Last May, we held our annual garage sale on the same weekend that the Nintendo Wii was revealed. As I sat in my driveway, selling old stuff, I followed online coverage of the Wii on my laptop. I wanted one. “I'm putting this money in the bank and saving it to buy a Nintendo,” I told Kris.
I opened a separate targeted savings account at my credit union specifically for this goal. But I was wary of making a foolish purchase. I didn't want this to be an impulse buy. Using the principles of the 30-Day Rule, I told myself that if, after six months, I still wanted a Wii, I would buy it; otherwise I would use the money to buy Christmas presents.
Time passed. I added a little to my Wii account. (I couldn't justify adding too much when there are other much more sensible uses for the money.) Last week I decided that I did want the Wii after all, so I got up early Sunday morning to stand in line at a local department store. As I waited, I listened to a group of young men joke about how broke they were, and how glad they were to have credit cards so they could afford to buy video games.
I'm happy to say that I do not regret my purchase — the Wii is very fun. I'm even happier that I exercised discipline and planning with my money, and that I paid cash. After I bought an iPod on impulse recently, I felt guilty. I feel no such guilt over this purchase.
If there's some expensive frivolous thing that you desire — a pair of shoes, a new computer, a new bike — then plan for it. Save your money. Incorporate the item into your budget. When you make your purchase, do so with money that you have, and not with debt. It's possible to be wise with your money and to have a little fun at the same time.