Suvival Mode

Most people have some form of debt, from a lot of consumer debt to a mortgage, its become an accepted fact that everyone had some. Typically we make an effort to pay this debt down and keep moving forward. Take for example my situation I’ve got about 12K in credit card debt which I can slowly pay down over the next few years without altering my lifestyle at all. I don’t have to make any sacrifice to keep everything going the way that it is and I believe that a lot of people fall into this category.

A couple days ago I read a post over at Money Crush about Getting out of ‘Survival Mode’ and this got me thinking about this so called Survival Mode. For me being in survival mode means you do anything and everything you can in order to save money, presumably to survive. Thankfully I haven’t been that situation for a while now but I have been there before and I know that you act totally differently towards money when it really matters. The thought that came to mind was how quickly would I be able to get rid of my debts if I were able to get into survival mode and stay there until EVERYTHING was paid off?

As much as I like to muse about questions like this the reality is I probably wouldn’t be able to stay there very long. I enjoy my lifestyle even if it means that I’m going to carry debt for a while. Each day I spend money on things that I don’t really need like a candy bar or coffee and I could easily do without these little temptations. Even if I didn’t enter a true survival mode I think it might be possible to enter a pseudo survival mode where you question each purchase with: do I need this purchase to survive. I think that by questioning each purchase like this and really focusing on survival elements you can save yourself a great deal of money.

Being in the situation where you have to stretch every dollar just to survive not a fun situation to be in but it does give you an appreciation for what you do and don’t have and what really matters. In the grand scheme of things if you’re floating credit card debt because you like your $5 a day latte it equates to being pretty dumb and not something that you should be complaining about.

My Frivolous Purchase

This past weekend I decided to invest a little money in a very worthy cause, myself! I made what many people might consider a rather frivolous purchase. I bought myself a mini laptop, a Dell 10v specifically and so far I have to say I’m fairly impressed with it. I didn’t make this purchase lightly, I’ve been eyeing getting myself one of these computers for a while now and it was time.

Every now and then you have to treat yourself to something nice or all the money in the world isn’t really worth collecting. I commute a fair amount and although I do have a work laptop I am not going to use it for my personal stuff so when the idea of these mini laptops started to gain popularity I have to say I was rather intrigued. That was close to a year ago and since then they’ve become all the rage which is great for me because the price has gone down. I purchased this little item from a big box store for $399+ taxes which might seem high but it came in a custom color and with a 6 cell battery. The net result is I would have paid a similar price directly from Dell.

While some people will lament the fact that I spent that much money on a luxury item this wasn’t a purchase made overnight or on a whim. It also wasn’t a purchase that was made on credit. I have learnt my lesson when it comes to spending my money on the geek toys; save up, wait and if you still want it then purchase it. I waited over a year and I saved up the money for this so there won’t be any credit card bills coming in the mailĀ  nor will this weeks groceries be on the lighter side.

The one thing that made me second guess this purchase is the fact that I could have paid down my debt a bit more rather than paying minimums. But as I mentioned earlier you have to be able to treat yourself every now and then. I haven’t purchased anything that was specifically for me and me only in… probably close to two years, maybe longer. There is a couple benefits to this purchase other than the geek factor and that is that I’ll have a bit more portability with my computing life (thankfully I’m not a facebook user or I might have to update my profile everytime I find a new hotspot), there are a couple projects that i would like to work on and this might remove any additional excuses that I have for not doing them.

Now a question for my readers – have you ever treated yourself, and I’m not talking about the latte that you’re sipping while browsing through your daily reads, I’m talking about a purchase that you wanted but could have lived without that was more significant. Did you wait? Did you save up for it? Did you feel any type of remorse or regret?