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Old 10-25-2007, 09:29 AM   #101
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Why don't you just assign a shoe budget ? That way she still gets to shop but keeps it at a reasonable level . Shoes can be addicting now that they make them in sooo many colors and styles .Since moving to Florida I have accumulated a huge sandal collection .
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Old 10-25-2007, 09:57 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I don't get the "artificial scarcity" thing.

We track our spending, and I "sort" of have a budget. But it's not there for "enforcement" but rather just to see how out of range we are in a given area - mainly for spotting deviations and adjusting future expectations.

Our annual total is still well below what we can currently afford, so I don't worry about it at all - less and less as each year goes by. DH occasionally brings up a new toy he's fantasizing over and it's great to say "go for it".
This is pretty similar to our situation, though I would like to ratchet down the "discretionary" spending somewhat. Mostly I enter everything in Quicken to see where we are and how much is going to discretionary and "miscellaneous" spending. The idea isn't to enforce a strict budget per se but rather to provide a warning should we find such unnecessary spending trending up (relative to inflation) over time.

In reality, if overspending is really a serious problem, then perhaps the answer is to create a his and hers discretionary "allowance." If someone wants something that exceeds the allowance they can "carry over" part of one month's allowance to subsequent months. Personally I don't like the allowance concept because it feels like that's how you treat children with money. But if people in an overspending household -- which I define as negative cash flow after all the necessities are paid for and all long-term savings/investment goals are met, or alternatively not being able to save/invest as much as your long-term goals require -- can't ratchet back the impulse or discretionary spending to at least get to a zero-based budget (if not better), then maybe it's necessary in some cases.
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Old 10-25-2007, 10:26 AM   #103
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Funny about the budget, so many times early in our marriage raising kids and such we would have spending freezes after we spent well too much on who knows what. Kids in the house, college costs, calls from the kids at 3am from emergency rooms then the deductible bill from the broken arm or stomach ache, yes she really did go to an emergency room once for a tummy problem. But now I will not deny myself things and if I need more money I work a week or two or three or an extra month sub teaching or taking the extra coaching position for 3K.

Its all gravy now. The good thing is my wife is a fantastic cheapskate. I just love that about her.
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Old 10-25-2007, 12:16 PM   #104
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Why don't you just assign a shoe budget ? That way she still gets to shop but keeps it at a reasonable level . Shoes can be addicting now that they make them in sooo many colors and styles .Since moving to Florida I have accumulated a huge sandal collection .
Boy howdy! You should see my collection of flip-flops...

Actually, I have three pairs of loafers - brown, burgundy, and black - and two pairs of "dress" shoes, brown and black. I expect they'll last forever, since I never wear them. And Kohl's keeps me in $25 NB, Reebok, or Nikes...
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Old 10-25-2007, 05:47 PM   #105
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Audrey, I think you and I are probably in similar situations. ER'd. 40's. Withdrawing < 4%. Right?

So, if we were pushing right up against 4% -- right up against our "means" -- I assume you would agree that sticking to a budget becomes pretty important.

So rather than targeting a specific withdrawal rate, I prefer to target a "sane" lifestyle. I want the illusion of a steady income and a steady lifestyle.
Well, we are running even under 3%, so my anxiety about surviving 50 years is not that high.

We don't have a child - that of course is a huge difference. But we do expect that we might have to foot medical/long-term care for one or more family members at some time in the future, and I like having plenty of "excess" in our nest egg to handle that.

As time has gone on (retired > 8 years now), I have become more open to the idea of spending more, simply because "we can afford it". This means gifting more to family/charities as well as spending more on ourselves.

I suppose this contrasts directly with your philosophy of a "sane" lifestyle. We are naturally fairly frugal (although we do have expensive tastes) so I guess we simply don't "overspend" by nature.

I'm not into "shoes" or even "clothes" for that matter so I can't help you there. Once I quite working my wardrobe shrunk considerably, which is a good thing as the fulltime RV lifestyle is not compatible with a large wardrobe. Living in an RV also precludes the "accumulation of stuff" habit, but it doesn't prevent one from spending lots of money on experiences.

There are some areas where we are currently spending almost twice what we spent 2 or 3 years ago. Eating out for example. It's something we really enjoy doing together and when we find a worthy restaurant, we will happily shell out the bucks for fine cuisine. I look at our monthly expenses sometimes and think "holy cow!" at our dining out total. But then I shrug because a) we really enjoyed the experiences and b) we are still well within our total expense limits.

I guess I just have this upper annual limit that I feel we can "afford", and if we end up well under that each year (which we have), I really don't care where it goes or who spends it.

I must say that we did go through an exercise of really streamlining and prioritizing our life a few years ago - and exercise that led directly to our current fulltime RV lifestyle and getting rid of a whole lotta stuff and curing ourselves of the accumulation habit. Basically, we just make sure we spend our $$$ on what we most care about and what brings us the most satisfaction.

So at that level, we adopted some "sanity" and it was definitely a cooperative effort.

Audrey
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Old 10-29-2007, 02:11 PM   #106
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I guess I just have this upper annual limit that I feel we can "afford", and if we end up well under that each year (which we have), I really don't care where it goes or who spends it.
Exactly right.

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To me, probably the most important aspect of setting a budget is just thinking about it and deciding what parameters make sense for us.
I agree, provided that the thinking and deciding is a joint process involving your wife. Certainly that would be a much more mature and useful approach than unilaterally establishing a budget and then seeking to enforce it on those who didn't 'buy in' in the first place.

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I get a little freaked out by the increasing number of boxes arriving at the front door. So, I see a potential trend, and I want to head it off without a major police action.
Best thing would be have an open, non-judgmental discussion with your wife. If dialogue seems impossible for some reason, probably a marriage counsellor could help.
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