Archive for spending

My FBP Account, and how I learned to have splurging as a goal

One of the biggest problems I had with saving was that I wanted lots of things.  I tried telling myself that “things” don’t matter when I have bigger future goals.  But, the problem with that was that to an early-20-something-year-old closet tech geek and wannabe artist is that the future just doesn’t seem quite real when compared to a new wacom tablet or gadgets for my Holga camera or a really cool usb microscope.

However, my relatively low income, my lofty savings goals, and an aversion to carrying a balance on my credit card instead left me with no way to feasibly buy anything just for fun and left me with the uneasy feeling like I was somehow missing out on my youth to focus on a very hazy future.  “What if I die tomorrow? or in 5 years and I really don’t need any of my retirement money!” is a popular refrain in my mind.

And whenever I did break down and splurge on something, the next month I would have to cut back even more savagely on my normal day-to-day spending just to make sure I paid off my credit card balance at the end of the month leaving me feeling even more deprived and upset.

I tried to focus on only free activities and told myself I didn’t really NEED that <insert really cool gadget> and it would just be cluttering up my limited space at home.  I tried not to watch TV or read magazines so I wouldn’t see advertisements.  But I would catch myself looking longingly at my friend’s spiffy mp3 player that they could strap onto their arm as we went to exercise together while I fiddled with my ancient CD player that skipped every time someone breathed too hard on it.  And then I contemplated how many functioning security video cameras they actually had at Circuit City and whether I could get away with filching something.

Obviously, this system was definitely not working.  I needed to be able to save for my goals but also I needed to have some fun once in a while and get to buy myself something just for the sake of its coolness.

So, I opened an ING sub-account three months ago and named it “my FBP account”.  FBP stands for Fun Big Purchase.  Every month I stick a little money in it.  Whenever I save up $300 or so, I plan to withdraw the money and splurge on something Fun and Big (meaning expensive).  While I’m waiting for the balance to reach that number, I like to plan out exactly what I want to purchase and this makes me excited since I know that eventually I will get it and I’ll actually have the money to buy it without cutting back on anything.

In fact, I have 5 different sets of things I want to purchase with that money and I really have a great time trying to prioritize them or trying to find the best prices for them.  And a great benefit of this plan is that since it takes me quite a few months to save up that amount in that account, it lets me really think about exactly what I want as opposed to short-term gadget lust so whatever I’ll end up getting is something that I’ll really treasure and want.

And…just maybe I’ll get that fancy new mp3 player eventually.  But for now, I just listen to the radio.

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What I did with my stimulus check

Now that everyone’s slowly receiving their stimulus check, we are all trying to decide what to do with it.

What did I personally do with my stimulus check? I decided to split it into practical and very frivolous.

I had 3 criteria for my frivolous purchase:

-It would have to be completely impractical

-It would have to be more expensive than the things I normally buy for myself

-It would have to be something I’ve been wanting for a very long time.

This means that it would be a complete splurge which would make me feel happy and would usually give me a major guilt-trip if I bought it on a normal basis. So, I went ahead and bought a 35mm Holga. It fits all the criteria because I don’t need another camera, especially a retro flawed plastic film camera. It was a little over $100 with film so it was out of my normal single purchase range. And I’ve been lusting after it for well over 2 years now.

The rest of the stimulus check went into an ING online savings subaccount dedicated to saving up for my next year’s auto insurance. Boring but it will be quite a lifesaver when the end of the year comes along.

If you want to see what other people are spending their stimulus checks on, check out this website: You’ll find a range of spending from the very practical and frugal to fancy electronics to new life experiences to just really really stupid stuff (my opinion entirely…). In fact, some people gave away their stimulus checks to the more needy.

How did you spend your stimulus checks or tax refund?

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