I am pretty good at not spending money, but I definitely have my weaknesses. Some people eat out, some people buy shoes or clothes, and others purchase expensive coffee drinks. The three things in my life that I find continually haunt me, desire my attention, and ask for my money are music, books, and video games.
I am very passionate about music. I spend my days listening to music, usually the Digitally Imported Trance channel, with my Bose headphones at work or on my Klipsch or Harmon Kardon speakers at home. When I hear a track that speaks to me I want to have a copy that I can keep on my phone so it is always there when I want to listen to it. I purchase music to support the music producers so they can continue to make music that I love. Dr. SoS always asks me why I cannot just pull up the track on YouTube. She has a very valid point except that some of the remixes I enjoy are not available on YouTube. I could also check out SoundCloud or Mixcloud or listen to a sample on Beatport, but to me all of these solutions are an extra step and less convenient to being able to select the track from my own personal list. Not to mention these solutions do not support the artist. For the past few months, when I hear a track that I want to own, I add it to my Amazon MP3 Cart. When we purchase something we need from Amazon Prime, I always check to see if they are offering a $1 digital credit instead of 2-day shipping. If, so, I use that and save my credits. When I have some credit built up, I purchase a track or two from my mp3 cart. This way I am not spending money and still have a track or so per month added to my collection.
We LOVE to read in the SoS household. I enjoy listening to audio books in the car during the three days per week that I commute. Dr. SoS has tried to get me to cancel our Audible subscription for months, but I have yet to do it. As we began to focus more diligently on how we spend our hard-earned money, we started using the public library. I would like to read a copy of the book Value Investing: From Graham to Buffett and Beyond by Bruce C. N. Greenwald. Our public library uses a system called Overdrive where we can listen to audio books or read digital copies of books at no charge directly on our phones. This is an excellent choice, but the library does not have a copy in physical, digital, or audio format of the book I want to read. One of these days, I will purchase a copy, but until then I will continue to listen to the books I already own or find something else that strikes my fancy through the library.
You may scoff at the trouble I have with spending money on video games. I rarely have time to play, but I love to have a wide selection with which to play when I do have time. This is because I grew up in the golden age of video games. They were a large part of my life from the early games of the Atari 2600, Apple //e, Vectrex, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Sega Genesis, Sega 32x, and Sega CD to later in life with the GameCube, Wii, PC, PS2, PS3, and now PS4. In fact, it is because of a video game that I decided to write this post. When I was in my 20’s the Sega CD was my system of choice. A couple of my favorite Sega CD games were FMV or Full Motion Video games. Two of my favorites were cheesy B-movie type games called Sewer Shark and Double Switch. The latter even starred the late Corey Haim. Well, I have a friend that is even a bigger video game fan than I and he mentioned that a small company called Limited Run Games is releasing one of the cheesiest FMV games of all time, Night Trap, on PS4. Oh, how I would love to see the remastered version of that grainy old Sega CD game, but sadly it is not in the budget.
Not Buying It
I believe you have to understand your spending weaknesses in order to save money. I do not believe you should stop spending money on yourself as that is the fastest path to failure. I do believe you should do your best to limit your spending so that you can cover all your bills, save for your emergency fund, and save for retirement. I could purchase that sweet copy of Night Trap for $29.99 or the collector’s edition for $54.99, but until I build up our emergency fund once again, I am not buying it and therefore this time I will miss out. You know what, though, I am perfectly okay with Not Buying It. I sure hope my friend buys it, though, so I can play it. <grin>
If you are like me and also enjoy music, books, video games, movies, and the nostalgia of the 80’s, I highly recommend you read the book Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Steven Spielberg is directing the movie, but the audio book is read by Wil Wheaton and is definitely worth checking out from your local library.
What are your spending weaknesses? What do you do to curb your spending on those items? How do you keep from overspending? Do you still struggle with this area of your personal finance? I know I do. The good news is that you are not alone, my friend, and we can all improve.
Still Saving by Not Buying It…