Saturday, April 12, 2008

Temptation, desire, and the spending war with myself

As I noted at the start of April, I challenged myself not to spend money on unnecessary expenses. This turned into quite a battle for me. I paid for a few lunches with friends, something I did not anticipate, I forgot to purchase my annual theater tickets before April and indulged in a couple luxury bath items since the store is located in a place I rarely visit. I have been feeling like a failure because I could not control these spending impulses. The time spent with friends is valuable and the bath items I will enjoy and use. However, because of these choices, I will have less money at the end of the month to save. Granted, this is money above and beyond my usual levels, but I still feel like I have not really lived up to the challenge. I did figure April would be easier to not spend than May when garage sale season would really start up and there would be lots of things to do and purchase for the house. Frankly, the easiest way for me to meet this no-spending challenge would be in the wintertime when I do not feel much like getting out anyway, thus reducing the opportunities for me to spend money.

However, there is one battle I have been fighting fiercely--the desire for a 15" MacBook Pro with ambient-light-sensing keyboard, MagSafe Power Adaptor, excellent speakers, nice 15" screen and faster than my current iBook G4. I have been haunting craigslist for such an item especially after brokering the purchase of a 17" MacBook Pro for my mom via the same classifieds. I have been looking at Apple, and some resellers as well, looking for a good deal, examining the specifications of the models available, and really, really, really wanting to have one for myself. Despite subjecting myself to the very epitome of temptation (for me at this juncture), I have not yet succumbed. Again, I do not need a new shiny bit of Apple hardware, but I desire it tremendously.

Frankly, it comes down to one thing: do I want the gorgeous 15" MacBook Pro (even if the previous model or two) or would I rather have the financial cushion in my bank? I would have to sacrifice ~$1,500 to get the computer I covet, but that means I no longer have $1,500 of liquidity. With a $1,400 car repair to pay for and pending window purchases, I do not feel like I can give up that much money for a frivolous purchase. My iBook functions more than adequately and other than technolust, I have no reason to buy a new computer.

To help me reach this decision, I have given myself one year to buy a new machine. I applied for an internet subsidy through my workplace and if granted, I will put that money toward purchasing a new computer since the high-speed internet is already in my spending plan. In addition, the current account I have labeled as "found money" will also go toward purchasing a new (to me but less than a year old) MacBook Pro in a year. I am weak enough that if a good deal falls into my lap around a month where I am paid an extra check, I may succumb. Otherwise, about April 2009, I will likely purchase a new MacBook Pro. This is the best compromise between keeping more money in reserve and buying the much-desired MacBook Pro. Hopefully, I can resist the impulsive buy before I am financially prepared.

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