Posted by Tim Stobbs on March 2, 2009
Ah, you are enjoying one of things in your life you love. It’s a treat and you know it, but you enjoy it all the same. Yet at some point something changed. At first it was hard to tell, but the enjoyment didn’t seem as good then the thought comes to you: am I getting too much of a good thing? Has something I loved been cheapened by doing it too often?
The reality is the question is easy and hard all at once. When you are used to being frugal and only doing certain luxury things on an occasional basis it can be easy to see the spending habit change. Yet at the same time determining if this is just another spending habit change which you are ok with or if you are getting too much of a good thing is much harder to see because you have to hack your own brain to get an answer.
I know I’ve strugled with this once in a while myself. When did you leave ‘enough’ and what exactly is ‘too much’? The reality is there is no one single answer. Enough is a broad place that shifts around depending on a thousand and one things that could have changed. Did your job stress just go up? Are you spending less time with your family? Is your increased spending on this treat just a sign of a problem elsewhere? Is is your luxury now a block you are using to avoid dealing with some emotional issue?
Perhaps, maybe. A good sign you are on the right path with those questions is when you start to feel uncomfortable. Keep asking yourself and you might be surprised by the answer. In the mean time the best way I’ve come across to determine if you are spending too much on something is to reduce the spending for a while. Then ask afterwards “Did I really miss that?” If the answer was ‘No, not really’ then you were getting too much of a good thing. If you did answer yes, go ahead and crank up the spending if it doesn’t alter your plans too much.
Perhaps the one thing I’ve noticed I have trouble with is learning to spend more on some things. After ruthlessly cutting back for years it is interesting to be on the other side of the hill and adding some things back on. So far we are doing this in stages and slowly to determine if the spending is truly making us more happy or not. In some cases, the answer is made even more difficult by it makes my wife happier but not some much with me.
Who knew increasing spending is harder now than reducing spending?