This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I really wish I was less of a consumerist than I actually am. I wish I could say that I never buy anything, I dumpster-dive for everything I own and invest 100% of my paycheque. The problem is, I like “stuff” just as much as the next person. I attempt to limit myself to consumables, otherwise I store it for a while and eventually have to throw something out. My impulse buys tend to focus around booze and food – both of which I will happily consume (in moderation).
Last week, I went with a friend to “Golf Town”, which is a store I like because I can see all the golf infomercial gadgets seem like they would cause significant injury when used (has anyone else seen the driver that has a hinge halfway down the club?? – that thing is a weapon). My friend had a bunch of credit card points he had accumulated and was thinking about using them to buy a new set of irons, which retail between $300 and $1,000. He was wailing away with about 4 sets he’d read about in various golf magazines and had probably hit about 100 balls before narrowing his decision down to 2 brands. Before buying them though, I asked him how many shots per round the new set was going to save him. He thought about it, and came to the conclusion that it really wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Personally, the last time I replaced my clubs was because it was going to cost more to get them re-shafted (due to safety reasons – one of them had snapped off while playing and could have killed my playing partner) than it would be to buy the 3-seasons-old new set that was on sale at “Play it Again Sports”.
I bought my commuter bicycle (well, my only bicycle) for work for $30 off of Kijiji. The furthest distance I will ever probably use my bike for is about 10km to get around the city, so it’s not like it needs to be an engineering marvel. I look at the extra work of peddling a heavier, less efficient bicycle as an added workout. I’ve ridden this one for 3 years now, about 50 days per summer and haven’t had any problems so far.
These are a couple of examples where I try to be efficient as possible with money, where spending more isn’t really going to change my level of enjoyment of an activity I’m taking part in. I try to balance this kind of decision with “Waffle Maker Decisions” that I will regret because I cheaped out on a lower-quality product, as I have previously done with the aforementioned waffle maker, cell phones, or computer parts (long-use, and don’t make sense to replace constantly to me).
How do you decide where to spend money and when not to? Have you been burned before trying to cheap out?