I want to fess up here. I have spent a couple of hundred quid on some audio recording equipment to help me with my passion for making video content.
For someone who is careful with what they spend money on, this seems like a big bust. It seems to go against the idea of saving for early financial independence. The additional camera stand also hints at being against the concept of minimalism because it can be framed as being some extra clutter for the room.
I got that feedback, but I did think this through in detail.
This detailed approach is one of my main points when I discuss the idea of saving money. Saving money for early retirement is not about not spending anything. It has always been about being careful about what I spend my money on. When I go to spend some money, I do some research and look for the best options before I drop the cash.
I have also explained in a previous blog my process for putting off a purchase until I work it through my ‘do I need this or want it?’ discussions in my head.
I am frugal with money. I am careful with what I spend it on and look for value and understand the actual need of the things I purchase. It doesn’t mean I don’t buy something that I want or that I need.
Pause here. I used the word ‘want’. This is often the point where other people go off the rails; they just want everything and anything. They want the latest fads, the new seasonal clothing colours or an additional watch to go into their collection. I used to be that guy, but not anymore.
My wants are now CURATED by some rules.
When I go big, and this was me going big on audio equipment, I change the curation process and write out a separate list. This is a list of questions I ask myself about spending more significant sums of money.
I set a timer to force me to write as much as possible and then brainstorm out the questions.
I write out as much as I can to challenge the need to make this particular purchase, and then I wait a few days to go back to answer the questions.
This was the list for the audio equipment purchase.
- Is this a want, a must-have, is it an I love it purchase, and if it is, why?
- Is my ‘passion’ a passing fad?
- Have I invested enough time in exploring this passion for justifying the cost?
- What is the return on this if this is an investment?
- Could this pay for itself, if so, by when?
- Have I delayed my purchase of this item enough to properly think through the nature of the need?
- Could I use the money for something else – what if I invested the money, what would the return be and does that balance out my thinking?
- How many shares of a popular fund or stock could I buy with this?
- What else could I do with the money?
- Will this purchase affect anyone else that is close to me?
- Is there anything I will need as a necessity in the next three months?
- Do I have any considerable costs coming up around the corner that I need to prepare for?
- What does it weigh in actual weight and also in mind weight?
- If I buy this, what can I cut out or save money on to balance this purchase cost?
- What is the best choice between value and quality?
- What would the cheap option do for my experience for this passion?
- Do I have another workaround to avoid this expense?
- Where can I buy this at the best price?
- If this doesn’t work out, is it a sunk cost, or can I sell this on?
- Can I delay this purchase for another week?
- What would happen if I don’t buy this?
- When should I buy this?
- What goal could I set myself to trigger this purchase – 20 videos? 100 blogs?
- Why do I need this again?
- Do I deserve this purchase – dig deep into a justification, or am I just bullsh*tting a reason to buy?
- What would my Dad say if I bought this?
- If I tossed a coin and the purchase won, would I go for best out of three?
- How many Starbucks coffees is this purchase?
- Time is up – one last question, will I get the use out of this purchase?
I answered a lot of these question positively, and there was enough deep thought put into the process to allow me to buy my new audio equipment.
I also achieved my 100 blog milestone.