Many people (myself included) often want items that they can afford, but by buying it they are really hurting their potential savings for the future. I know personally that
Item I Want: A Nintendo Wii
Tactic I’m Using: Realizing I’ll rarely use it
Whenever I think about buying a Wii, I picture playing it with friends and also with relatives during holiday get-togethers. I’ve played with one and really had a lot of fun with the sports games with it, and I can see it being a barrel of laughs with some of my friends and relatives.
In order to avoid buying this item, though, I ask myself how much I would play it in a very honest fashion. The truth is, except for when friends are over, I probably wouldn’t play it much at all. Using that, I start calculating the costs associated with the system, an extra controller, and potentially a few more games (particularly the downloaded ones, which I would enjoy for the retro appeal), and I realize the cost per hour of enjoyment on a pure entertainment project is really quite high.
Item I Want: A Treo 700p
Tactic I’m Using: Unneeded item replacement
This gadget gets my motor running every time I see one. The plethora of features (mostly the PDA-related stuff) really make me want one quite badly, as I can see tons of uses for it, even on a daily basis.
However, I avoid buying this item by using a mixture of my pocket notebook and my current cell phone. The efficiency of using these items makes a Treo into just a replacement for them, and a very expensive one at that. Why would I want to replace a pair of items that do the job quite easily and for little cost with an expensive item that does both? That’s really, really ineffective and doesn’t generate any additional productivity.
Item I Want: A tailor-made suit
Tactic I’m Using: Repeatedly hinting at it as a gift
I’ve wanted a really well-fitting suit for a long time. My body build (very, very broad shoulders makes my body look like an inverted triangle) makes buying suits an adventure and I’d love to own a suit that actually fits well for a lot of occasions.
My current tactic for this is to hint at it as a gift. My parents, in-laws, and wife are currently insinuating that they’re getting together to get me a birthday gift, so I believe (hope) that it is this. I have no qualms about specifically hinting for gifts – they would buy me something anyway, and this way it is know that it will be something I want or like.
Item I Want: A Dance Dance Revolution setup
Tactic I’m Using: Waiting for the right price
This DDR home setup is basically a home aerobics system. I want something highly interactive that can get me in shape, track my progress, give me some clear challenges to meet, and also work on my balance and footwork (because, well, I lack grace).
So how am I not buying it? I set some very low thresholds for what I’m willing to pay for each piece of the setup (the Playstation 2, the mat, the games, and the memory card) and now I’m waiting for opportunities to buy at the low prices I have in mind. When I see a component at that low threshold, I’ll buy that component; otherwise, I’ll save the money.
Item I Want: A KitchenAid Professional 600 Series stand mixer
Tactic I’m Using: I’ll buy it when…
This has been the hardest item to resist buying because of my love for cooking. I have been making do for years with a hand mixer that has been a very sturdy one, but it has made it difficult to mix a lot of things, especially bread doughs and mashed potatoes, and also to mix complex things thoroughly and evenly. A really good KitchenAid will handle that with ease, making it possible for us to make even more foods at home. I’ve also identified some very good prices on the one I’ve been eyeing, a price point I’m comfortable with.
So why haven’t I spent my money yet? I’ve made an agreement with myself that when I reach a specific savings goal this year, I’ll buy this for myself at the end of the year. Thus, not only will I be rewarded with a very healthy start to my investments, I’ll also have something I’ve wanted to own for a long time.