Monday, April 19, 2010

Spending Comfort Levels

This weekend I went to brunch and then shopping with two friends. These two friends have shall we say a well-developed appreciation for the finer things in life. They think I am a total cheapskate. So we were strolling through Nolita and I saw a beautiful bag that I decided I wanted. It cost $400. To me, that number is ridiculous. But, I wanted the bag and could justify it because I knew I was getting a big tax refund this month. So I bought it. But it just did not feel right. Mostly because I thought it was too nice to really use. I would worry about ruining it and it would be impractical. So the next day I returned the bag. I did get a smaller, more practical bag that cost less (I was too scared to look at the actual price, but it started with a 2 and not a 4, but closer to a 3). And I got a pair of shorts. So I spent about the same, but on two items. This felt much better. I just thought it was funny that I felt almost physically uncomfortable spending so much money on a bag. I know my friends that I was with never have that problem. That said, it's good to splurge every once in a while, as long as its not on credit.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Losses and Gains

So I finally just finished my taxes. After a gruelling search for the cost basis for a mutual fund I sold that I'd bought in 1998. The good news is that I found it. The bad news is that I sold the fund at 1/2 price. And i held $10,000 of it. So I had $6,000 in recognized losses this year. Ugh. The good news is that I am now getting a tax refund, whereas without these losses I would not be. Also, I have $3K to carryover to next year! I guess that is also a good thing, in a way. What would be better is if I could make better investment decisions and pay more attention to my investments. But I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself since 2008 was killer for everyone.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Can't spend enough

There's one thing that I think it's more than okay to spend on. In fact, I can't spend enough on this! It's my health. Okay, that's how I wish I felt. Sadly, I sometimes delay health spending that I need (not critical, but still). That has backfired in the past. In grad school (sans dental insurance) I waited a year to get my teeth cleaned. For most people, probably not a big deal. For me, I knew it could be bad. And it was. I eventually had pain and was then forced to go get a cleaning. However, because I had waited there was so much plaque they had to do it in two visits, hence costing double the normal amount.

So I realized finally hey, I have health and dental insurance. That is a luxury in many parts of the world. I should take advantage of this. So I'm going to the dentist, eye doctor, a therapist (mental health is important too), possibly the acupuncturist and the orthodontist. This in reality shouldn't cost too much, due to my insurance. However, the orthodontist could be a couple of hundred dollars and the therapist could be several hundred dollars a month. I'm forcing myself to spend this money, because there is nothing more important to spend on. This is what my FSA is for, so it's nice to know it will be tax-free money at least. Now I wish I had dumped more in there.