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 è 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.
- 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?