July 06, 2019

Spending Spree, part 2

As my spending spree continues, its form is changing.

The goal of my spending spree is to spend my largest-ever paycheck, the quarterly paycheck that went into my checking account at the end of June, and in the process, to shake off my austerity-budget mindset and change my relationship with money. I am having more success with the latter objective than the former.

With my flurry of purchases, I went through a short period of getting merchandise delivered to my house almost every day. I know there are many households where that is a regular experience all year long. I can’t quite imagine buying so many things for myself. I would have to completely stop going to stores to make a pattern like that possible.

This week I placed a few more orders online. My wish list is now looking pretty shabby. There is nothing left that I am absolutely sure I want. I might as well say I do not have a wish list anymore. After years of postponing most purchases, that is shocking in itself.

I signed up for another online course and its associated contest. It should be a valuable course for me, having to do with writing a book proposal. For those not familiar, a book proposal is a document of a few pages that provides the core business and marketing plan for a book that an author is thinking of writing. As a frequent book author, I am looking forward to taking in the latest thinking on the format of a book proposal — as soon as I can find the time, that is.

All the best uses for money that I can think of take a lot of time. My fantasy that I could free up blocks of time by being willing to spend money on it is not working out in practice. In the short run at least, I simply must be willing to put in the time. In my spending spree, the word “spree” may turn out to be an exaggeration.

I thought of several more good ways to spend money. I am due to get my hair colored. I want to take that trip to the beach that I was thinking of. I discovered some adapters that I will be able to use in my recording studio, though I have to find out where I can buy them. I am close to running out of fresh produce and other categories of groceries — but even a grocery run was a commitment of time that I could fit into today’s schedule. There is a furnace repair that I need to make. I know, it is not the heating season, but I gain nothing by waiting. I may as well proceed with that work as soon as I have time to do it. All these things take time to do. It is not just a matter of being ready to spend the money.

Having to put in the time is not so bad when I consider the outcome. By creating changes in myself and my house, I create a better version of myself and a better version of my life. I’ll have a life that goes more smoothly, one that I can feel better about. I will be more productive, which sometimes saves me time and sometimes means earning money faster in the future, and that too can translate eventually to saving time.

What this means for my spending spree is that some other expenditures will have to wait until I have finished a few of the initiatives I have paid for already. I will finish these two courses, I hope, before I start the next one.

As time permits, I will start on some of those house repairs I never seemed to have time to do. They are small things but they will make my life easier.

Recognizing the greater importance of my time and attention, I decided to count some of my past spending toward my goal. These are things I set in motion in February and March knowing that I would have less time to spare when I reached this point. The biggest of these was getting a new passport. I don‘t expect to travel, aside from that trip to the beach, until my work schedule quiets down, but I wanted to have the passport ready. Plans can change in less time than it takes to get a passport processed.

Even including this adjustment, though, I have added only another 2 percent toward my goal this week.

It is a change in my thinking to realize that I have the money to fund all the changes I want to make, to the extent that I can find the time to do them. At least in the artificial conditions of a spending spree, it turns out that time, not money, is the greater constraint. That is a revelation in itself.

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