For this post, when I say spending I’m talking about spending fun money on the things you want, not just spending any money. Today we’re going to talk about fun money, and different ways to spend it. And I’m not talking about whether to use credit or debit; I’m talking about how we think when we spend. You need to figure out what kind of a spender you are so that you can avoid pitfalls that could easily entrap you. In order to help you understand what I’m talking about, I’m going to discuss the difference between how my wife and I think about spending.
Nick Thinks About The Product
To my wife’s annoyance, I tend to be extremely thoughtful about purchases that I make. I very rarely make a purchase in the heat of the moment. Typically when I buy something I will do research to make sure I’m getting the absolute best product and best deal before I even step foot in a store. For large purchases, it can take me weeks or even months before I have decided on exactly what I’m looking for. But even for small purchases like clothes, movies, or books I rarely spend spontaneously. There’s something about spontaneous spending that makes me anxious; I can’t even handle it. I’m constantly worrying whether or not I’m getting the best deal or whether there is something else a little better out there. I can’t even enjoy what I’m buying if I haven’t done my research.
For example, earlier this year I decided I wanted to learn how to longboard. I spent 2 months talking to people who longboard, reading articles online about different boards, checking out boards at local shops, and price checking different companies before I finally purchased my longboard. This drove my wife insane because I couldn’t stop talking about how badly I wanted one. In her mind, I should just go to the nearest shop and buy one. That’s crazy to me because what if I found something later on that I liked better! I can’t stand to purchase without research. To me, spending is all about the product or service I am receiving. And I want to make sure I’m getting the absolute best bang for my buck; for me, the research is part of the fun.
Hanna Thinks About The Experience
While my wife understands my quirky research, she doesn’t like spending money in that way. Sure, she wants to get a good deal, but Hanna doesn’t need to spend hours googling every type of product in that category to guarantee it’s the best. To her, spending isn’t only about the product, it’s also about the experience. She doesn’t like to buy clothes when she needs them; she likes to buy clothes when she’s with someone special or on vacation. Hanna doesn’t fret over getting the absolute best deal available if it means sacrificing the fun of the experience. She enjoys what she buys because of what the product means, not just because of what it is.
Hanna loves to buy things when we are on vacation, because it gives her something to remember the trip by. On the other hand, I have a really difficult time spending money on vacation, because I never know if I’m getting the best deal. Another example is when Hanna goes shopping with her mom she likes to buy things because to her it gives her something tangible to commemorate the event with. I’m the complete opposite because I don’t care who I’m shopping with, if I haven’t done the research, I don’t want it. See for Hanna, spending money on what she wants is good, but she really prefers to get it at a trendy craft show, with someone special, or on a fun vacation. For her, the experience and the story are part of the fun just as much as the product itself.
Why Does This Matter?
I tell you all of this so that you understand that people are different. But although there are many ways to think about spending there’s not a right way and a wrong way. Both my wife and I are completely justified in our spending habits and both types of spending can fit well into the TrueTighwad lifestyle. There isn’t one right way, there is simply your way. And although your view on spending may not be wrong, it’s still important to recognize how you view spending because it can help you avoid some pitfalls.
Pitfalls of Researching
One of the biggest downfalls is that I sometimes have a hard time actually enjoying the products I buy because I am so focused on getting the absolute best deal. If I feel like I haven’t done enough research, or that I’m not getting the best bargain, it can ruin my entire outlook on buying that item. Remember money is meant to be used as a tool to help you gain freedom. If you are constantly sucked into bargain shopping to the point that you lose sight of why you’re doing it, you’ve not gained anything at all. Even if you’re financially independent, if you are enslaved to the bargaining game then you haven’t gained any freedom, you’ve only changed masters. If this is you, be careful not to ruin the experience because you are so focused on getting the best deal. Remember, money is a tool to help bring you freedom, so relax and smell the roses.
Pitfalls of Experiencing
If you’re the type of person that enjoys spending more when there is a neat story or experience that accompanies the spending, you may be tempted to buy things you really don’t need or want. One of the big things I talk about here on TrueTightwad is making an effort to consciously decide on what is important to you. If you like to spend more when you’re at a cool shop or on vacation, it may be difficult to still act consciously while you are there. It’s very easy to start buying things that you won’t ever use, just because there’s a nice story to go along with it. But, of course, everything should be done in moderation. If your spending is in the budget and you really want it, go for it, after all that’s what spending money is all about.
How Do You Think About Spending?
Thanks for listening to me talk about how my wife and I think. Although these ways may be common to many they are not the only two ways to spend; I’m interested to hear how you think about spending. Be sure to leave a comment below and tell me how YOU think about spending!
Photo by Wade M via Creative Commons/Flickr.
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