Trading up ‘Wants’

Feb 16 2011 – Andrew

‘Wants’ are Okay! A friend of mine posted on my FB page recently that although he gets the idea of frugality, sometimes he just likes his ‘wants’.  Don’t assume that just because we do crazy things in our quest for financial freedom that we don’t want things, or always deny ourselves when we do.  Courtney and I have two nice cars, a big house with fine furnishings, TVs, computers, an Xbox360 and a Wii, a home gym, a few grand worth of music gear, and a motorcycle.  We have our ‘wants’ believe me!  For us, it’s just important to make sure that we don’t become possessed by our possessions, that our wants don’t overtake our values or our goals.  I like the idea of trading up on wants.  Basically, if you want something new, sell something old.  You get what you want, it doesn’t touch your budget or savings, and you get to clear out some old stuff you may not use anymore.

Trading ‘Wants’:  Here’s an example.  I want a new acoustic guitar (I sold my old one last year when we were putting together our house money).  Specifically I want a Taylor, an outstanding (but expensive) brand.  I could buy it with the proceeds of our tax return (we’re getting the house credit after all), but decided instead to challenge myself to exchange some old ‘wants’ for this new one.  AKA: I would sell some stuff.

Having so much music gear, and proposing to buy more, it seemed natural to start there.  Between us, Court and I had six microphones!  So I took my mid-range mic, a Shure SM86, and put it on eBay.  BAM!  Sold it for $120.  I put my Gold’s Gym membership on the block on Craigslist (remember that home gym I mentioned?).  I won’t ‘bam’ again, but someone picked it up saving us $270 on the remainder of the contract.  Finally, I had purchased a little GE stock with some extra money right after the tech stock crash a few years ago when it was hovering a little over $4/share.  I figured people are always going to need lightbulbs, right?  Sold it last week for $20.89/share, a tidy 500% profit!

Microphone + Gold’s + Stock =  approx. $950
Enough for my new Taylor 210E-G with a little left over for strings!

Moral of the Story? Wants are great, but they shouldn’t come at the cost of delaying your financial future. Time IS money when it comes to destroying debt or investing, and a small delay now equals a big cost down the road.  Think about that before satisfying your next ‘want’.  Can this wait til I have the cash set aside?  Can I use this money smarter right now?  The ‘want’ will always be waiting for you when you’re ready.  And it will feel a lot more satisfying when you are.


About dreamingthepossible

What began as individual hopes and dreams has rapidly become a radical dream of our own as we start our almost married life together. Follow us as we make some big changes in our lives to spend less money, produce less waste, nurse our planet back to health, and even attempt to pay our brand new mortgage in 5 years or less.
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One Response to Trading up ‘Wants’

  1. Cool story! And great idea to trade up wants… now if only someone would buy the fairly new running shoes I bought on sale but don’t like that much so that I can buy the pair I love…. 🙂 …need to remember to stick to what works, even if the shoes I love cost a little more.

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