It’s Always the Right Time

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.

My wife has a very interesting negotiating tactic – special occasions.  Generally, these special occasions involve food, and are not foods we would normally eat.  A special occasion could be anything, for example, we somehow ended up at Harvey’s last weekend for double cheeseburgers because it was a holiday.  Now don’t get me wrong, Harvey’s hamburgers are probably the best hamburgers out there, but I could have made comparable food at home, which would probably be a little cheaper and healthier.  Another of her favourite “occasions” is when she is sick, in which case normally pizza is the only thing on the menu (although my home-made pad thai is making up ground on it lately).

These situations are of course ridiculous – we both understand this, but about 90% of our lives we a pretty healthy diet.  The odd time, we really just don’t feel like eating this, and these “occasions” are just a way to have things that we normally wouldn’t have.

I think that this way of thinking is similar to how people get into debt trouble.  Lots of people decide that they “need” things and use this need as an excuse to buy whatever this perceived need is.  These “needs” could be things like vacations to relax from a hectic life, a bigger house to hold all the stuff you own or a myriad of other “stories” made up.

Personal finance is no different from most areas of life – if my wife and I never ate “bad” food, we would probably be a little less happy, similar to not being able to buy anything “fun”.  Some people are able to justify a purchase, whatever their economic standing.   I don’t think I’m any better in this way, all I know is, if my wife and I ate unhealthy food as often as we found occasions to eat it we would be poorer from the food bills and bigger than we would like to be.

What it boils down to is knowing your weaknesses and ensuring that whatever justifications you have made up for a purchase don’t put you in a position that you can no longer achieve your financial goals (or in my case, allow me to walk up a flight of stairs).

So, now you know how my wife and I allow ourselves to completely destroy our otherwise impeccable diet.  I’m wondering if we’re on our own in having peculiar methods to otherwise mar a perfect plan?  Have you ever talked yourself into buying something that you thought you needed, but really didn’t, only to regret it later?

3 thoughts on “It’s Always the Right Time”

  1. All the time…. It is the bane of this century. Consumerism. According to the adds, our friends, our peers, our family, and everyone else, its the road to happiness. Even for the few of us that know it is wrong, its still somewhat uncontrollable. The difference is that we don’t have the luxury of believing that we deserve these things above all else, like most others do. So we make up fancy excuses to let out hair down.

    In our house, its beer. Very unhealthy, will eventually cause us health problems. And at $30 a case, that’s a $10 a day habit between the two of us. Yet, every time we decide to not drink for awhile, there is always a convenient excuse to buy another case. I have to admit though, its reaching its apex, and the excuses are getting a little thin.

  2. I generally get buyer’s regret when I buy clothing. I will say that I rarely buy retail and usually only secondhand, but still $7.99 is $7.99 wasted when I discover I already had something else that would do or is more comfortable.

    That said, thrift has become a choice for me and my family over the course of the last 10 years. Thrift has allowed plenty of purchases over the years that others would consider unnecessary or even frivolous. What people see are the private schools and the trips. What they don’t see are the lack of cable, secondhand clothing and food purchased bulk and deeply discounted. Whatever gives someone pleasure, I am ok with as long as it is within their means!

    Great post!

  3. Yes, I think every one of us has had that weak moment to buy/eat something unnecessary. As long as your ‘good’ moves are the 99%, the occupy movement is not targeting you 🙂

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