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When instant gratification is way too fast - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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When instant gratification is way too fast [Mar. 30th, 2010|09:13 am]
Zoethe
Yesterday afternoon Ferrett and I went appliance shopping, looking for the range of my dreams. And, lo and behold, they have it, at Best Buy, on sale, with only a $30 charge for delivery, hookup, and haulaway of the old range.

This would appear to be a no-brainer. But I am hesitating - much to Ferrett's bafflement.

Perhaps I am old-fashioned, and maybe it comes from growing up poor, but when it comes to big-ticket items, it seems horribly precipitous to want something so - lets face it - awesome and shiny, and then to have that desire fulfilled almost immediately. The wanting should be like a slow seduction, a coy tease, something that gradually draws you and the object of your desire together.

I realize that this makes me sound like I want to have sex with my oven.

But there is another side to this as well. With taxes and all, we're talking about a $1000+ investment. On top of the $750 we've put into the car and the $2000 we've sunk into plumbing this year, it's getting to be a lot of dosh. And if we bought it now, I would feel like I couldn't spend a dime on other luxuries - in other words, no trips to the craft store.

If our range had up and died, it would be quite another thing, but all four burners and the oven still work. It isn't a needed replacement; it's an upgrade. And hey, I drive a car with 157,000 miles on it - clearly I'm not one for willy nilly upgrades.

And so. For right now? I've done my shopping around. I know just what I want in my next range. And if we start tucking away $50 a month for it, by Christmas time the remaining amount will be within Christmas present reach. In the meantime, I can wish fiercely that I had it, and it will be so much sweeter when I finally do.

I'm strangely comfortable with that.
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From: (Anonymous)
2010-03-30 01:28 pm (UTC)
For me, this sort of thing is largely about not trusting my own desires. Allow me to illustrate:

A while back we needed a new clothes dryer. The old one wasn't broken, yet, but it was clearly heading there. We did a little research, went to the store, and bought one. Not a problem for me, since I don't have a strong desire for a clothes dryer. It is a utilitarian device that makes my wet laundry dry.

On the other hand, the aforementioned grill. Weeks nearing on months of research, multiple trips to every store (and online store) I could find, and I still wouldn't have bought it half as soon if it weren't such a seasonal item. (Not that we didn't end up with one of the first two or three models we looked at.)

The difference? Because I really wanted the grill, I didn't trust my analysis of when it was time to just buy it. I've seen myself rationalize a purchase one time too many, and I don't need to have buyer's remorse over a big-ticket item.

-Alex
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 10:28 pm (UTC)
I think you make a really good point about that. It's a lot of money, and the question becomes whether it's best to stop with that one or go one more step up, or just live with what we've got, which will probably work for a couple more years.

It's the luxury of a hard decision.
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[User Picture]From: tylik
2010-03-30 01:53 pm (UTC)
I do this kind of thing. For me it's partly a budgeting thing - while I will go off and make a big purchase right now if there's a pressing reason* I usually like to spend some period of time contemplating the purchase, establishing where it is in my priorities, doing some research, some anticipation... Increases the enjoyment, slows down the rate at which I spend money.

When it's a thing related to a particular activity, I'll often gauge things by how much time I'm spending on that activity. When I was first getting into commuting by bicycle, I bought myself another bike accessory every few hundred miles. Until I had the right kit, anyway. Right now there are several backpacking related things I would love to get, but I'm not doing enough backpacking to justify it. (I did buy a backpacking wok I'd been wanting for years with my REI dividend last year. Of course, I'll use it more on foraging forays than I will backpacking... but it still feels awfully self-indulgent.)

* For instance, when the motherboard on my computer blew out last year, and attempts to repair it did not bear fruit - I really need to pull it out and take another look at it, though, as I have better tools and more surface mount experience.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 10:33 pm (UTC)
Increases the enjoyment, slows down the rate at which I spend money.

Yes. Very much this.
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[User Picture]From: samcallahan
2010-03-30 01:56 pm (UTC)

Same thing here...

It took me three months to decide to replace my four year old desktop computer with a $300 nettop. And my car has 170,000 miles on it.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 10:44 pm (UTC)

Re: Same thing here...

Good to know I'm not alone!
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[User Picture]From: gythiawulfie
2010-03-30 02:02 pm (UTC)

I think it is an excellent plan

And, you never know... by the time Christmas rolls around, a new model may be coming out, and this one will get marked down a bit too.

That is a very pretty range.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 10:44 pm (UTC)

Re: I think it is an excellent plan

I'm enjoying wanting it. How weird is that.
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[User Picture]From: mazlynn
2010-03-30 02:41 pm (UTC)
I'm much the same way. For me, it's come because I realize that often, the new shiney I want will be something that I'm kind of "eh" about if I wait a month. If I still want it that badly after doing all my research and waiting a few weeks, then it's probably the right decision.
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[User Picture]From: aiela
2010-03-30 03:37 pm (UTC)
That's how I look at it. If you REALLY want it, you'll still want it in a month or two. Or three. Or four.
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[User Picture]From: ccr1138
2010-03-30 03:18 pm (UTC)
Funny, I'm reading the comments and thinking, am I the only one who just buys stuff? I hate to shop. HATE. So if I want something and I have the money, I buy it, end of story. My husband will agonize over purchases for months, then buy it on sale for a meager savings. Meanwhile, I would pay EXTRA just to have the thing already installed and usable for that whole time. And buyer's remorse? No way. If what I got works and it's paid for, I don't care if I find out later there's something shinier or cheaper. I won't even look. That way lies madness.
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[User Picture]From: jeffpalmatier
2010-03-30 05:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I sympathize. Once I make a decision to buy something (or just do something), my personality is such that I just want to do it and get it over with rather than agonizing over it. On the other side of the coin, I do want to feel reasonably sure I made an informed decision, especially if it costs so much that it's not like you can just say, "Whoops!" and just buy another. I've been researching what new computer I'm going to get. As much as I would have loved to just order one right away, the (annoying!) research I did does make me feel a lot more comfortable in plunking down the moolah.
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[User Picture]From: idiolecto
2010-03-30 05:03 pm (UTC)
Hey, I don't know if this will work for you, but I'm in the midst of buying a new fridge from Best Buy. They price match other stores and, since Lowe's offers free delivery (plus hook up and take away), I got Best Buy to waive that $30 fee.

Now, aren't you glad you waited? ;)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:03 pm (UTC)
Ooo, good to know! I will keep that in mind.
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[User Picture]From: lunabird
2010-03-30 05:10 pm (UTC)
I just feel guilty whenever I spend money on anything that isn't food, a grooming product necessary to function in this society (eg. Deodorant, a hairbrush, toilet paper, etc.), or gas. I'll agonize over buying a 5 dollar book.I even get fussy over buying new clothes when my current ones are literally wearing out ("I bet I could look up online how to sew and mend that hole...").

While it's good for budgeting, it does make me feel like a humbug sometimes.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:04 pm (UTC)
I'm not that bad, but I do try to be careful.
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[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2010-03-30 07:43 pm (UTC)
i grew up with knots in the pursestrings, only the tiniest of coins were allowed to squeak through because we were Poor. (american military service does NOT pay well. period. we probably qualified for food stamps much of my childhood.) then i married Poor. twice.

so BIG purchases were a BIG deal. the only reason i got the stove of *my* dreams was because it was a floor model, was discontinued, and had a tiny scratch on the side that was hidden by a cabinet. that brought the price down over $150...and we could do it.

i *so* get your mindset. it makes much sense to me. and TheEngineer looks at me in bafflement, tells me "we must economise!" and buys something else sort of pricey. he's a strange man LOL
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:08 pm (UTC)
Whereas I grew up with a poor family that was regularly without phone and on the edge of no power because of stupid spending, so I'm terrified of falling into bad habits.
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[User Picture]From: evilbutcute
2010-03-30 08:12 pm (UTC)
With Christmas season some super awesome sales. Black Friday may be really worth it this year. There's always random stuff that goes way cheap that day.
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[User Picture]From: fortuna_juvat
2010-03-30 11:01 pm (UTC)
Exactly! I swear by black friday shopping, because I spend weeks comparison shopping before so I can walk in and say "I want (thing) at (price), we'll pull the car around."

And it helps that I don't usually want the TV or whatever the store only legally has to have 10 of.

There's a strange zen to wandering around in the black friday mobs knowing that you only need to get one thing and instead just watching everyone desperately grab at poorly thought-out gifts.
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[User Picture]From: zianuray
2010-03-30 08:32 pm (UTC)
I've noticed that ranges tend to outlast cars.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:10 pm (UTC)
Very much so. But I can't drive a range to court.
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[User Picture]From: phillipalden
2010-03-30 08:36 pm (UTC)
Erik and I have done a lot of things to our little condo to make it the way we really want it. The bathrooms are fully tiled, although I confess that said improvement was caused by water leaks from the shitty builder-installed showers.

We also got rid of the carpet in favor of laminate flooring, and replaced our sink with a deep, stainless-steel one.

We've done other things as well.

But the last part - refinishing our kitchen cabinets and counter tops, and getting a new stove/oven and possibly a new fridge - was put on hold after the "Sub-Prime Economic Crime Wave" hit in October of 2008.

Now we have to wait and see if Erik's new law firm is going to do well before we can finish the kitchen.

Live for today - buy the stove.

We did replace our clothes washer and drier, and our dishwasher - because the Obama Administration gave us a generous rebate for buying "energy saving" appliances.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:12 pm (UTC)
Alas, stoves are not in the energy savings plan.
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2010-03-30 08:40 pm (UTC)
I understand. And I have great appreciation, even admiration, for your choice to save up first. Our whole country needs to remember/learn how to do that.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:13 pm (UTC)
Thanks.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:13 pm (UTC)
That's the plan.
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[User Picture]From: scyllacat
2010-03-30 09:43 pm (UTC)
I like this post. I have been practicing saving money for a few months now, and when I finally get to New Orleans and have my new 'spensive training shoes, I'll be SO glad!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2010-03-30 11:15 pm (UTC)
That's what I'm hoping to do.
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