Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Buying, Spending And Using

Bicycling the coast with your two year old: money well spent.

Unbelievably I am still sick. I am not completely knocked out like last week but the foreign substance being produced deep in my sinuses and throat will keep me from doing any of the high end aerobic exercise I had been enjoying. I have a theory that our bodies want us to hibernate, to slow down, to get fat in preparation for a long winter and these autumn illnesses are the result of our attempt to fight that biological imperative to be lazy and fat. Just a theory. I have been back on the bike just running errands and commuting to work.
Yesterday I rode the bike over to buy a watch ( I have never been a watch wearer but thought it would be handy on the trip). I have a master purchase list that lays out all the things I need to acquire before next June 20. As my squirrel cache of cash fills up i look over the list and see what I should buy next. Looking at the list all of the big items are taken care of bike/bags/ lights/backpack. Remaining are things like chlorine dioxide, sunscreen and socks. Looking at all the things I have picked up and the things left to buy, I had to wonder if this event is an elaborate excuse to buy new stuff.
Twelve years ago I had a similar feeling when my wife and I biked down the Pacific Coast with our two year old daughter. The REI dividend that year was amazing. Twelve years later, we still have and use many of the things we purchased for that trip. We definitely got our money out of them because we bought good stuff that was going to last.
I have always thought that you don't have to have a lot of money to have the things you want, you just have to have a way to analyze what is important. I could find justifications to buy an iPhone, a 320gb external hard drive (on sale for only $99), a new ski jacket or a coffee maker. All of these things I have a legitimate need for but I have narrowed my field of vision for acceptable personal purchases. All of the money I spend is separate from the general operating fund that pays the mortgage and keeps food on the table. All purchases involve cash, no credit. I have committed myself to acquiring the items I need for this event and given myself enough time to get the money together for them; no impulse buys.
Perhaps after the race I will decide it is time to buy a coffee maker and forego my morning routine of boiling water and brewing one cup at a time with a mesh cone filter. The important thing is that whatever I spend my money on I want to feel like it was money well spent and the truest test of that it use.

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