How Much Spending is Too Much? Where Do You Draw the Line?

by Miranda Marquit · 0 comments

Several year ago, when my husband and I were buying our home, we were confronted with the ability to make a number of upgrades. We were purchasing a new-built home, and since it wasn’t completed yet, we were able to swoop in during the last stages and choose things like carpet and paint color, and where we wanted cable jacks.

We thought about things we wanted in the house, such as a closet for the room downstairs (to make it a true bedroom) and deadbolts (didn’t come standard). With every new thing we added to the house, the cost went up. It wasn’t a huge cost, but it was a cost nonetheless. We decided that we didn’t want to wrap these extra costs into the home loan; we figured we pay for them out of pocket. The final decision was in the kitchen appliances. For $50 per appliance, we could have the stove, fridge, and dishwasher upgraded.

We already felt overwhelmed by everything, and I was was getting a little depressed about the way the costs for the house were adding up (and we hadn’t even put in a yard yet!). So I put my foot down. I drew a line. Even though it was “only” $150, I said no more. I figured that we were spending enough. There would always be more to spend on.

“Too Much” Often Depends on Perspective

Now, years later, I kind of wish I hadn’t drawn that line. Six years ago, $150 seemed like “too much.” Our income was about half what it is now. At the time, it seemed urgent that we cut some spending, and that we do what we could to keep things under control. Now, though, $150 doesn’t seem like a big deal, and when I try to fit all of our groceries into our too-small fridge, I think about how much more cost-efficient it would have been to pay the extra $50 for that appliance, rather than contemplate the possibility of spending hundreds of dollars on a new fridge.

My perspective has changed, and so has my idea of what “too much” entails.

But the same can be said for a number of other spending decisions. When is a movie ticket too much? When the price edges up over $12, even though it’s only an increase of $1.00? How much are you willing to spend for a really great meal? When is a dinner entree too much? We draw all sorts of lines when making spending decisions.

In many cases, the lines seem somewhat ludicrous. You’re willing to spend $5.00 but unwilling to go higher and spend $5.50? But if you decide to go over the line, if you decide to spend a little more, where does it end? At some point it becomes more a matter of principle than of actual dollar amounts. If you are willing to cross the spending line even by a little, that line moves. And going beyond the new line is even easier. Soon you find yourself well beyond your original line, and that could mean debt if you aren’t careful.

What do you think? How do you draw spending lines? When do you think it’s worth it to cross them?

Bonus Tip:

Another way to save on your monthly Internet and TV costs is to find a current ATT U-Verse coupon code or at least a promotion to knock down your home service bill.

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