Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How do you Cap your Financial Luxuries?

I’ve had a pretty bad last week, on top of the happenings at work, my TV died. Okay, so the TV dying is not quite on the same level as the work shake-up, but it does add insult to injury.

I’ve wanted an LCD TV for quite a while to replace my bulky 19” RCT bedroom TV that takes up half of my dresser top. My envy of others for their LCD TV’s has been getting greater and my monthly shopping trip to Target or Wal-Mart for staples has started including a side trip to their electronics department to visit LCD TV’s.

I’ve recognized this is a desire and not a need, and I can “make do” with my current bedroom TV so it’s senseless to spend $400 on a desire when I already have a product that creates the same out put. My side trips to the electronics department have helped reinforce how expense it would be to replace a working product with a new one just for looks. Until recently that is.

Last week, actually the very day I’d been called about the change of career plans I went home tried to turn on my bedroom TV and all I saw was snow and static, but could faintly hear through the static the show coming in. I thought my cable had gone out so I called my cable company to come out and repair it, I’d had a few problems similar to this about a year ago and it was because the signal had been reversed.

The cable company finally came out to repair it yesterday. The repairman told me that it wasn’t the cable line it was my TV. He even got a cable extension to run from my bedroom jack into my living room TV prove it was the TV. According to him it’s my tuner. I called a local TV repair place to obtain a ball park figure to replace the turner and was informed it would cost about $250 but they would need to look at the TV first to confirm and to look at it if I chose not to have them do the repairs would be a $50 service charge.

Well no dice, I am not going to spend that much to fix a 13 year-old TV, that to be honest I’m surprised it still functions since it was an el cheapo no name TV to begin with. Instead of fixing this TV I’ll buy a new TV. From my visits to the electronics department I know I could purchase a replacement TV similar to my current one for about $150 or I could purchase a LCD for about $400. For a price difference of $250 I decided that I’d just go for the LCD, its what I want, chances are it will last longer, it will be easier to move in the future, it will be HDTV ready for the 2009 conversion, etc etc.

I get excited, I started seeing the new LCD TV taking the place of this old clunky RCT TV. I can see it hanging on my wall, not sitting on my dresser, I’m day dreaming about my shinny new TV, the clear pictures it will present. Oooo I’m even thinking about having a functioning remote control – oh life is good. I’m so excited I could finally justify dipping into my non-emergency irregular expense funds to buy a TV. I even went on line and started browsing to check out deals and get a better feel for prices.

I’m all giddy with the idea of a new TV, until Mr. Be-Mine and I talk last night and I’m relating my excitement about being “forced to buy a new TV”. He deflates my excitement by offering me his RCT TV that he keeps in his basement game room since he never uses it; in fact it’s not even plugged in. There goes my giddiness about a new LCD TV. No longer am I “forced” to buy a new TV, I have an option now.

I still really want that LCD TV, but now it comes to choices do I really want to spend $400 for a 19” LCD TV or use a 30” free RCT TV? There’s a big price difference between the $250 to buy the TV I want compared to spending $400 when I have the option not spend a dime.

I can’t help but listen to the “gemme gemme’s” and the “Iwanna wants” voices in my head when it comes to the LCD TV. I’m usually pretty good at squashing these inner voices for most purchase but squashing this voice when it comes to an LCD TV has started to become harder. I realize a TV is a luxury, but it’s a personal choice that I’ve made now its just where to draw the line with indulging my luxury.

Where do you draw the line and how do you reign in your material things desires without tightening the belt so tight you feel so deprived that you struggle to stay on the “material things diet”?


Moneymonk said...

You have to live sometimes, if you can pay cash for it it would not hurt

JB said...

Your last question is key:

Where do you draw the line and how do you reign in your material things desires without tightening the belt so tight you feel so deprived that you struggle to stay on the “material things diet”?

You do not want to feel that way. Period. Otherwise you'll be miserable and it's just not worth the money you'd save. I think the most important thing is that you thought about the purchase... long, and hard... and then in the end, you make a personal decision that you'll be happy with.

Mom said...

that is such a hard choice. I guess it depends on how deprived you would feel without your new tv. I hate feeling "poor". When I'm feeling poor is when I blow my budget.

"Future Millionaire" said...

Thanks all for your input.

@ moneymonk - I could pay for it outright. I might just take your advice and go for it - I'm still debating in my head. I figure I'll wait it out until I move back to ATL in a month before deciding which course of action to take.

@jb - I guess diet's not the right word - maybe chosen simplicity would be better. Whenever I get a desire to buy something I usually check my bank balance online and get more happy with seeing the money grow there than I would from the actual item. But this time I'm really struggling - I hate having to withdraw money (I mean I really hate having to withdraw money) but at the same time I want it and have been wanting it for quite some time.

@ mom - I think I'd feel deprived if I didn't have a TV at all in my bedroom since I've always fallen asleep to a TV as a child and I enjoy watching the morning news when I get ready in the morning. But I don't think I'd feel deprived without an expensive LCD tv and watched a free RCT TV instead, I just wouldn't be a giddy about watching th RCT. might have just helped shed a little more perspective on my decision. Thanks!

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