budget trouble? check your ego
Many of the posts I write are as much for me as for anyone out there looking for new insights on their financial condition. Today's is one such post.
I have written elsewhere about how our money choices reflect on our values, and that when there is conflict between what we say we value and how we live our values, there is an opportunity for self-reflection and a choice to align the two.
you probably don't need that...
But where does ego fit into this discussion of values and money? One example within my own budget and experience involves technology, specifically smartphones and computers.
I use an Android based phone and a Chromebook for my work and personal computing needs. These choices were originally at least a bit driven by economics: iPhones are expensive and in the early days just having an iPhone required a specialized phone plan that cost more than average; similarly, a decent Chromebook costs around $200, while a similarly featured Windows machine might cost twice as much (or more), and a Mac might cost 3x - 4x just to get started.
But even though I may have started out with fiscal discipline in mind, what happened over time is that at each opportunity to replace or upgrade my equipment I would inevitably spend some time looking at the "nicer" options available. A $200 Chromebook has proven to be sufficient, but the $600 one may be prettier and have some snappier specs... The $150 - $200 "mid range" Android smartphone does 95%+ or more of what the current "top end" phone may offer, but there is always that voice in the background saying "wow, that fancy phone is cool!"
Examine, don't justify
This is where the budgeting rubber meets the road. When faced with an option to spend more or less for essentially the same experience, it is crucial to be honest. When explaining (to yourself or others) why you want the more expensive option, choose to have enough perspective to examine those reasons objectively. It is so easy to justify a choice that we want to take, but it can be hard to be honest about the quality of those justifications.
Shopping while under the influence of vanity or with a heightened sense of your needs can lead to some financially unsound decisions.
David R Wattenbarger, president of DRW Financial
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