money health weekly


Understand How and Why You Spend

conspicuous spending doesn't make you happy
❝Before I spend money I ask myself one question: Is this worth my freedom?❞ -Joshua Fields Millburn

I'm walking to lunch when I see the car dealership. I walk in, knowing that somebody will come up to me and start hounding me, but I'm okay with that. It's 2008, and my car is over a decade old and stopped working about a month ago. I work downtown, so I take the bus and don't really need my car, which is why I haven't gotten it repaired. Plus, I'm sick of getting this thing repaired. It seems like every two or three months, I have $700 or $800 worth of repairs. It's time for a new car.

I start looking at 3-year-old used cars. Specifically, I'm looking at compact cars because I literally only need my car for commuting. As I'm going through the process, the salesman tells me that he can get me into a brand new mid-size sedan for the same monthly payment as my car loan on the smaller used car. Before I know it, I'm signing the paperwork to lease a brand new car.

It happened so quickly I don't know how I ended up with a different car than I wanted. The following weekend shed some light on why I spent the way I did. I’m invited to a poker game at the house of one of the partners at work. I notice that everybody else has a nice car. Many of them are luxury cars. That's when it hit me; I wanted to fit in with the people I was working with. Even though I didn't get a luxury car, I did get a newer car than I intended, and it stretched me financially.