The List

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.

In the past few years, as I read more and learn about different methods of organization I began to create lists.  I’ve found lists to be quite helpful in my job as I am able to define where my priorities lie and move away from (for me anyways) an inefficient method of multi-tasking.  The list that helps my wife and I with our finances the most is a list of “wants”.  Currently on this list (in no order of priority) are:  A king-sized bed, a 60-inch television, new carpet for our stairways, a fence and deck in our backyard, a vacation next year,  as well as various other items (our recently purchased car was on this list).

Currently, my wife and I have approximately 15-20% of our monthly earnings available to spend on “stuff” that we like to buy (dinners out, booze, clothes, etc), the rest of our money goes towards savings and paying off our mortgage.  If there is something big that we would both like, it gets added to the list and we save for it together.

If we were to not buy everything off of our list (currently and in the future) we would probably be able to retire 5 to 7 years earlier.  Since if we were to eliminate all consumerism from our spending and utilize that last 15-20% of our spending to invest, we would reach our goals much more quickly.

What the list represents is also a compromise between my spouse and I.  I would prefer (usually) to not spend money if at all possible, while she would like to live a more “normal” life that includes creature comforts.  Rather than battling over every item, we put it on our master list and if the item is still wanted when we have the savings available, we buy it.  If we lived a Spartan existence I have a feeling that there would be some marital discord, as I have been told in the past that that is not the kind of party that my wife signed up for.

So, this is how my household system of buying  large items works– there are probably better ways to go about deciding on “big-ticket” items (or as I mentioned, not buying them at all), but this system keeps all parties involved happy, and curtails impulse purchases that would probably end up creating debt, which is a situation that I think a lot of people get into.

Do you have a similar system of deciding on large purchases?  Do you just not buy the kind of “stuff” that I mentioned on my list in order to retire several years earlier?

3 thoughts on “The List”

  1. I put stuff on a 30 day list, then wait to see if I still want it 30 days later. Many times by then I don’t care about whatever it was any more. But if I do, and I have the budget for it, I may buy it. Right now I’m in a very frugal period so I am making very few discretional purchases, as I am saving up for a big move next fall.

  2. No list for us, though home repair needs may qualify (some new windows, in particular).

    As far as spending, I’m frugal to a fault, though my wife (newly retired) does like to shop for the grandkids.

    What helped was going over our finances with her (assets, amount of $ per year we need, where our various income sources are, etc.). It really got her attention and made her a more careful shopper (not that we are in real tight financial straits, but it made her feel like an active part in being fiscally responsible).

Comments are closed.