Monday, March 30, 2009

Unplanned Spending I Don't Regret

March has been a spendy month, I confess. But it hasn't been all frivolous, in my opinion. As a matter of fact, I may have performed an important civic duty by doing so.

An opinion piece in Kiplinger suggested that those who can, should spend sensibly, to help the economy recover. People who can are those whose:
  • income stayed consistent for the past few years - - check;
  • job is reasonably secure - - uhhhh, nope;
  • financial obligations are about the same from the year prior - - check;
  • saving rate is 10%+ of gross income for all future needs (EF, retirement, major purchases, etc.) -- check.

Okay, so I'm not one of the people who can or should be spending extra money. After all, I only have about 3-4 months of an emergency fund saved up and there's a good chance that I'll get laid off at the end of the year.

But with 3 out of the 4 criteria above satisfied, I feel pretty comfortable spending spontaneously. And sometimes, it's worth spending some money sensibly especially if I'm not going to go into debt to do so. Here are some examples:

"Pity Party" Spending - $52.11
This was a rough month on the job front for a friend and a colleague. My friend was passed over for a promotion when her company hired outside the company for the managerial position. To add insult to injury, the "outside" person is someone that we know to be, ummmmm, rather un-professional. To make matters worse, my friend will now report to this un-professional person. Talk about a lousy week. I took her out for a "pity party" at a local Mexican joint. Thank goodness my friend doesn't drink, since the tab only came out to $32.11 (including tax and tips).

Separately, a colleague recently presented one of his cases to new upper management. The new manager nit-picked silly details and refused to give him any authority to resolve the case as he recommended. I could see that the situation was eating him up so I took him out to lunch at a local Shanghainese cafe. The tab was $21 (including T&T).

I guess I didn't need to do any of this, but it felt like the right thing to do. Afterall, it's always better to vent with friends over drinks and a nice meal, right?

Shampoo and Conditioner - $39.51
Holy cr@p!! $40 for shampoo and conditioner? Yep. But I don't regret it one bit.

This past weeekend, I went to the hair salon for a much needed cut since I was starting to resemble Cousin It from the Addams Family.

I hadn't seen my hairstylist since 2006 and I asked how he was doing. He bemoaned how business has been hurting and that holidays like Christmas and Valentine's really haven't helped.

I felt bad for my hairstylist. Although I've been his loyal customer for the past 24 years, I'm not a frequent customer. For the past 8 years or so, I've only gotten my hair cut every 2 years because I grow my hair out for a purpose. Since I don't give him regular business, I felt I should atleast support him by buying something "extra". He initially tried selling me a $200 professional grade-flat iron or a $85 non-professional-grade flat iron. When I didn't bite, he said the salon-grade shampoo and conditioner were on "sale" for $36. Okay, that's do-able. With tax, the total bill came to $39.51.

I felt $40 is a small amount to help support the only man (other than my dad) with whom I've had a long-term relationship. As an added bonus, my stylist guarantees that my hair will be healthier and better smelling than from using my usual Garnier Fructis shampoo/conditioner. (Yeah, right.) :-D

Orchestra Level Opera Ticket - $107
I plan to attend as many opera performances I can afford, to support the local artists and musicians.

I usually don't get the expensive seats, but I bought orchestra seats for the upcoming performance of Rigoletto. The reason? Several years back, I sat in nosebleed seats during the last performance of Rigoletto. The couple who sat next to me somehow felt it was appropriate to hum along to "La Donna รจ Mobile", which was clearly the only song they recognized. I asked them to pipe down and they got huffy and belligerent with me.

I hate to say this, but people who sit in nosebleed seats are usually never the same class of people in orchestra seats. I'm not being elitist (since I usually only sit in nosebleed seats). I'm just callin' it as I see it.

Hopefully, I can enjoy this upcoming performance sans annoying disturbance.

Consumerism has gotten a bad rap lately. Certainly, excessive consumerism is to be frowned upon. But when sensible consumerism can:
  • help people like my hairstylist stay in business;
  • promote art, music and culture;
  • promote camraderie and morale between friends, it can't be all that bad, right?


Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-It sounds like all your spends were certainly justified and well thought out, good for you. thanks for your kind wishes and your support, it has been so much appreciated my dear. I do wish you well with all your future financial goals, take care and good luck!

paranoidasteroid said...

None of these seem that crazy to me. Friendships are so important - I have a friend who is helping me find a new job just because I told him in passing. I never expected that.

Yes, $40 for shampoo is high, but how often do you buy shampoo? By the way, your hair is lovely. I wish mine was that long!

And you planned for the opera - clearly it's something you've thought about even if this trip wasn't quite planned.

444 said...

What?! This is you? I totally pictured you as a honey-blonde-ish straight short/medium-haired person. Goes to show how good my guessing powers are.

I will go read the post now. Great head of hair you have there!!!

Miss M said...

I've been spending too, the new computer, a trip to target and new shoes for me and Mr M (which I wore traipsing around town yesterday and now I have horrible blisters). Is that an actual picture?? I've fallen for the expensive salon products too, some are really nice but I still have trouble justifying the price. My mom the chemist says don't bother with expensive shampoo but the good conditioner does actually have different ingredients.

Ms. MoneyChat said...

unplanned but thoughtful. i'm a product fiend so i would have been sold on the shampoo even if i'd been a regular customer;-).