Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Permission To Spend: Bike Edition

One of the things that I struggle with is allowing myself to spend money on things that I should probably buy.  I've finally decided to get a new bike and would like to share part of the thought process that goes along with this decision.  The back story is that my SO borrowed my bike to go get groceries.  (His is "too fancy" to leave locked up outside.)  The next time I got on my bike...well, this picture shows the result.
Like I said, I need a new bike.
Luckily for me, my SO fixed the problem later that evening!  I'm sure he'll be embarrassed that I'm showing off his handyman skills, but I'm very happy about it.  :)  Even though the bike is fixed, I'm still in the market for a new bike.  I've decided that I'll use any birthday money to go towards this purchase, and I'll fill in the rest from my savings account.

Over the past weekend we went to a couple of bike shops to figure out what type of bike would be good for me.  While I use the bike primarily for commuting, I also want the capability of using the bike on dirt roads, so a traditional road bike has been ruled out.  While at the bike shops we asked if they sold used bikes.  One of the shops has one hybrid (although it really was more of a road bike) that was used but they both said they rarely get used bikes in.  While looking on Craigslist is certainly possible, it seems that most people are selling fancy road bikes or junk.

As a result, I think I'll probably buy a brand new bike.  I'm content with this decision because I know I'll be using it frequently and it will make my commuting much more pleasant.  It's just hard for me to part with a chunk of money when I'm trying my hardest to be smart and save as much as I can every month!  As a result, I'm setting up some rules...

When is it okay to SPEND when it's not 100% necessary?
  1. When it won't financially screw you (you're not going into debt, you're not setting yourself up for an emergency situation, when you aren't (knowingly) about to lose your job or something along those lines).  I can afford to buy a new bike.  Yes, it may delay some of my financial (saving) goals, but it won't send me down a road of trouble.
  2. You have a plan. You've thought it through, and it's not an impulse purchase. I think the picture above show the types of problems that I've been experiencing frequently.  I will be paying for the bike with birthday money and money from my savings account.  This isn't an item that needs to be in my budget as it's a one time purchase.
  3. You do your research. I've been looking at my options and figuring out what best suits my needs.
  4.  It's something you'll USE. (Or otherwise adds value to your life) I know I'll use a new bike because I currently ride 4-5 times per week.  This isn't something that will sit around the house and create clutter.
  5. ???  Is there anything else that I should add?  When do you give yourself the okay to spend money?

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