Running shoes… FOR EVERYBODY!
A whopping $5. I really should get to the bank before the long weekend.
a mash-up of breaking (families) & fashion
I’m firmly middle class. Let’s just get that settled, disclosed, admitted, whatever… up front.
Now, about an hour ago I bought something. I don’t buy a lot of things, at least my perception is that I don’t buy a lot of things. I spend money. I shop, occasionally. And I acquire the occasional so-called toys mostly in the form of electronics or entertainment devices that allow me to spend my free time slouching on the couch and zoning out. But an hour ago I went out and bought something quite expensive: I bought, off contract, a top of the line brand new iPhone.
Why? Partially, it’s because my (up-until-this-morning) current phone was getting rather sluggish but, more importantly (at least for the topic of this essay) because the gap between my expectations for how it should be performing and how it was performing had reached a perceptible gap for which I was unhappy.
I’ll admit, a significant part of the reason was just because I wanted something better. I wanted to keep up the appearance (if no where else but in my own mind) that I was “keeping up appearances” as the saying goes.
Now, I can afford it. As I said previously, middle class: I have a steady job, expenses that are in check, and (other than occasionally splurging a thousand dollars on, say, a shiny new phone) I don’t spend a lot of money.
I can see how such a purchase would lead to marital troubles if one didn’t have that kind of cash in the bank: some has suggested that data shows “at least one-half of the 41% Canadian divorce rate – or about 1 in 5 of our divorces – are caused primarily by money?”  That’s a big toll.
But it strikes me as a point worth exploring –and not from the “gee-whiz, couples who live outside their budgets must fight with each other a lot more” perspective, which has probably been explored to death– but rather the topic which I tended to agree with when I heard it discussed in a podcast the other day: that (to paraphrase) the ideas that fit into the same genre as “keeping up appearances” and thinking we deserve to have cool toys for no other reason than sheer “want” is creating a kind of gap between what we as average people expect to have and what we can actually afford to have.
The Christmas money is spent. Gone. And then some. We collected bits and bites of cash here and there as parts of various gifts from parents and grandparents –thanks again, by the way– and after puzzling about how we could spend it in some meaningful way (and not just pay off the Christmas bill) we opted to do something we’ve been meaning to do for a few years now. Claire is finally old enough, so we strolled over to the local outdoorsy store and bought a family set of cross-country skis — poles, boots, bindings, and all. They should be assembled for pick up later this week! Let’s hope the weather cooperates for New Years!
I’m not what you’d call a savvy investor. I mean, I’m not going to get rich playing the markets. But I’m at the point in my life where I have (a) a retirement portfolio that has a number worth my time to be actively thinking about (b) a 20+ year time horizon to play within and (c) a bit of slush on the side to play with. So, thanks to plummeting oil prices over the last couple week (and while everyone bemoans the coming collapse of our local economy) that aforementioned portfolio (despite feeding it very regularly) looks like it’s back in it’s summer wardrobe. In other words… it’s been shrinking. Gee, thanks stock market. But thanks to points (b) and (c) above, I’ve been doing a bit of what’s (apparently) called “averaging down”… upping my investment inputs as the market falls. Carefully, of course… but still getting bigger lumps of new shares in my RRSPs on discount. Buy low, sell high… right? No really. Is this a smart thing to do, or am I throwing good money after bad?
I’ve been helping out with the United Way campaign at work again this year, so… in $$, last week…. in kind, this morning.
I’m pretty picky about buying decisions when it comes to most things, but sometimes I regret the decisions I make at the grocery store.
…in need of review.
Mortgage free, another rung up the corporate ladder (or climbing one where that is possible) and pretty close to the exact spot where I’m sitting here writing this now.
I bought myself a tripod a half-a-year ago now. It’s a mid-range Manfrotto, and I’ve been having fun using it for things like night photography and some backyard macros. But there is one problem: I have been using the wrong kind of head with it. See, when you buy an “expensive’ pro-style tripod, there is the built-in assumption that you may want to use it for more than one thing: so they sell it modularly. That is to say, you buy the legs and then you buy a head. Then you connect them together for different effect. There are simple heads, ball heads, video heads, panning heads, and heads that cost more than the legs. I bought a headless tripod because I owned a low-end head that I was using on my monopod. Which was fine. For a while. Monopod heads are about as simple as they come, but get the job done if you’re not picky. But I suddenly find myself in a position where it’s like, say, buying a convertible car and realizing you didn’t buy the roof for it (which would be silly, yes) … and then thinking you may need to drive in the rain on occasion. So, I’ve been head-shopping, but without much success so far.
More free time.