Sunday, June 19, 2011

The not-so-secret-secret-savings-account

Sorry. Time for a foray into consumer economics.

It's something I created five years ago. As I became more budget conscious, I decided to create a savings account to save up for fun stuff. Here's what I put in:

  • spare change
  • any five dollar bill I receive
  • reimbursements
  • birthday / Christmas money
  • side job money (admittedly a small stream of revenue, at least right now it is)
Over the years, I've saved a lot through this method, enough to buy some great trinkets (a desktop computer, a flat-screen TV and blu-ray player, an iPod), some necessities (a replacement wedding ring, two moving violations), some fun weekends / days out, and even some things that no longer live (a laptop). Well, the account is swelling once again. There's nearly $1,000 in it, thanks to a witty gift from my wife (a wallet for Father's Day along with four crisp five dollar bills and permission to raid her car for change). So, I've got to spend it, right?

Problem is, I can think of four things I'd really love to have. I'm burning to buy a Nook, even though I'm not a super-avid reader. An SLR digital camera would be cool. Oh, a new laptop would even be nice. And, let's not forget, nav system for my car.

Yet there's an adage in sports: if you have two #1 goal tenders, you have no #1 goal tenders. I think this applies to my savings quandry. If I have four things I really want to buy, I don't have anything I really want to buy. So, it's time to apply the 30-day rule: If July 19 arrives and I still want any of the items, maybe then I should act.

Or, I can limp along in my life of abundance and do without the four items: we have a new iPad that I'm just untapping as well as a library card. We have a point-and-shoot camera that's pretty nifty. I signed out my work laptop for the summer. I'm good with maps. Besides, my wife has said a nav system would diminish my usefulness.

Maybe it's time to get away from things and saving up for events. Maybe it's time to lock away that money for 6 months in low-yield-CD purgatory.

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