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09 June 2006 @ 01:05 am
Discussion, budget for luxuries  
How do you decide how much to spend on luxuries? How do you decide how much a luxury is worth to you?

Right now I'm trying to figure out how long to wait for a newly released cell phone to go down in price. Which means I have to figure out what price I'm willing to pay.
SPIM the Pipelined Reindeerdzm on June 9th, 2006 12:01 pm (UTC)
When I was working for MIT, I looked at all of my friends who were buying toys, and evaluated my own toy needs, and looked at how much money I was making and how much I was spending, and concluded that if I spent $300 a month on "toys" (where that can be spent across multiple months and might be things I need but are still expensive; a new suit, for example, came out to two months of "toy") it wouldn't break the bank and and still be able to keep up with the Joneses.

The useful details here were having at least a rough idea how much money I was spending (I don't remember when I actively started Gnucash, but my current file only goes back to 2002) and feeling like I could get most of what I wanted in a reasonable time at that rate. (And actually spending a sane amount, and not owning a car.) This changes the "should I buy this toy" decision to "do I want it more than any other toy" rather than "can I afford it", since you've already decided you're paying for toys.
chenoamegchenoameg on June 9th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
I have a budget for personal expenses. Rob has one too. We call them allowances. I can spend anything in that budget on whatever I want. Mostly it gets spent on things like t fare, and eating out, and gas for the car. But whatever doesn't get spent in a month sits there to be spent later.

When I'm looking at a toy I covet, I think about what else I could do with that money. A $500 toy is enough money to go visit friends in CA. A $200 toy is almost an entire season of Lyric stage performances.

(At the moment I'm broke because I haven't paid the budget back for the laptop I bought from crs yet. I should be zeroed out next month, though.)

When I want the toy more than I want the possibility of all the other toys I could buy with that same money, I buy the toy. Usually this means I buy used electronics from my friends (thanks!). Big (more than $100) treats I've bought in the last three years include my elph, its replacement, fancy baskets for the lr cds, a trip to CA, presents for Rob, lyric stage season tickets, handel & hadyn society concerts, trip to DC, trip to a conference in MN, new hard disk (for the previous laptop), new cell phone (2002), fancy dishes, books.

(Slightly different from dzm: clothing does not come out of my allowance; Rob & I have one joint clothing budget. Furniture, joint vacations, and stuff for the house-- in other words stuff for both of us -- comes out of different budget categories than our allowances.)
Someone I am is waiting for my courageforgotten_aria on June 9th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
This is mostly how my system works, but right now I don't have enough solid wants to do the trade off. I mostly have "spend x money on this, or save it for something else and spend x-200 on this later, when the price comes down."