Author Topic: Would you buy the umbrella?  (Read 4152 times)

Meinurgill

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Would you buy the umbrella?
« on: May 23, 2014, 05:58:01 PM »
I am new to this forum but I have been reading the blog for about a year. My husband and I are slowly beginning to live mustachian principles, but we are still wrapping our heads around it. We had a baby in August and we have a massive load of consumer debt, along with student loans etc. We struggle a great deal. We have already cut our spending massively, only use cash for purchases, etc.

My question today has to do with how to handle purchase decisions. I pretty much feel awful about anything I buy. But we need a new patio umbrella. Ok, we WANT a new patio umbrella. Ours is busted and we have chain-smoking house guests coming this weekend. We use YNAB religiously and have budgeted the cash to purchase one, and I found the cheapest one I possibly could--$35, not bad. I looked into repairing our existing one. With both of us working FT, where do we find time to be industrious? There's barely time to eat. We both have side careers as well, so what's left? It's a bit of a catch 22. I couldn't find a cheaper umbrella on Craigslist worth buying. So please tell me--because I'm having some serious cognitive dissonance about this--should we buy the cheap umbrella? Should we go without? I can't figure out if I have already done the right thing by finding a dirt cheap option, or if I am being a pansy and should just suck it up and deal with not having one. It's obviously not just about the umbrella--this kind of thing comes up a lot. It's the frugal vs. cheap issue. How do you handle it?

Primm

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 06:12:49 PM »
My question today has to do with how to handle purchase decisions. I pretty much feel awful about anything I buy. But we need a new patio umbrella. Ok, we WANT a new patio umbrella. Ours is busted and we have chain-smoking house guests coming this weekend.

Call me rude, but if it were me I'd forget the umbrella and pray for rain... ;) Or even better, snow.

Smoking is one of the most horrible vices out there. Completely antisocial and dangerous, the only reason it's not illegal is that governments haven't yet figured out a way to replace the insane amount of revenue they get from smokers.

But to address your original point (it's not about the umbrella!), do you have a "house items" category in YNAB? Fund this, and when the issue comes up you'll either have the cash (buy the umbrella), not have the cash but decide you want the umbrella so take the money from other categories, or forgo the umbrella because it's not as important to you as paying down debt etc.

I know this probably isn't that helpful. But ultimately the decision is yours. What do YOU want to spend the money on?

Meinurgill

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 06:33:19 PM »
Thank you Primm! Agreed on the smoking.

We do have a YNAB category called Household Goods (separate from Home Maintenance) and right now there is about $85 there.

Yeah, I guess the umbrella thing is as stupid as it sounds, right? My point is that I can't figure out, according to Mustachian principles, when I'm supposed to say "F it, I'm buying the thing". I mean, I can justify anything I want to if it's in the budget, which makes something like YNAB a little bit of a smokescreen. I could spend every last dime on a pile of crap if I wanted to and feel ok about it because it was "in the budget." But was it a wise a way to budget the money in the first place? That's the part I can't wrap my head around. How do other mustachians make decisions about what to spend money on, what to repair/make/DIY, and what to forego altogether? If I'm overthinking this just tell me so and then I have my answer. :)

Pylortes

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 07:20:29 PM »
I would not buy the umbrella or similar "want" items if I had credit card/consumer type debt unless my consumer debt was at essentially a 0% interest rate.  I'd be putting every spare nickel to getting out from under that debt.  You need to look at as buying your freedom.  For now, I would make do/repair with what I had.  Once my debt was gone and I had a decent amount stashed away for my retirement savings then I'd go back and treat myself to "wants".  Right now it should be "needs" only.  Just my two cents,  its your life, best of luck to whatever way you choose to go!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 07:22:30 PM by Pylortes »

Emilyngh

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 08:58:44 PM »
I am new to this forum but I have been reading the blog for about a year. My husband and I are slowly beginning to live mustachian principles, but we are still wrapping our heads around it. We had a baby in August and we have a massive load of consumer debt, along with student loans etc. We struggle a great deal. We have already cut our spending massively, only use cash for purchases, etc.

My question today has to do with how to handle purchase decisions. I pretty much feel awful about anything I buy. But we need a new patio umbrella. Ok, we WANT a new patio umbrella. Ours is busted and we have chain-smoking house guests coming this weekend. We use YNAB religiously and have budgeted the cash to purchase one, and I found the cheapest one I possibly could--$35, not bad. I looked into repairing our existing one. With both of us working FT, where do we find time to be industrious? There's barely time to eat. We both have side careers as well, so what's left? It's a bit of a catch 22. I couldn't find a cheaper umbrella on Craigslist worth buying. So please tell me--because I'm having some serious cognitive dissonance about this--should we buy the cheap umbrella? Should we go without? I can't figure out if I have already done the right thing by finding a dirt cheap option, or if I am being a pansy and should just suck it up and deal with not having one. It's obviously not just about the umbrella--this kind of thing comes up a lot. It's the frugal vs. cheap issue. How do you handle it?

I would not buy the umbrella, I'd expect my smoking guests to hold their own personal $2 umbrella if needed if it were raining.   If it's just for sun shielding-I'd enjoy the sun, put on a hat, or go inside (and expect the same from them).   And we don't have consumer debt ; the debt makes it an absolute "no!"   

Eric

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 09:09:30 PM »
My point is that I can't figure out, according to Mustachian principles, when I'm supposed to say "F it, I'm buying the thing". I mean, I can justify anything I want to if it's in the budget, which makes something like YNAB a little bit of a smokescreen. I could spend every last dime on a pile of crap if I wanted to and feel ok about it because it was "in the budget." But was it a wise a way to budget the money in the first place? That's the part I can't wrap my head around. How do other mustachians make decisions about what to spend money on, what to repair/make/DIY, and what to forego altogether?

Mustachian principals are based on different levels in my opinion.  You're at level 1, based on this:

we have a massive load of consumer debt, along with student loans etc.

YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE!!!  Your absolute first priority is to concentrate on getting yourself out of debt.  Even if you have a budgeted amount for some bullshit like this, you should be putting that toward your debt unless it is absolutely necessary.  Especially that consumer debt, which I assume means CC debt at 10+% interest or so.  That means you do everything in your power to attack that debt with everything you can as fast as you can.

When you reach level 2, which is no debt where you can now begin saving and investing aggressively, you can then start to decide if buying something is worth impacting your savings/investing levels.

Credaholic

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2014, 09:29:14 PM »
I would not buy the umbrella because of 1) your debt situation and 2) your reasons for wanting it. I'm not drowning under consumer debt, and I would still think about wanting an umbrella for months before actually buying one. My husband on the other hand would buy one because he saw one at the store and realized he wanted one in that moment which frustrates me. I then go through the same thought process as you - should I really be agonizing over a $35 item? Should I be annoyed with my husband for spending such a small sum? To me, all those little decisions add up to bigger amounts we could have socked away to FIRE even faster and so I do still care, but I see my husband's perspective too. In your situation, I don't think there should be any agonizing, it should be an easy decision because you have pants on fire debt to handle. That's your obligation - NOT providing shade for the fire lighters visiting you (or even for yourselves when you can just put on a hat.)

tanhanivar

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 10:01:44 PM »
I and my housemate just worked out that $20 we have now is 1 day's living expenses in 10 year's time. So we keep saying, "Yes, that is a cute fuschia-in-a-giant-teacup/book of cartoons/TARDIS mug, but do you want it enough to put off retirement for a whole day?" Which usually solves the issue.



Rural

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2014, 03:28:52 AM »
Make absolutely clear that "smoke in the house with the baby" is no kind of option regardless of weather. If you want to be nice, offer the chain smokers a handheld umbrella if it's raining (and be aware it will stink when it comes back into the house).

socaso

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2014, 07:25:43 PM »
I think not buying the umbrella would be a good exercise in saying no to making others comfortable at your own expense. Everyone who undertakes frugality has to make the leap at some point. Just don't do it and don't apologize about it. Repair the existing umbrella if you have the time and don't sweat it. Family is coming out to see you and not your umbrella.

homeymomma

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2014, 07:17:34 AM »
I'm biased because I loathe smoking, and also have a baby. I wouldn't even invite chain smokers to my home.

That being said, this is an obvious one. The umbrella is sooo far from a need, it's barely an icing on the cake -type want. I'm wondering if these are the types of purchasing "dilemmas" that led to your large amount of consumer debt in the first place. Are you willing to buy a shade for your chain smoking guests that you will pay (insert highest credit card interest rate here)% extra for? As long as you have that debt, you should be asking yourself that question each and every time you spend a dollar. Am I willing to spend not only this dollar but X% extra to buy this item? Yes, you have to pay your mortgage and you have to buy food. You have to get to work and you have to diaper your baby. But once these basics are covered, you should assign every available dollar to debt, you shouldn't have a spendable cushion at this point (not to be confused with an emergency fund, which you do need).

Once your consumer debt is gone, you can start to make slightly less panicky sounding decisions. Like, is it better pay off my low-interest student debt or save more on my 401K?

Once you got allllll the debt paid off, you can make decisions like, do i want a patio umbrella or to retire earlier? At that point it's 100% up to you.

P.s. I actually hope you have a great time with your guests this weekend. I hope hearing us all bashing smoking on this thread doesn't make you scowl at them when they light up. That would make for an unpleasant weekend. Good luck with your new baby, as well. We were also in super - panicky debt pay down mode when we had our first. You can do it and be a great parent at the same time. I promise!

frugaliknowit

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Re: Would you buy the umbrella?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2014, 07:55:32 AM »
The others have addressed the umbrella question. 

I would just like to add:

Ask yourself:  How did we accumulate the debt?  What are we doing to avoid that in the future?  Do we know our after tax income versus minimum expenses (are we on a sustainable path before and after we pay off this debt)?  What percentage of our income is housing and transportation (the biggest money suckers...)?