Spend on the things you do every day

I used to be guilty of spending money on the life I thought I lived, rather than the life I was actually living. To illustrate what I mean, consider the following past expenditures:

  • Snowboarding apparel, for my first and only snowboarding trip to date.
  • Evening dresses from Bluefly.com. Yes, they were purchased at a big discount, but I had nowhere to wear them!
  • A mountain bike. I was so dedicated to riding, for about three months.

Last week I read an article on the Psychology Today blog titled “What You Do Every Day Matters More Than What You Do Once In a While.” Written by Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, the main point of the article is that people are happiest when they make decisions based on their daily life, not the life they lead every once in awhile. From the article:

In his fascinating book, House Lust, Daniel McGinn notes that market researchers use the term maximum-use imperative to describe the fact that people will often buy something to accommodate a use that they need only rarely…Along the same lines, I've noticed that when making decisions, I tend to give too much thought to what I do once in a while and not enough weight to what I do every day. For example, I wear running shoes 29 days out of 30 days a month, yet I have three pairs of black flats and only one pair of running shoes.

Maximum-use imperative doesn't just affect happiness, though, it also affects your bottom line.

Buying For Someone Else's Life

It struck me that spending money on the things I used to do once in awhile was a large part of why I wasn't saving money, or at least spending on the things that really mattered, and yes, that led to a lot of unhappiness.

For example, as mentioned earlier, I used to buy clothing for someone else's lifestyle. I had clothes for snowboarding, cocktail parties, and mountain biking. I had several winter coats and countless pairs of gloves, and I live in Texas. Who knows how much I spent over the years, buying new apparel every time a new hobby interested me or picking up a little black dress without so much as an event on my calendar? Not only was the money wasted, but it also chipped away at my happiness. I had a closet full of clothes and nothing to actually wear. I also had to look at the result of my spending habits every morning when I got dressed, which only made me feel bad.

Then one day I'd had enough. I started cleaning out my closet and pared it down so much that my husband and I now use the same small closet β€” a huge accomplishment if you knew me 10 years ago! (If you're interested, you can read more on my process and how I've maintained a streamlined wardrobe in a previous GRS post.) I'm not perfect in this regard, but I do ask myself if I'll really wear something before I buy it, and I walk away more often than not, which surprisingly feels pretty good.

House Rich, Lifestyle Poor

Another example of maximum-use imperative is the person who buys too much house so he can host the entire family during the holidays. This isn't far-fetched; I know more than one person who has done it. It's a lovely sentiment to want your entire family under one roof, and a gracious thing to offer to host them, but if you're a family of three and you buy enough house to accommodate 15-plus people, that's a huge expense you'll pay all because of a few days during the holiday season. The mortgage payments will be higher, not to mention taxes, interest, insurance, utilities, and then the time (or money) spent to clean a larger house.

Instead, if you think about your family's daily needs and go with a smaller house, you'll have more options, which might include the following:

  • Moving somewhere more central (paying for location instead of square footage)
  • Paying off your mortgage faster
  • Buying a smaller house and using the extra money to travel
  • Saving the money you'd spend on a larger house for long-term goals, retirement, and other investments

On a day-to-day basis, one of those options will probably make you much happier. Then, during those few days of the year when family is in town, you can find a way to make things work. Better to structure your life and your spending around the other 362 days of the year.

Invest in Your Real Life

I just returned from a trip to Italy and Spain, and I was tempted more than once by a great sweater or scarf that I saw in a shop window. One of my travel companions said, “You're here, just get it so you won't think about it later.” I thought about it for a second, and then I remembered that I have more than enough sweaters and scarves and decided I'd rather spend the money on tickets to a museum or a round of churros and chocolate, or maybe just save it toward the next trip.

As Rubin writes, “…we're happiest when our decisions most closely match our natures and our values,” and that's definitely applicable to our spending decisions. Instead of spending money on the things you use once in awhile, ask yourself how often you'll need something before you buy it. Then invest in your day-to-day life, not your fantasy life.

More about...Investing

Become A Money Boss AndΒ Join 15,000 Others

Subscribe to the GRS Insider (FREE) and we’ll give you a copy of the Money Boss Manifesto (also FREE)

Yes! Sign up and get your free gift
Become A Money Boss AndΒ Join 15,000 Others
guest
133 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SB @ One Cent At A Time
SB @ One Cent At A Time
9 years ago

Excellent write up April, as always. It is one thing to convince our-self not to buy things that lose its utility in very short time and its another thing to convince our children. You say mountain biking affection for three months led you to buy one, I think every one of us would do that. Having demand for three months is a long enough time to forget the rules. During that three month period, I am sure, you were mostly thinking of a mountain bike. I would say if I give in and buy then when I see the value… Read more »

jeffeb3
jeffeb3
9 years ago

I like to buy things used when I am first starting a hobby, and then when the desire leaves, selling them can recoup most, if not all of the money spent.

Ron
Ron
9 years ago

Well, one of the benefits of buying high quality things is that they will hopefully hold their resell value more. It is much easier to put down $1000 for a mountain bike when one realizes that it won’t be that difficult to recuperate that money if the need ever arises.

Marsha
Marsha
9 years ago

I find that I’m still accumulating things for my “used to be” life. For example, I once hosted a large dinner party every year for about 30 people for an organization I’m part of. Even though I haven’t for the last few years–the group grew too large to hold a party at a member’s house–I still find myself buying cloth napkins, dinnerware, etc. when I find a great bargain. I need to remind myself that I’m not planning to open a banquet hall.

Dan M53
Dan M53
9 years ago
Reply to  Marsha

Oh, don’t get me started on “bargains”! I have to fight that all the time. I’ve found myself saying “that’s a great price and I’ll save 50% if I buy it.” No…I’ll SPEND 50% if I buy it.

I’ve bought tech gear at a discount thinking that I’ll sell it on eBay, then leave it sitting until it’s out of date.

“Bargains” are the opiate of the cheap!

Paularado
Paularado
9 years ago
Reply to  Dan M53

Bargains are the opiate of the cheap.

OMG, I’m going to remember that forever.

+1 for you!!

Pamela
Pamela
9 years ago

Great post, April. I see people buying houses based on their “wanna have lives” all the time. The biggest example is someone who thinks they need a lot of acreage to garden but don’t even raise plants on their window sill in their apartment. I have one exception to making your best purchases for your every day life. Right now when I go sailing in the rain, I use my thrift store nylon sweat pants and rain jacket. After all, I don’t have to be out on a boat in the middle of the lake in a storm. I can… Read more »

Derek
Derek
9 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

I like your window sill gardening example. I sometimes feel like making a purchase will spur my interest. But if I put in zero effort before, I won’t magically change after buying.

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago
Reply to  Derek

Same goes with fitness gear. We all know somebody who has a treadmill or Bowflex in the basement that they thought would “make” them exercise.

Claire
Claire
9 years ago
Reply to  Pamela

Yes, as a townhouse owner, I have been resentful of the fact I don’t have a yard to speak of (I moved into my husband’s townhouse). This past year, I decided to stop complaining and try container gardening to see if my complaining was even warranted. I tried it & loved it! So now I know that a yard to do bigger things is definitely in my future & isn’t an unwarranted request. Likewise to this article, our 3-bedroom townhouse has 1 bedroom as a guest room. WHY? The in-laws used to come for one week out of an entire… Read more »

Danielle
Danielle
9 years ago
Reply to  Claire

Maybe you can use that room for something else… like a place to grow plants, if it has good light.

Matt, Tao of Unfear
Matt, Tao of Unfear
9 years ago
Reply to  Claire

Or rent out the room on AirBnB (or host couchsurfers for cultural exchange). I just stayed with a guy in New Orleans who converted his garage into a miniature hostel, complete with kitchenette. I was planning on posting my spare bedroom on AirBnB to recoup costs until my kid brother needed a place to stay.

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
9 years ago
Reply to  Claire

We split the “guest room” into half office, half guest room. That way we have the space in use almost all the time.

Miser+Mom
Miser+Mom
9 years ago

Right on!

The other things those once-in-a-while purchases do is, they begin to own us. It’s hard to get rid of that banjo I bought in 1998, because I feel guilty about all those music lessons I wanted to take but didn’t. Or because I think I’m going to do it “someday”. Meanwhile, the banjo is sitting in the corner staring at me balefully.

Bareheadedwoman
Bareheadedwoman
9 years ago
Reply to  Miser+Mom

it’s still begging you to learn to play or give it to someone who will. banjo’s aren’t happy being art. πŸ™‚

aw go on, don’t wait for lessons…just an afternoon in the house alone, pick it up and see what it does.

cc
cc
9 years ago
Reply to  Miser+Mom

lol for some reason everyone in my friend circle has either picked up or considered picking up the banjo in the last year (and i’m in brooklyn, not appalachia). i had a instructional dvd and made it a few chapters in, but couldn’t quite get the hang of it. i think it was the twangy sound- on the one hand it’s kitschy and cute, but on the other i didn’t want to sound too deliverance-y. happy ending though, i wanted something simpler so my husband bought me a ukulele which i still play weekly (SO MUCH EASIER and cuter sounding);… Read more »

Andrea
Andrea
9 years ago

Matt Paxton(of Hoarders Tv fame/infamy) wrote a book about his work. He talks about past/future- people who hold onto/buy things(obviously in his work -this is to a terrible extreme) to create a future or keep hold of a past while keeping themselves from living today. Hopefully, no one here has the problems seen on those shows but the basic idea is useful.

Amanda
Amanda
9 years ago

Examples of buying for my lifestyle: Small townhouse that allows me to walk to work because I really don’t like driving. No TV because I don’t watch it. Belonging to the YMCA that I can walk to even though it is $20 more expensive than gyms I can drive to, because I know I won’t drive to it but I’ll walk to the Y (plus it has a sauna and whirlpool). Examples of not doing so: Often considering new skiis, because the ones I own are over 10 years old, but I didn’t ski once last winter. Continually looking at… Read more »

Beth
Beth
9 years ago

I can relate to this post — this is why I don’t have an iPhone or iPad when my friends think I need one πŸ˜‰ I don’t need it — it just doesn’t suit my lifestyle. I have a basic cell phone for emergencies, but when I’m not at work or home I generally don’t want to be bothered with phone calls or email and I’m not into text messaging. Everyone keeps telling me “think of all the things you could do…” and while that may be true, the fact that I don’t miss them now is rather telling. I… Read more »

cc
cc
9 years ago
Reply to  Beth

“think of all the things you could do….” i feel like this was my mantra when i broke out of school with my credit cards! by god, i could buy so many things! think of the designer boots! the furniture! the new motorcycle with a set of custom kevlar pants! i have SO MUCH CREDIT!

what i’ve finally learned after a few years is yes you *can* do these things but you will have to pay for them eventually and there might be a better use of your money than custom kevlar pants, even though they are pretty cool.

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  cc

Good point!

With the iPhone, it’s also a time management issue too. I’m trying to cut down TV/internet time, so do I want a device that will let me play more games, watch more video and access more online content?

Some of my friends use their smart phones to read or listen to books, commute, touch base with the office, etc. when they commute. (Not driving, obviously!) And why not? But that’s not my lifestyle.

cc
cc
9 years ago
Reply to  Beth

lol, i specifically avoided mentioning i-things. we are total gadget freaks, we have an android, iphone, ipad, and a few other random touchscreen devices. i do a lot of professional work on the ipad and watch netflix on it constantly so i can’t complain about that, BUT… i downgraded from my iphone to a regular dumbphone and made my husband do the same with his android. my friends with smartphones tend to be the rudest- they’re always checking email, taking photos, flipping through albums, bringing up apps- they’re more on a date with their smartphones than the people they’re with.… Read more »

Danielle
Danielle
9 years ago
Reply to  cc

It’s really interesting, because this is a lesson I’ve been learning recently. Just because I CAN do something doesn’t mean I SHOULD, or that it’s a good idea. It goes for buying things as well as life choices.

Samantha
Samantha
9 years ago
Reply to  Beth

This!!!

I have avoided the smartphone revolution and have been labeled a “dinosaur” by friends. (I’m 28.) I might pull the trigger if not for the crazy ongoing costs. And I don’t really want to be constantly available to everyone. And maybe getting lost could lead me to an adventure?

I have graciously turned down offers of Ice Cream machines and Sno-Cone Makers and Fondue sets and an Avocado Scooper (not joking). People think I’m crazy not to want a Quesadilla Maker, but I know my life will be just as good (better?) without one!

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

The worst part about it is that people then think I’m judging them for having these gadgets. (I’m not — well, not most of the time!) I constantly finding myself saying “I see how useful it is to you, but I don’t think it would be useful to me.”

cc
cc
9 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

i miss getting lost! before smartphones and gps (and high gas prices) i got into so many adventures just driving around trying to find things. paper maps even! now if i go out without my gps i hyperventilate, despite it directing me through ghettos and into lakes.

Becky+P.
Becky+P.
9 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

Ooh…I’d really like one of those things (Quesadilla maker). But, I’ve learned I can make 3 quesadillas at a time using 1. sandwich machine, 2. waffle iron and 3. frying pan.

Bella
Bella
9 years ago
Reply to  Becky+P.

I bought a quesadilla maker once. It was at a garage sale, so only $5. First it sat on my counter for a couple months waiting for me to use it (since I SOOOO wanted it), then it sat int eh pantry waiting to be used, and finally it went to Goodwill! That was a VERY good lesson on buying for a fantasy self (albeat a cheap one at least)

Amber
Amber
9 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

Samantha I am so with you and we are the same age. I do not even own a toaster because I just toast it on the open flame of the gas stove (I know, I know, not so safe if I had kids or were easily distracted)… some day soon I plan to get one of those little camp pyramids that hold your bread away from the flame. I found the simplest way to deflect unwanted gizmodery is to let your loved ones know you just do not have room to store “X” in your kitchen. This goes over better… Read more »

SF_UK
SF_UK
9 years ago
Reply to  Beth

I did this for a long time, until my lifestyle changed, and I kept thinking “darn, I could do that easily with a smartphone, but it’s really difficult without”. When that continued for 6+ months, I researched and bought a phone that fits my needs. Love it. And I use it for exactly what I predicted I would (mostly calendar and email access, with occasional e-book reading).

By waiting until I needed it, I probably saved a few hundred pounds on contract charges, and didn’t feel guilty.

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  SF_UK

There you go! I just had to replace my old cell phone after seven years so that’s why people were fussy about me getting a smart phone. I stuck with my cheap pay-as-you-go phone because it suits my lifestyle right now.

However, when I change jobs I might need to get a smart phone — but there’s no sense paying for it now. The technology is constantly changing, so something better will probably come out anyways. (Or I could buy the current model used.)

imelda72
imelda72
9 years ago
Reply to  Beth

That’s exactly it! iProducts and their ilk are all created needs – new “needs” that companies provoke via marketing, and then fill via sales. My tech-obsessed family thinks I’m so weird in that I have never evinced any desire to buy an iProduct (so much so that they have gifted me all of them…. I confess that I *am* rather attached to my iPod nano, now) Whenever people say that people demand a higher standard of living today than in the past, this is what I think of. All of these “desires” that have been instilled in us thanks to… Read more »

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
9 years ago

Interesting. This is exactly where I’ve found myself lately — wanting to maximize the things I use every day while discarding most of everything else. There’s just no value in buying and storing and maintaining things I don’t use often. I too am often tempted to buy the neat little things I see in stores, especially when traveling. In the past, I would have bought them. But I came home from Peru with just two types of souvenirs: books (to help me learn Spanish) and small, cheap stuff I’d purchased from kids. I’m wearing a couple of bracelets at this… Read more »

tjdebtfree
tjdebtfree
9 years ago
Reply to  April Dykman

I just came back from Costa Rica – souvenirs? 1 pair of earrings (made out of various Tican woods), 1 bracelet made by a local resident of La Fortuna, and of course coffee (including several bags of it for many of my friends – and yes I bought it at the local mercado so it was extremely cheap compared to the coffee shops occupying numerous corners in San Jose). I have found over the years that these types of trinkets are the ones that I remember most fondly and end up wearing again every so often!!!

Dogs or Dollars
Dogs or Dollars
9 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Same scenario here. Our house is much too big for our lifestyle. 2 people, 2600+ sqft, really? Not exactly efficiency living.

I’m in the process of trying to make my house work for me though. I turning the giant yard into a garden. I’m using it to have Chickens. I rent out the extra bedroom whenever the opportunity presents itself.

There could be advantages to my stupid decision. πŸ˜‰

Brian
Brian
9 years ago

I think it’s important in life to try new things and push our boundries; whether that means snow boarding or mountain biking or something else. Some of those things require purchases. But that doesn’t mean we have to go overboard. Used, or rented low-end gear is a perfectly acceptable way to try out something. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

I’d be careful not to take away from this article the message “don’t spend money on new experiences.” Doing that may make our bank accounts richer and our lives poorer.

javier
javier
9 years ago

I believe your “fantasy lifestyle” is a place to rent, not to buy. You can rent sports equipment if you don’t use it frequently (ski, watersports…), usually is better as you allways have the latest and at the end the cost is so much more smaller.

I’ve allways wanted to be able to play the electric guitar, but I don’t want to buy one until I’m really able to play a few songs.

In the past I’ve spent a lot in “fantasy life”. I guess I’ll do it again, but now I’m cconscious I don’t want to.

Laundry Lady
Laundry Lady
9 years ago
Reply to  javier

Another happy compromise, is to share an item with a friend or relative. In my family, we each host one holiday a year. So we all pitched in bought a triple food warmer to make holidays easier. No one wanted to spend $50 on a rarely used item, but divided by three families it wasn’t so bad. My brother in law does similar things with specialized home renovation equipment. He, my dad and a friend “own” a really nice tile saw together. They decided it was better than each of them owning a cheap tile saw that they used once… Read more »

Mrs Random
Mrs Random
9 years ago
Reply to  Laundry Lady

I have a similar arrangement with a friend. I collected a lot of old silverware in a basket, for the two or three times a year I have large gatherings, because I don’t like using and throwing away plastic ware. My friend borrows the basket periodically for gatherings at her house. It’s good to share! This works with all kinds of specialized tools and equipment, too.

smirktastic
smirktastic
9 years ago
Reply to  Laundry Lady

We did the same thing with a (ginormous) screen and projector for outdoor viewing of football games. The screen construction and projector purchase was a bit much for one family, so we split it with two other neighbors and we take turns hosting outdoor sports parties. Sadly, because we live in WI – it is a seasonal thing. But we still may brave it for the playoffs. Go Pack Go!!

tjdebtfree
tjdebtfree
9 years ago
Reply to  smirktastic

You could have movie nights in the summer too – have everyone bring a potluck item and enjoy a movie in your back yard – we have venues all over L.A. doing that now during the summer evenings – so fun! That way you would be getting more use out of your screen & projector….

Bella
Bella
9 years ago
Reply to  Laundry Lady

This gets into JD’s repetition of social capital, we co own a snowblower with our neighbors. It doesn’t snow that often – but when it does we each have pretty big driveways. and usually one of us takes it down the street to help out the little old lady, or the couple next door with a newborn, that sort of thing.

Slinky
Slinky
8 years ago
Reply to  Laundry Lady

Our family has acquired ‘holiday chairs’ – a motley collection of folding chairs, camp chairs, etc. Whoever hosted the last holiday stores them till the next holiday and brings them along to whoever is hosting this time. Each of us only had a chair or two, but between all of us we generally have enough seating to go around.

El
El
9 years ago

I’ve been telling myself pretty much the same thing lately with my current desire for an IBM Selectric, as I’m regretting giving my old one away. I don’t do that much typing anymore. Even though it’s fun… Besides, I already picked up an Olympia manual with a nifty script typeface. I can probably procrastinate this problem away.

Holly
Holly
9 years ago

Excellent post. When my family *must* buy new equipment for a hobby I’m not sure will be embrace fully we do our best to buy used or borrow equipment. This has worked extraordinarily well for us, and some of the used equipment (such as a children’s learn-to-windsurf kit) has earned its purchase price many times over in happy memories. The one dragon I can’t slay no matter how hard I try is craft supplies. I have supplies for so many projects, and I’m at a point in life where I just can’t make the time for crafts. It may be… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  Holly

I have issues with that dragon too πŸ˜‰ One way I cope with it is to be honest about what projects I will and won’t finish (and what materials I will or won’t use) and then find a cause to donate them to. Depending on the materials, it could be a local school, group that knits or quilts blankets for patients/people in need, groups that sell and make crafts to raise money, etc. Unfinished projects and unused materials sort of feel like a debt to myself. Donating items relieves the pressure and guilt as well as clearing up clutter in… Read more »

Jennifer Gwennifer
Jennifer Gwennifer
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

My mother and I belong to a local quilt group, and once a year they hold an auction amongst themselves. People bring in their UFOs (unfinished objects), bags of scraps, old books, and extra craft and sewing supplies for others to bid on. The money raised helps fund group activities for the year.

Doesn’t really help with cleaning out, as my mother often comes home with more projects than she gets rid of, but it keeps her motivated to finish things. It also cycles out those projects that hang around so long you can’t stand looking at them.

Bella
Bella
9 years ago

This is a great idea – I’ve heard before that sometimes people give up a hobby only to take it back up when they get rid of the supplies *because* the last project was really the problem. I can imagine that some projects just need someone else to take them over, and then there is the notion that if you’re super crafty friends don’t see any value in that project – maybe it is time to just let it go and start something else. Of course – I’m someone for whom that particular dragon has taken over half my basement… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

I love this idea too! Sometimes you just have to move on. I’ve given away UFOs but kept my tools (that’s where a lot of my money went). It’s been a freeing experience.

Slinky
Slinky
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

That’s the great thing about knitting. I can start a project, get it half or three quarters done, realize it just isn’t working, tear it all apart and reuse all the yarn. Granted, there’s usually a period of time where it sits on a shelf before I can stomach tearing apart all that hard work, but at least I can try something else without wasting the yarn. I’ve got a couple sewing projects that just came out too small, and I loved the fabric so much I can’t quite bear to part with them! They make me sad. πŸ™

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

This is a great post. I hopefully will be in the market for a house soon. I already figured out the minimum house I need to be happy. If I want to have a big party that won’t fit into my house, I can always rent a space at much less cost than higher mortgage and taxes every month. And I won’t have to clean it before the party! Same for a car. I have a small car, doesn’t work for camping which I enjoy with my kids. But I can rent a larger car quite easily for those excursions… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  Sara

The house hunting is tricky, isn’t it? I’m trying to figure out how much space I need as a singleton. Do I buy just what I need right now, or do I allow a little extra room in the hopes that I won’t be single forever? πŸ˜‰

Amber
Amber
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Elizabeth,
The route I decided was to buy the house that fit my life today (as a singleton). When I come to the part in life where it is time to marry/move-in, I figure we will work that out together. It is not easy to make that decision though, because there is a lot of pressure to ‘buy for your future’. Figure though, the person you will marry likely got the same pressure, so worst case you end up with way more housing than a newlywed couple needs!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  Amber

Thanks for the reply πŸ™‚ The sticking point with me right now is that I currently need a home office space — which I may or may not need in the future. People also keep telling me I should go for an extra bedroom so I can rent it out for additional income.

Also, if I’m willing to pay a little more, I can buy a place close enough to the university/colleges in town that I could keep the place as an income property should I move in with someone else.

It’s confusing! Ultimately, budget will win out.

A-L
A-L
9 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

One of the things I would think about is how far in the future you think things might change. Remember, if you go to sell a house, you’re out 6% off the top in real estate commissions. So if you think your marital status might change in two years, do you think that you’ll be able to recoup that six percent if you want to sell and get a new place with your significant other? Or is the loss of that money okay for you considering what you’ll receive in return (a right-size house for two years)? Personally, a 2-bedroom… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  A-L

Thanks for the advice πŸ™‚ “How far in the future things might change.” That part made me smile. Alas, my crystal ball is broken! If only personal goals like meeting the right person and having/adopting a child were as easy to plan for as career and financial goals! (which aren’t easy either..) Lately I’m worried that planning for “what if” is making me forget to live in the present. How many more years am I going to put things off because I might switch jobs and move or I might meet the love of my life? Right now I’m thinking… Read more »

Becky
Becky
9 years ago
Reply to  Sara

Great point. If you look at how much the typical formal dining room costs in terms of mortgage, furnishings, cleaning labor, and maintenance (one set of paint/flooring only lasts 20 years even in a minimally-used room), you could *treat* your friends/family to a nice dinner in a restaurant quite a few times a year.

Not to say buying a house with a dining room is always the wrong idea, but looking at actual costs vs. alternatives can be very interesting!

Bareheadedwoman
Bareheadedwoman
9 years ago
Reply to  Becky

The house i had growing up was a ranch with an over-cabinet/peninsula separating the kitchen and “formal dining space” with the wood table, carpet and buffet. My parents set up a enameled top table (about the same size) at the end of the galley kitchen on which we ate, and the dining table–which we could see full view not even 8 feet away–just held mail and the weekly newspaper. Since, I’ve lived in many houses with “formal dining rooms/spaces” and although I have a table, chairs, and buffet, I don’t think i’ve ever really had a dining room… The current… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago

Funny you would mention the dining room πŸ™‚ My parents got rid of their kitchen table in favour of an island with more storage space and work surface. One we kids left home, they never ate in the kitchen — only the dining room!

One condo I looked at recently had an eat in kitchen but no dining room. I’ve been wondering ever since how badly I need a permanent space for dining. (I don’t do many dinner parties… yet.)

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago
Reply to  Becky

Our dining room is too small to be useful as an actual dining room. Ours is a combined store room/office. We use our living room to host large sit down dinners.

We take two cafeteria tables and put three large pieces of plywood on top. We rounded the edges on the two end plywoods so with table cloths on top it looks like a real long table.

We’re not formal people so a formal dining room is a low priority for us.

Liz
Liz
9 years ago
Reply to  Becky

Great post April. Really spot on with what I’m trying to do with my finances right now (I have earning, saving and investing working well – just need to perfect conscious spending now). We are currently debating buying either 2 or 3 bedroom house. The potential 3rd bedroom would be for guests but mainly for the inlaws who stay with us once every 2 years (for a few weeks). For the difference between a 2 and a 3 bedroom house (about $50k all up) we could actually pay for a 5 star hotel for them on the odd occasion they… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
9 years ago
Reply to  Liz

When it comes to houses, you also have to factor in resale value and ability to sell. A two-bedroom house is going to be a LOT harder to sell than a three-bedroom house. In turn, a four-bedroom is easier to sell than a three-bedroom house, and I was reading that the difference in square footage is minimal between three and four bedrooms. Real estate markets vary wildly, but in many locations the price difference is far less than $50K. You also need to factor in future needs. It is much, much cheaper to pay some extra for a third bedroom… Read more »

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Liz

I wonder about the resale-value thing. I have had a lot of friends go looking for a 2BR and get upsold to a 3BR by the “nobody wants a 2BR you can only resell 3BR” argument, which seems like a pretty self-reinforcing pattern. Except that now prices are down and it’s harder to get a mortgage, maybe it will be harder to upsell more space to people and the 2BRs will sell better because people will stick with what they actually want for themselves, and plan less for resale.

cc
cc
9 years ago
Reply to  Sara

my husband and i had a consensus on the car situation as well- he owned one before he moved into the city, and after trying to park it on the street for a few weeks we tried a paid parking lot, after a few months of paying lot fees and one expensive car repair it was obvious we were paying out the ears for a car that we used about 2-3 times a year. he sold it and we got a zipcar membership- even at premium rates, we save oodles of money not having that car hanging around our necks.… Read more »

Quest
Quest
9 years ago

Very thought provoking post. You put into words very clearly the exact thing I’ve been rectifying these past 4 years LOL: the big house and the hoard that I used to own. That fantasy life cost me some big bucks, all of it wasted now. You won’t believe it but I woke up just this morning and the first thought in my mind was how much I regretted wasting 6 years of my kids’ lives in that house. How I wish we’d traveled instead. We wanted to travel but we couldn’t because we had a $3600/month mortgage payment and couldn’t… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago

I think we all have to be careful about very deliberate spending turning into selfishness. We built our addition to factor in our enormous family. I will say the size of our house comes in handy more than just Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. There are always at least two or three things every year – maybe a significant birthday, some major life event (e.g. graduation or First Communion) for one of our own kids, a wedding or baby shower for a neice or nephew. There’s always something going on. Our priority is our family, our own first and then our… Read more »

Becky
Becky
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I think you’re missing the point of the article, which is to spend money on the priorities you actually have and the things you actually do. Since you frequently host large gatherings at your house, you *are* spending money on the priorities you have and the things you do. The point about renting space is that if you host infrequently enough, then it is cheaper for you to host by *personally* paying the entire cost for a hall/restaurant a few times a year. People tend to underestimate the cost of additional rooms in their house. They tend to think only… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago
Reply to  Becky

Nobody’s suggesting that we save money by asking our friends and family to pay for something important to us but sometimes that’s the effect of overly conscious spending. If you intentionally bought a smaller house and spend holidays at a family member’s larger home, that is in fact what you’re doing. NOw maybe spending holidays with your family is not important to you at all, that’s ok. Or maybe you just legitimately can’t afford a larger home without signficant lifealtering sacrifices – that’s ok too. Or maybe you’ll offer to chip in actual money if a relative is hosting –… Read more »

Dan
Dan
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

Funny you mention this. My wife and I rent a 725 sq ft apartment (barely big enough for the two of us) but her sister and brother (and four kids) have this ginormous house 20 minutes up the road. Care to guess where all of the holidays are? Are you suggesting that we are moochers because we won’t pay for more space so we can entertain their huge family? BTW, if my friend only borrowed my crap once a year, I’d hardly think twice about it. I’d only care if he was borrowing it all of the time, and it… Read more »

Mom of five
Mom of five
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

@Dan – I think you become a moocher when you specifically decide not to pay for something because you know you can rely on someone else to have paid for it for you. We go camping a fair bit as a family, so we have several sizes of coolers. There are several people who borrow our coolers like clockwork every year. Does one person borrowing one cooler each year make a difference? Not really, but we have 5 or 6 people who’ve apparently decided they can do without purchasing a cooler for their once or twice yearly trips because they… Read more »

Jane
Jane
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I sort of agree with this. We have friends who all borrow our $200 steam cleaner each once a year. It has started to get annoying, because at any point it could break. We couldn’t really ask them to replace it if it breaks, and appliances tend to break. We let them all borrow it, but I often think, “why don’t you just buy your own?” It wouldn’t bother me so much if it were a ladder or something less destructible. It’s even worse if you decide to save money and live without a car; yet you always ask your… Read more »

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

I think you venture into moocher territory if you don’t contribute or reciprocate. My mom borrows things from friends, and they borrow things from her. (Usually it’s bakeware or things for entertaining.) Still, items are often returned with a thank you note or a treat. My problem is the opposite. I have things I would be glad to lend, but my friends would rather go out and buy new. Example: I have a friend who wants to try a slow cooker, but she’d rather buy one they try mine to see if she likes it. (I hardly use it and… Read more »

Amber
Amber
9 years ago
Reply to  Mom of five

Mom of 5, I think by owning the larger house you are also getting the benefit of everyone coming to see YOU and your kids on the holidays or these other ‘life events.’ When it is at your house you have the benefit of running the event, telling people when to show, what to bring, when to go home, and you don’t have to travel with your 5 kids (which I’m sure would be mega bucks!)

Lisa
Lisa
9 years ago

Daily use was the exact justification I used to buy myself an expensive super automatic espresso machine. It was pricey, but I use it every day…sometimes two or three times every day. Much better to buy that than a new super huge LED tv that would only get 2 hours of use once a week (that is our family movie time)….

Ren
Ren
9 years ago

Great piece. I’m guilty as well. I’ve invested thousands of dollars into guitars, amps, effects pedals, etc. I’m actually a drummer. But I REALLY want to be an amazing guitarist. However, owning two businesses doesn’t allow me the time to spend practicing guitar. At least not at this time.

Steven
Steven
9 years ago

This shows a lack of willpower, in my opinion, not in buying the things you did, but because you didn’t use them. And I suppose that’s the point of the article. Buy what you’re going to use, and use it like crazy. I’m not sure why you’d spent a lot of money on something you know you’ll get no use out of, such as a snowboard. I just bought my own snowboard this season, and I can tell you that it’s something I will use because it’s something I’ve wanted to do for years. Instead of putting it off for… Read more »

Well Heeled Blog
Well Heeled Blog
9 years ago

When I buy something I try to keep in mind 1. how long it will make me happy and 2. how happy it will make me. For example, my tango shoes – they cost $300 but I enjoy them every time I go dance. I’ve had them for 2+ years now and it’s almost time for a replacement (the soles are super worn). On a whim, I also bought a cocktail dress (also $300). That dress made me really happy when I first got it, but then I realized that in my Real Life I don’t really go to that… Read more »

Dan M53
Dan M53
9 years ago

Actually, you make me feel better about having bought a new pair of skis this year. I spend most winter weekends skiing, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get out 30 to 40 times. While that’s only 10% of the year, it’s a huge chunk of my winter free time. I might as well enjoy it while I’m out there instead struggling with old, broken down equipment. And besides, it’s safer to have new, tuned skis…..

Paularado
Paularado
9 years ago
Reply to  Dan M53

30-40 times/year? I think you come out far ahead by buying.

Dan M53
Dan M53
9 years ago
Reply to  Paularado

It’s not just the buying, it’s buying NEW skis. I’ve been skiing 40 years, and this is the second pair of new skis I’ve had. I splurged after stuffing $10 or $20 in my desk for a year. There are other things that I needed more, but I treated myself.

I’m sick of used skis. But I know that the first weekend I use these, they’ll technically be “used”.

Wish I could buy some snow now!!!!

Lynn
Lynn
9 years ago

The one that gets me is people who buy more house so they can fit their furniture in the house. I would understand if it was your grandmothers table, but otherwise sell it and use the money and a little more to buy a new one so you don’t buy too much house and cannot afford to pay your mortgage.

Beth
Beth
9 years ago
Reply to  Lynn

I know! I figure it will be cheaper to sell my current couch (didn’t pay that much for it to begin with) than to buy a place with a big enough living room for it. The cost for the extra space, and the extra interest on the mortgage, would be worse.

I turned down my grandparents’ furniture because they had a huge house and I know I’d never have room for it. Know what I use almost every week? My grandmother’s soup spoons.

Slinky
Slinky
8 years ago
Reply to  Lynn

When we moved into our current apartment, we had two big corner desks. They were the only things we could fit into our office. We kept rearranging until we finally realized (duh) get rid of these and buy smaller desks that fit! We had so much more room I was able to move in my sewing desk and a futon! The only thing I require a house or apartment to work around is my 1907 grand upright piano, which I got from the monastery that was it’s only previous owner. The piano is a bit of a beast, but it’s… Read more »

priscilla
priscilla
9 years ago

Whenever we buy things, we break it down by cost per use so that we don’t end up buying things we might use once or twice a year. I admit, though, clothes are still difficult. I live in Atlanta and still feel like I have one to many coats, although I have fewer than I used to…As for the sweater and scarf you coveted in Italy–I might have bought them and then given away something else in my closet! How fun to say, “Oh this? I got it in Italy on our last trip!” πŸ™‚

cc
cc
9 years ago
Reply to  priscilla

when i travelled a lot more often to europe, i’d make a point of going clothing shopping over there (and getting haircuts, too! authentic!). it was a fun way to get some unique souvenirs, absorb the local fashion and get stuff that no one at home had*. shoes from amsterdam, sweaters and handbags from london, bright red pants and school supplies from germany- fun stuff!

*h&m carries the same stuff worldwide, though. i’ve seen the same jewelry in several countries!

Jane
Jane
9 years ago

“I used to be guilty of spending money on the life I thought I lived, rather than the life I was actually living”. Wow! This is ironically me today. I got so many hobbies and buy things I only do once in awhile. Though I didn’t accumulate debts by doing so… I don’t have savings!!! This got to stop and thank you for this posting. It’s my AHA moment.

Katy+@+The+Non-Consumer+Advocate
[email protected]+The+Non-Consumer+Advocate
9 years ago

This is a great post! (And I second the recommendation of the book “House Lust.”) I think part of the process of growing older is learning to accept and enjoy the person you are. And part of that is embracing the uniqueness that makes each of us ourselves. Gretchen Rubin has a great quote about “You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do” that I love. I have been pushing the boundaries of my life over the past few years, and trying new experiences. Some has stuck and some hasn’t. Just because someone… Read more »

Heather Hamer
Heather Hamer
9 years ago

Great post! We’ve found ourselves tempted with this so many times, especially with our vehicle. We drive a small Corolla and have two kids so we are often tempted to buy a larger SUV or van. We have lots of reasons, so that when people visit we can pick them up from the airport, or make a trip to IKEA every now and then. We’ve decided that while car rentals from Hertz or Enterprise can get expensive, they save thousands in the long run if used just when needed. My husband wants to take up surfing and he will definitely… Read more »

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
9 years ago
Reply to  Heather Hamer

We grew up with VW Beetles and my folks had two kids and a dog. You have double the space with the Corolla!

Jennifer
Jennifer
9 years ago

People tried to convince us to get a big suv or minivan for our family of 4 just so we’d have space to cart around the family the family the flies in 3x per year. But instead we bought the. Car that works for us 49 weeks of the year and they can rent the minivan when they come into town. I’ll take my 23 mpg.

Laundry Lady
Laundry Lady
9 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

That is a great point! People keep asking us when we will get a minivan or SUV now that we are having a second baby. I will miss being able to carry an additional passenger, but it’s not worth the purchase of a new car. If we have a third child, we may have to talk about it. But again, for just around town driving our paid for Buick Century does the job. Our two or three trips a year out of state don’t financially justify the expense either (especially since we would have to finance the car and we… Read more »

Jane
Jane
9 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

There is a middle ground – the crossovers. They have an optional third seat where you could put the kids when family is in town. The most popular is the Mazda5. We have the Kia Rondo, and it gets 20 MPG.

Andrew
Andrew
9 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Subaru Forester–plenty of room and 29 MPG

Nina
Nina
9 years ago

I purchased high-end black stockings for $50 because I read a fashion book that said to invest in a good pair, that the cheap ones are crappy, etc etc. Never mind that I’ve only worn them three times and that I don’t really even like wearing stockings! I bought a bunch of gardening things to plan a tomato plant because I love the idea of gardening and growing your own food. Well, that plant sprouted ONE good small tomato. My husband still laughs and says it’s our $27 tomato after all the stuff I bought to grow it. I’m more… Read more »

Kurt Fischer
Kurt Fischer
9 years ago

Excellent point about buying enough house to accommodate uses that happen very rarely, if ever! Just think how many nights of luxury hotel rooms you could buy for visiting–and very grateful!–relatives for the extra cost of financing another, say, $50k worth of mortgage. I agree, buy a house that meets your everyday needs, not your once-a-year needs. Thanks.

bg
bg
9 years ago

I am guilty of buying things for new hobbies – but as I travel a lot by train, these hobbies need to be small to fit into the luggage. So it’s often been things like drawing equipment – or this year, six juggling balls which are very cheap for a hobby that I can do for hours each week outdoors πŸ™‚ The house thing… now that’s really a good point because we plan rather large but effectively, we mostly need a lot of storage *cough* and not so much room for living. I hope this will change a bit until… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
9 years ago

+1 on “rent, not buy.” In our case, particularly when it comes to cars. We own two Honda Accords which are driven daily.

Once in a blue moon we’ve rented a truck or SUV for a mountain trip, to move furniture, etc. We don’t need the high costs of a bigger vehicle more than occasionally, so why pay those costs all the time?

We’re in the same place right now as to residence. We are happy renters paying about 1/3 what it would cost us to buy equivalent square footage in our area.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
9 years ago

This is hard just after having our first child. I don’t think I know what I do everyday anymore.

Bella
Bella
9 years ago

Tyler – this so SAD!
I think the flip side of April’s arguments against spending on the life you *wish you had* is making sure that you do make the time for life you *realistically could/should have*. You need to carve out some time for yourself to do what you like. It’s not easy – but it only gets harder as they get older. I used to mountain bike 3-5x a week, for 2hrs, now I plan on 1x a week 40min-1hr and I remind myself it’s better than not at all.

Anne
Anne
9 years ago
Reply to  Bella

I don’t think it is sad. I think it is normal with a newborn. I didn’t do much of anything without the baby until he was about a year. I was perfectly happy.

All I wanted to do was sleep and take care of the baby. Learning to balance a child and your personal life is an evolving task. There’s nothing wrong with only focusing on your role in your family and at work for a little while.

Enjoy your family!

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago

Our son turned 6 this year. His dad went to the climbing gym regularly the first two years, when I was a SAHM. I’ve worked the last few years. I just quit my job this fall; now Daddy’s got out the climbing gear again.

There are a lot of things like that. Some things don’t keep, some things do, but you just can’t know in the first few years which ones that will be.

Becky+P.
Becky+P.
9 years ago

That is one thing about having children–it teaches us how basically selfish we are–not intended as a slap against you, Tyler, but as a basic mankind characteristic. Having children helps us see how much we value our own time and energy that we give up for our young children.

But, these aren’t the days to make major lifestyle decisions, Tyler, as I’m sure you know.

Just get through them–things will improve and you will change as a family (or you won’t) and be able to see what you enjoy doing or don’t enjoy doing later.

Jenzer
Jenzer
9 years ago

Foodstuffs can be problematic for me this way. I get to thinking that I should be the kind of person who eats more brown rice / ground flaxseed / kale / sprouts / butternut squash / lentils / etc., and wind up doing a lot of refrigerator and pantry pitching and tossing. The compost pile out back helps alleviate some of the purchasing guilt, but not much.

Right now in my pantry I have a can of light coconut milk and no recollection whatsoever of what I bought it. :p

Amber
Amber
9 years ago
Reply to  Jenzer

I recommend a butternut squash soup based on coconut milk

T Hollis
T Hollis
9 years ago

With the holidays looming, this is an excellent time for this Post! Instead of buying stuff that no one wants or needs, be creative and buy an experience like a museum membership. Give to an organization in someone’s honor, like the Salvation Army or Heifer international.

Krantcents
Krantcents
9 years ago

My wife and I go travel overseas every other year. On one of our trips, we were in the UK, I wanted to pick up a cashmere sweather. I can aford a couple hundred for it easily. Instead, I bought a great one for $40. Why? It was more important to have it at a reasonable price.

Tanya@TheInspiredBudget
9 years ago

While reading this, what struck me is it applies to time as well as to money. What we really spend time on, as opposed to what we think or want to spend time on, can drastically affect the quality of our lives overall. Good, thought-provoking article!

Dan
Dan
9 years ago

This post is timely πŸ™‚ My wife inquires about upgrading from a 1-BDR to a 2-BDR apartment (it’s just the two of us) because it would be nice to host family. Sure it would, but they’d only come once or twice per year. Do we really want to spend an extra $2500-$3000/year on rent? We don’t have a huge *need* for extra space during the rest of the year, so I don’t see the point in wasting the money. OTOH, we just bought a $400 blender after I saw it at a Costco demo. Now, I didn’t buy it for… Read more »

Carrie
Carrie
9 years ago
Reply to  Dan

My cousin and I used to own huge homes with lots of guest rooms so we each could host lots of friends and family. Finally, we both decided it would be cheaper to downsize and pay for our guests to stay in nearby hotels (she lives in a resort area and I live near a business area with plenty of Residence Inns etc). I have one guest room but after that, I will treat my guests to their own hotel room. It may not be as warm and gracious, but I am saving myself lots of $$.

Rosa
Rosa
9 years ago
Reply to  Carrie

There’s always the time-honored tradition of giving up your own bedroom (or, better, making the kids give up theirs). Last time we had guests we had people in the guest room, people in the kid’s room (he slept with us) and people on the living room rug.

I was just reading The Cheapskate Next Door and it reminded me of all the times in my childhood when the kids slept in the living room (all of us, home & visitors) under the Christmas tree, so some visiting grownup could sleep in our room. Those are among my best holiday memories.

Anne
Anne
9 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Start paying the cost of that newer apartment. Do it for six months or a year (if she can wait that long!). Then sock away that extra money and look at it after a few months. Maybe if she actually sees it collected she will think about differently or she may notice a pinch in your budget. But if she still really wants it, she might be right that it is something that will improve your life. I have friends paying at least five hundred extra a month for a second bedroom to house a tiny dog and two computers.… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
9 years ago
Reply to  Anne

I did this for a while and discovered I was more attached to the idea of watching my savings grow than getting a nicer apartment!

My current apartment is pretty run down though, so one way or another I’ll have to make a move. It will be nice to have that extra cash for a downpayment or emergency fund though.

Colleen
Colleen
9 years ago

Wow April, did you ever hit the nail on the head!!!! I don’t even want to tell you how many sequined and sparkly outfits I have hanging in my closet just waiting for an occasion to be worn!! YIKES! I have begun the downsize and decluttering process and I plan to rid myself of (much) all of this attire! And can I tell you how guilty I am of the big house to entertain in??? OMG!!! Our guest bedroom gets used maybe once a year. And I am so sick of cleaning all of that space! Unfortunately, due to the… Read more »

Ru
Ru
9 years ago
Reply to  Colleen

You can combine your problems and clean in ballgowns. Hoovering gets much more fun when you’re wearing a gorgeous party frock. I am a complete hoarder for dressing up. I have beautiful shoes and a couple of dresses that are just too dressy for a normal night out (they are more gala dinner territory). So once in a while I just wear them round the house (I have been known to wash up in them). I also model in them for friends who want to practice their photography. Basically, I have embraced eccentricity, and would rather turn up to the… Read more »

Kingston
Kingston
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Re: housecleaning in sequins — Ru, I love you!

Jynet
Jynet
9 years ago

I totally agree. Everyone keeps telling me that I should buy a vehicle because I ‘need’ it. And I do: for about 2 days per month, and 3 weeks per year. So I rent one when I need it. In the summer I get a Mustang convertable if I want. In the winter a 4×4. For the fall it is a small car for running errands in before the snow flies. This month I’ve had a rental for a total of 10 days. Total cost? $108 + $50 in gas. Insurance is covered on my credit card. I refuse to… Read more »

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

Along the same lines as the people who buy big houses just so they can accommodate family gatherings a couple of times per year, I think a lot of people pay extra for features they don’t really need on all kinds of products. When I bought a washing machine, for example, I was concerned because the reasonably-priced one I picked doesn’t have a delicate cycle. I considered paying more for a machine with more settings just because, I thought, “What if I need to wash something delicate?” But then I realized that my previous machine had a delicate cycle that… Read more »

Carol
Carol
9 years ago

I can totally relate to this! With great embarrassment, here are some of my purchases for the life I wanted instead of the one I have: party clothes for parties I never go to work clothes for the job I don’t have (I work from home now anyway!) a piano- I used to be quite good as a child, and I thought I would practice and get good again. cute shoes- 90% of the time I wear the plain old loafers I inherited from a family member. books I thought I should read to make me smarter a sewing machine… Read more »

Stellamarina
Stellamarina
9 years ago
Reply to  Carol

I had to smile when I saw cookbooks in your list. Yep guilty of that. Used to keep buying beautiful cook books that were so inspiring to look at and made me want to cook. Lucky if I cooked one recipe out of them. Have stopped that habit now. Anyways….lots of recipes on the internet for free if I want them and there are tons of used cook books at Goodwill.

Doug
Doug
9 years ago

This one hurts a bit.. time to reflect

Cate
Cate
9 years ago

Very insightful post! I am also occasionally guilty of spending money on things I think will make me a different person, or make my life more exciting (which I guess is the core goal of advertising!) Happily, I’ve been better about choosing my expenditures lately. A few months ago I bought a large, sturdy, and attractive canvas tote for hauling library books. I’d been using an old bag that hurt my shoulders, and since I visit the library several times a week, the new bag has gotten a lot of use. Just a couple days ago I ordered a pricey… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
9 years ago

Fantastic post! I used to be guilty of aspirational spending until I realised that I couldn’t buy my way into the life that I wanted.

Laura
Laura
9 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

“Aspirational spending” – I love this phrase!

vhien
vhien
9 years ago

I have nothing else to add up, all has been said on the previous comments. Thumbs up to your insights! Spending for a good investment in the future is really worthy.

Vince Thorne
Vince Thorne
9 years ago

simple but effective tips

Robin
Robin
9 years ago

It took a bit but boy does this post hit home. I don’t buy ‘things’ or hobbyist type things but I definitely buy clothes for a life I just do not lead. The number of dresses and lovely heeled shoes I have in my closet when what i really wear in a day to day basis are jeans and sweats and uggs. Ugh!! πŸ˜‰

SLCCOM
SLCCOM
9 years ago

You know, Robin, you can also start finding places to go with your lovely dresses and shoes. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Go to a local college concert, and dress to the nines. It honors the students who worked very hard on that concert. Go to a high-end restaurant and just order dessert or an appetizer. I once did that, taking a very pregnant friend to have some last adult time before her first baby came. It was lovely, sitting at a table at the Windows on the World in NYC with her. (Of course, now the memory… Read more »

Ru
Ru
9 years ago
Reply to  SLCCOM

The looks you get on the street are priceless too. Hold your head high and strut your stuff dressed to the nines. You’ll feel like a rock star.

Robin
Robin
9 years ago
Reply to  Ru

I am doing a better job of wearing shirts that used to be ‘too nice’ out to play dates and lunches. But until I get comfortable leaving the kiddo at home with someone the dresses and shoes stay in the closet. What I’m making the mistake of doing is still buying for my life before he arrived πŸ™‚ I just need to stop doing it. I have this image of a well dressed, perfectly made up and coiffed woman holding an immaculate toddler and nowhere in that image does a spoon of peanut butter or a lollipop make it’s presence… Read more »

Gerard
Gerard
9 years ago

It could be worse — you could spend a whole bunch of money justifying the purchase of the original item: “But we HAVE to go to fancier restaurants! These $50 black stockings are going to waste!”

Misty
Misty
8 years ago

I absolutely loved this post…something I want to think about more in my quest to simplify!

shares