The Season of Temptation for hikers, backpackers, adventurers and the rest of the world

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.


Car Camping:

10 thoughts on “The Season of Temptation for hikers, backpackers, adventurers and the rest of the world

  1. You are certainly correct that this is the “Season of Temptation”! We employ the same “retired” principles of “spending”. The Want vs. Need is certainly a struggle. We (I) don’t generally shop unless we (I) need something…and it has more than one use (ideally). TV service is going in February…once our contract is up. It will be replaced with skiing and snowshoeing.

    • Exactly my thoughts. I’d rather invest in experiences vs stuff unless the stuff is need to enjoy the experience. This year my budget got blown when I had to replace camera that got ruined with a drop in the sand, had to replace glasses that disappeared, and now have to replace my phone with a screen that finally cracked after much use and abuse. Oh money, money, money . . . but am I ever happy for my health!

  2. Would I buy the Notch Tent again or go for one of ZPacks excellent ones? ZPacks tents are made from ultralight cuben fibre, so for example, the Solplex, excluding the required 8 stakes, weighs 439 gms (and 8 ti wire stakes at a min. would weigh 44 gms although I doubt the holding power of such stakes) and costs $US555. The Notch, including the stakes, weighs 770 gms and costs $US285. So the difference in weight is equal to 2-3 chocolate bars but the cost differential is a great deal more that 2-3 choc bars. Certainly from the reviews and my own experience, the Notch is an excellent tent. I can’t justify a cuben fibre tent.

    • I’ve been down that road so many times. My basket with ZPacks is always full of those light tents that don’t absorb water; however, I’ve never pulled the trigger for a few reasons. (1) the price; (2) the futz factor of non-free standing; and (3) the draftiness which I learned I didn’t like after owning a Tarptent Rainbow.

  3. Take a close look at that Frogg Toggs poncho before you buy it. If this is the same one they’ve been selling for a while, then it’s not especially light, compact, or good.

    I was in the U.S. in 2016 for only three months and didn’t want to go deep into anything expensive, so I bought one of these as cheap insurance during the summer backpacking season.

    Not good for me. Heavy-ish, too short, fabric too stiff, and the snaps kept pulling open in the breeze. Luckily, I needed it only one day.

    And this probably won’t help you at all, but I bought my last haircut in August, 1978. I’ve been doing my own since. I don’t know what a haircut costs now, but I’ve probably saved upwards of $4000 as a good guess. From what little I know, women’s hair work seems to cost five to ten times as much and men’s, so I feel your pain. But at least twice a year is better than every six weeks. And not working is great too. Keep doing that.

    • The poncho is heavier than many options but I like it much better than using a pack cover and jacket. I overheat while hiking and chill when stopped so it worked great during the numerous thunderstorms I had to wait out in Wyoming. I could get inside it with my pack and stay warm and dry. I usually use in conjunction with my umbrella. Of course length on me is down to my knees, it covers me and my skirt.

      I have a few friends cutting their own hair. I’m not ready to go that route yet. There are a lot of other changes I can still make to save more money before giving up that luxury.

      Great to hear from you. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Pingback: 2017 – Where Did Jan Jaunt? – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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