Author Topic: Things to buy despite hair on fire debt?  (Read 3056 times)

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1982
  • Age: 40
  • Location: South East Virginia
Things to buy despite hair on fire debt?
« on: March 06, 2014, 09:49:15 AM »
Got to thinking that we talk a lot about cutting spending and eliminating waste but on the other side what abnormal things should be bought even with hair on fire debt within a mustachian lifestyle?

Example: This week a good friends mother went into the hospital, so I spent 70$ to send flowers.  My only debt is the mortgage and I save over 50% of income but even if I had 10k in cc debt I was working to pay down I think most here would agree that spending to send flowers on a cc (maybe a cheaper option but still) is appropriate.

What else is would you say is appropriate to go into deeper cc debt for?

We always look at this from the spend less side, I think it might be useful to establish a boundary on the other side. 

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4929
Re: Things to buy despite hair on fire debt?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2014, 10:06:37 AM »
With that sort of debt, I'd send or take a balloon, or maybe just mail a card depending on the level of the emergency. But I'd do something, which I think is your point.

For a funeral, I'd send flowers regardless, but I don't have to send the biggest arrangement available. I'd also take food for a local funeral, but that's not the custom everywhere. If the funeral was for a relative, I'd pay to travel to it. In that case, I might not send flowers also. I'd travel cheaply and stay with extended family (not the bereaved household) but I'd go.

On the same note, money to relatives back home for Decoration Day -- not optional, and I'd do it if it meant I had to cut way back on my own food.

I'd contribute something to a collection being taken in town for a child needing life-saving healthcare. Keep in mind this "town" is small enough to be sure who really needs it.

I think all of mine fall into this sort of "be a decent person" category. There's just stuff you do unless you're simply incapable.

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1982
  • Age: 40
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Things to buy despite hair on fire debt?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2014, 10:20:43 AM »
Quote
With that sort of debt, I'd send or take a balloon, or maybe just mail a card depending on the level of the emergency. But I'd do something, which I think is your point.

yes, there was a time element here.

Interesting was not expecting a national holiday to be mentioned.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4929
Re: Things to buy despite hair on fire debt?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2014, 10:28:00 AM »
Quote
With that sort of debt, I'd send or take a balloon, or maybe just mail a card depending on the level of the emergency. But I'd do something, which I think is your point.

Interesting was not expecting a national holiday to be mentioned.

I actually didn't mean the (newer) national Memorial Day, though I do wear a pin on my lapel at least on that day. In my home county, Decoration Day is in late April. It's a very regional custom, maybe unique to rural Appalachia. I don't go back home for it, but as I get older, I may well find I feel the need. Here's a link to more information (not my own home area, but the same general idea):

http://www.alanjabbour.com/decoration_day_book.html

alm0stk00l

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Age: 37
  • Location: The awesome biking city of Houston
Re: Things to buy despite hair on fire debt?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2014, 10:34:20 AM »
I think all of mine fall into this sort of "be a decent person" category. There's just stuff you do unless you're simply incapable.

I think the hair on fire emergency is for people who have multiple years of cc debt that they need to pay down. If it will take you 4 years to pay down your credit card debt, then you are living off of money from 4 years in your future and I would consider that person incapable of doing stuff. But I have always felt that the overall message is that if you are in debt, don't turn to money to handle things that come up. Be creative when approaching any situation. If you need to send flowers determine if you can go pick wild flowers from somewhere within biking distance and send those. If you have thought of several solutions to a problem and none of them are better than spending money, then you should spend the money. I have never taken it to mean that you have to spend $0, but that before spending anything, attempt to find a solution that doesn't borrow more from your future.

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4929
Re: Things to buy despite hair on fire debt?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2014, 10:47:08 AM »
I think all of mine fall into this sort of "be a decent person" category. There's just stuff you do unless you're simply incapable.

I think the hair on fire emergency is for people who have multiple years of cc debt that they need to pay down. If it will take you 4 years to pay down your credit card debt, then you are living off of money from 4 years in your future and I would consider that person incapable of doing stuff. But I have always felt that the overall message is that if you are in debt, don't turn to money to handle things that come up. Be creative when approaching any situation. If you need to send flowers determine if you can go pick wild flowers from somewhere within biking distance and send those. If you have thought of several solutions to a problem and none of them are better than spending money, then you should spend the money. I have never taken it to mean that you have to spend $0, but that before spending anything, attempt to find a solution that doesn't borrow more from your future.

Yes, I agree with that. There are times when there's no good alternative to money (the kid needing healthcare) or the alternatives would cost more than the original option (would cost me more in gas to go home and pick flowers for Decoration Day than to contribute to the family flower fund). But alternatives can and should be sought. I also don't think I listed anything that one should have to go deeper into debt for, or at least not for long -- almost anyone in the US and Canada can cut $30-$40 from the grocery bill over a couple of weeks to pay off some flowers if need be, and most people have entertainment spending that could just be cut completely.

I listed things that, because of my values, I'd be willing to forgo paying off debt for. To me, also because of my values, this means I'd go without fresh food for a week or two in order to pay for them if I had to. After all, a diet of lentils and oatmeal won't kill most folks for a week or two. It would be an improvement in some cases. :-)