What? How did I not know this? and so begins my personal tug of war of WANT vs NEED.
As the week of Thanksgiving approaches, what I call the Season of Temptation begins. Since I’m mostly satisfied with my gear I don’t spend time researching or looking at options, except for tents. The perfect tent for me doesn’t exist, so I compromise and keep my eyes open, not such a good idea during the Season of Temptation.
During a recent hike, I couldn’t stop the debate in my head. I have birthday money and soon I’ll have Christmas money. Do I spend toward a want or need?
In my working life the decisions came easier. Trying to stretch savings means practicing restraint. Impulsive purchases are a thing of the past.
I’ve always been a problem solver, one who thinks outside the box, so why not do the same to fund a want? I planned to pay to have the inside of my car detailed (old habits are hard to break especially chores you don’t enjoy). As you can imagine it’s pretty grungy after months of driving on dusty roads and living in it . . . with a few rodent visitors (ewwwww). But if I cleaned it myself, I could save $100 and put that toward a want. Afterall I have more time than money. This thinking makes me chuckle. Are you saving to spend? Spending to save? I’ve never been one to rationalize purchases. With an MBA, I understand finances; this is funny math.
When I stopped working 3+ years ago I changed my lifestyle so I could stretch my savings. These are a few examples:
- No more hair coloring nor a sassy short cut. Instead I embraced my gray and get it trimmed every 4-6 months.
- Walking to appointments and errands saves gas, vehicle wear and tear, gives me fresh air and exercise.
- Getting rid of stuff cluttering my home and life.
- Repairing items or taking advantage of warranties, rather than buying replacements.
- DIY rather than buying.
- Smart shopping focused on sales, coupons, free shipping, generic brands, discount retailers, older models, etc.
- Simplifying my wardrobe. I now think of it more like a uniform. I’ve got my sleep uniform, travel/town uniform, hiking uniform. It’s flexible and I find I need fewer items.
- Eliminating home internet. I’d given up cable and satellite years previous and since I’ve learned to use public WiFi when traveling I figured I might as well do it at home too (provider limits vacation hold to 3 months annually).
- Learning new skills to fix things around home like plumbing and appliance repair (thanks YouTube).
- Gifting time in the form of services rather than goods (i.e. pet and house sitting, caregiver relief, etc.).
- Postponing purchases, yep my phone is 4+ years old.
- Exchanging pay-to-play credit cards (i.e. American Express) for cash back credit cards (at a much better return than a savings account). More funny math? Nope, it’s free money! I charge everything so I can earn more free money.
- Donating with the power of purchases (i.e. Amazon Smile program) or time. My designated charity got $200 from me via my Amazon purchases last year.
So back to the original question, want vs need. I WANT to stretch my savings so I don’t have to go back to work. I WANT that tent because I prefer the color. I NEED new glasses, phone, shoes . . . Will I? Won’t I? Stay Tuned!
Do you have similar debates?
Meanwhile if you want a few more temptations to add to your list, here are some of my favorite items. Disclosure: these are Amazon links and as an affiliate I get a small kickback.
- Nitecore NU20 360 Lumens Rechargeable Lightweight LED Headlamp
- Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Poncho
- NEOS 15″ Adventurer All Season Waterproof Overshoes (for snow hiking and snowshoeing)
- Sawyer Products Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin
- Blue Desert SmarTube Hydration System
- AcuRite Suction Cup Thermometer (removed from plastic housing)
- Anker PowerCore+ 10050 Premium Aluminum Portable Charger
- Explore Cuisine Organic Gluten Free Spaghetti
- Bob’s Red Mill TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)