I hear a lot of people complaining about money (specifically, the lack of it), and yet they do things I would never do - like buy lunch every day or trade in a car that is less than 3 years old (and still has a car loan) for a new vehicle. (Admittedly, I used to buy lunch every day, but that was before the layoffs started at the big telecom company in 1998. I didn't get laid off, but I did start bringing my lunch.)
That made me wonder - what financial decisions do I make that seem like poor decisions?
The first big one is that I bought a house, on my own, when I was 28. (Well, actually, I started the process when I was 27.) Don't get me wrong, I love my house, but it would have been a lot cheaper to keep renting. My mortgage is more than my rent was, and that doesn't include property taxes, repairs and upkeep. Buying is a lot more expensive if you're only looking at it from a financial perspective.
Related to the house purchase is snow removal. I pay for a company to plow my driveway every time it snows. Yes, I could do it myself - in theory - but you have to remove snow when it snows (you can't wait until you have time) and doing it myself would have a negative effect on everything from getting to work on time to leisure activities.
Boxing is another one. I love boxing - it's good for me physically and mentally - but boxing for the year costs around the same as my gym membership for the year. The difference is that for that money, I can go to the gym as often as I want, but I can only box once. (For that matter, I don't need to go to the gym - but I do value it, so I'm willing to pay for it.)
There are little things too - I've mentioned my newspaper issues, but I could also save money on my phone bill. I could get rid of cable TV. Theoretically, I could get rid of my internet access (although that is unlikely to make it to the top of the list anytime soon).
Should I change any of those things? Well, I probably could check into making changes to my phone bill (and I should definitely cancel the newspaper), but hopefully I won't be in a financial position where I need to make changes to the others.
A new car every 3 - 5 years isn't my priority - but that doesn't mean that it's the wrong decision for other people. If you drive a lot or really dislike having to get your car repaired, maybe it's the right choice for you. The key is to spend your money on what you value. For me, a new car is lower priority than my other choices.
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