etc.

JJ
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by MathWizard » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:29 pm

Cars aren't really a want for me. I buy them on a schedule that pretty much
ensures that they are nearly worthless when I get rid of them, and stagger
the purchases so that either my wife's or mine has lots of life left in it.

Our biggest wants are vacations. We save up for big occasions for big trips.

We have money going automatically into four accounts:
1) checking to handle about $300 over average base expenses.
2) short term savings, we use this to top off checking if it gets low due to
unexpected expenses (washer/dryer dies) first tier EF.
3) medium term savings: vacations/college fund; car on a schedule; second tier EF.
4) long-term savings : retirement fund, third tier EF.

Small wants come out of checking, we try to keep this under the $150/person.
Bigger wants come out of short-term savings after discussion/looking at prices
Vacations are planned months in advance, college: years in advance.
Long-term savings provides us with our biggest want, more time to being together and travel :D

Sometimes unexpected expenses can be for good things not bad.
My son made all-state band this year, so we paid for tickets for grand-parents and
god-parents (not cheap). You only get so many opportunities to do certain things, so
you need to have the money ready when the occasion arises.
Last edited by MathWizard on Tue May 01, 2012 12:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:49 pm

JupiterJones wrote:I also take into account how much space in my life the new purchase will use up. I tend to be more spur-of-the-moment on consumables like food, booze, show tickets, etc.

JJ
I prioritize space before money, and thus I prefer vacations to buying stuff. Food, booze, tickets, etc., are well within my rounding error.

Victoria
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by pc95 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:55 pm

The faster and more we can save to getting to retirement and all the "wants" that will involve, the easier it is to do without most wants now. A few small vacations a year, a big vacation every other year helps air out your feet a bit (meaning an occasional splurge, within reason, is healthy imo). Retirement is my biggest want, but dont want to burn out before getting there. The public library and public parks help take the edge off the daily grind in this regard, as does cooking food at home.

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by westie » Tue May 01, 2012 8:43 am

I believe I've saved responsibly, so now I buy what I want. My attitude changed somewhat when my mother went into a nursing home and I was writing checks from her account to the tune of 8K a month for a few years. It was a nice facility. Seventy-four percent of the people in the nursing home were on Medicaid...

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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by HomerJ » Tue May 01, 2012 9:05 am

tibbitts wrote:The pitiful investment returns of the past decade-plus have helped me loosen up a lot when it comes to spending. I now spend about as much as I earn, and sometimes more, even though I'm not retired.
Sounds like you never will be.
If you figure close to 0% real going forward for the next few decades, there's just not much incentive to save.
Actually, I'd say there's even more incentive to save in that scenario (not that I believe we're going to see 0% real for the next few decades... Another bull market will come someday).

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HomerJ
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by HomerJ » Tue May 01, 2012 9:08 am

I save a certain amount each year, anything over that I can spend on "wants".

But my "wants" are usually in the $50-$200 range...

A new car? Save for it. Put money aside each month, save your bonuses, etc. in a "car fund" until you can buy it with cash.

Harold
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Re: When do you allow yourself to buy a "Want"

Post by Harold » Tue May 01, 2012 9:19 am

Having read through this thread, I have a couple of comments:

1) It's not necessarily depriving yourself or "not living" when you're not purchasing things. I know many (most?) people have learned to live a life of consumption and don't see it that way -- but it's really enlightening to realize how little of a connection there is between consumption and enjoyment of life.

2) There are several references to "buying what I want, not what other people say I should have". While I recognize what people mean by that, I hope people realize that virtually all our "wants" come from some form of marketing or societal expectations. Again, a little illuminating to realize that. Doesn't mean that you never buy anything, just that a little reflection into what truly matters to you can go a long way.

And on a side note, I just love how the meaning of the word "want" has changed in the last couple of centuries. If you look at early 19th century writing, it's used in the sense of something important that someone is lacking "it is cold in my home because I want coal", whereas now it's merely a desire "I want a BMW that flies".

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