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Psychology Majors - insights into this financial behavior
Old 06-04-2007, 04:49 PM   #1
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Psychology Majors - insights into this financial behavior

I think I have a weird financial behavior that I don't understand. Here it is:

I can go out tonight and spend $25 - 30 for dinner for myself without thinking about it. But, if I wanted to buy something "tangiable" or lasting like a pocket knife, compact disk, or cooking utensil I really over analyze do I really want it; is it worth it.

A small part is I don't like clutter. I don't deny myself anything. But I find it difficult understanding this behavior.

Also, do others have any spending quirks? Maybe I'll look good in comparison.
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:33 PM   #2
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I can make small purchases ( under $75.00 ) no problem .Anything over that I analyze to death before I make the plunge .
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Old 06-04-2007, 05:42 PM   #3
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Another One

Maybe I can join the financial quirks club (FQC)? I will spend any large one time amount with due dilligence but if it involves a repeated charge, even something like $4 a month, I will study it and call & clarify. Drives the phone company nutz but I am more warry of recurring charges. Now I may spend more than a years worth ($4X12=$48) on a single meal and not worry about it.

OK, Two:

Also I hate paying the price for wine in restaurants but I'm not as concerned about the food. Maybe because I know I can find the same wine fo 50% or so at the local wine shop.
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dex View Post
I can go out tonight and spend $25 - 30 for dinner for myself without thinking about it. But, if I wanted to buy something "tangiable" or lasting like a pocket knife, compact disk, or cooking utensil I really over analyze do I really want it; is it worth it.
This is so hysterical to me, since I do the same exact thing! I live in NYC, so I will go out to a bar, get 3 drinks, and drop $35 without problem. Then, I will really want a new book or gadget, usually under $20 and labor to the point of excess. I'll use book price comparison websites, read all the reviews on amazon, and drive myself insane comparing every feature and shipping price from different sites.

I think the term is "penny wise, pound foolish". That is so funny that I'm not alone in this madness
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Old 06-04-2007, 06:43 PM   #5
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I hate paying daily entrance fees for state parks or other "nature" type spots. If I think I will go there more than once or twice, I usually pay the annual membership fee even if it's 5x the daily entrance fee.

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Old 06-04-2007, 06:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Olav23 View Post
. Then, I will really want a new book or gadget, usually under $20 and labor to the point of excess. I'll use book price comparison websites, read all the reviews on amazon, and drive myself insane comparing every feature and shipping price from different sites.


I used to also do this with books but now I buy as many as I want and resell them on amazon .
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:07 PM   #7
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This is so hysterical to me, since I do the same exact thing! I live in NYC, so I will go out to a bar, get 3 drinks, and drop $35 without problem. Then, I will really want a new book or gadget, usually under $20 and labor to the point of excess. I'll use book price comparison websites, read all the reviews on amazon, and drive myself insane comparing every feature and shipping price from different sites.

I think the term is "penny wise, pound foolish". That is so funny that I'm not alone in this madness
That's kind of a nice problem to have, in a way. Next time you want a new book or other little gadget, just make an effort to skip one of those meals or bar tabs and buy the book or gadget guilt free. You can feel good about your effort to save money that way and still have something in hand to show for your efforts...at least that's the way it works with me.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:10 PM   #8
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Yes, it is psychology. I think that this was posted in "Other" but people tend to think of money in buckets.

The example that was given is:

Case 1 - You buy a ticket to a show for $20 and lose the ticket.

Case 2 - You lose the $20 before you buy the ticket.

Rational economic behavior tells us that the two items are equivalent but in reality, since the $20 ticket is more tangible, people are less likely to say that they will buy a second ticket. At least that is how I remember it. DW is the same way, she will hesitate to buy a pair of shorts that she will keep for years but not have any problems paying for a meal at the same price.

IMHO, it seems to more tangible the purchase is, the more likely we frugal people will hesitate to buy it.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:18 PM   #9
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A small part is I don't like clutter.
With me that's a big part of spending. I also don't like people bringing stuff home with them that'll inevitably become my job to maintain.

I enjoy browsing home-improvement stores and buying the supplies for our projects. However I don't seem to get the same response from actually doing the projects-- I'm currently backed up about three or four projects and yet we're still buying.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:32 PM   #10
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I enjoy browsing home-improvement stores and buying the supplies for our projects. However I don't seem to get the same response from actually doing the projects-- I'm currently backed up about three or four projects and yet we're still buying.
God, do I know how that feels. I've got half of my new windows installed, the other half in the laundry room; base boards and window/door casing done, but the crown molding is laying on the kitchen floor; I've got lumber for the deck out in the pole barn waiting to built.

As for the OP, I'm the same way. We will go out to dinner and spend 50-60 bucks and think nothing of it, or I'll be that much in groceries for a cookout for my family and friends. But I will wear out my keyboard researching any other tangible good that costs the same amount.
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Old 06-04-2007, 07:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
I think I have a weird financial behavior that I don't understand. Here it is:

I can go out tonight and spend $25 - 30 for dinner for myself without thinking about it. But, if I wanted to buy something "tangiable" or lasting like a pocket knife, compact disk, or cooking utensil I really over analyze do I really want it; is it worth it.

A small part is I don't like clutter. I don't deny myself anything. But I find it difficult understanding this behavior.

Also, do others have any spending quirks? Maybe I'll look good in comparison.
Dex: Unlike you, I deny myself. I get great pleasure in watching others enjoy things rather than myself. But I shall not buy myself anything special...but I've had my eye on a new Vette as the DW wife knows is my greatest threat to my RE....until then I be in my '94 Toyota pickup getting 30+ MPG smiling all the way to the bank. DW will probably get a new Jeep to replace her '01 model long before I do anything for myself...just not in me I guess.
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Old 06-04-2007, 09:20 PM   #12
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Poverty mentality : clothes, phone, kitchen stuff, sheets, towels

No problem: hardware and software upgrades, DSL, cable, quality food

I have no problem spending $10K - $15K on a new car in the next year, but don't want to spend $300 to $400 on an A/C

I'm paying people to do yard work and house work
(that's 'cause I am terrible lazy)
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:01 PM   #13
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I have been lurking here, learning and appreciating.
But I was moved to register just to participate in this thread.

I share the same behavior, the exact same. I am not a
psych appreciating kinda guy. But I do totally understand
this behavior.

Dropping $100 on drinks and dinner is joy. It is living the
high-life. Living well.

Looking for the $10 bargain best-bargain on the new gadget.
That is sport. That is not being the one guy that didn't
get the best price.

Or at least that is what lets me sleep at night.

Dan
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Old 06-04-2007, 10:50 PM   #14
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Just the opposite for me. I don't understand spending large bucks on drinks/dinner. I'd rather buy $100 pair of Nikes that I can wear for at least a year or two (but, not every day).
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Old 06-05-2007, 01:26 AM   #15
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I think the behavior applies to all experience goods, not just food and drinks. The older I get, the less I want material goods. Yes, I appreciate a fine car, but before I buy the car, I remind myself what a pain the ass it will be to have to watch where I drive it and park it. A car is supposed to take me from point A to B, not point B - 0.2 because I can't park it at the destination.

The experiences I get from experience goods can't be replaced. There is only a small intersecting point in which I have the time, will, interest, and friends to experience certain things. I recall all the bike rides across the mountains across Colorado, Nevada, and California (no, not all at once). To replicate those experiences now would be difficult. First, I'd have to stop lifting weights, ride 11,000 miles a year, and then move back across the continent. It probably won't happen.
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Old 06-05-2007, 07:07 AM   #16
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Dex - I don't think that's weird. I'm the same way. BunsGettingFirm described it well for me - I like spending money on experiences, not things.

I'll go out for dinner/drinks with no problem, but I use the library instead of Amazon, and I buy most of my casual clothes (and often work clothes) on Ebay or in consignment shops instead of in department/chain stores.
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Old 06-05-2007, 08:19 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dex View Post
I think I have a weird financial behavior that I don't understand. Here it is:

I can go out tonight and spend $25 - 30 for dinner for myself without thinking about it. But, if I wanted to buy something "tangiable" or lasting like a pocket knife, compact disk, or cooking utensil I really over analyze do I really want it; is it worth it.

A small part is I don't like clutter. I don't deny myself anything. But I find it difficult understanding this behavior.

Also, do others have any spending quirks? Maybe I'll look good in comparison.
My DW is the opposite. She rather spends money on tangibles. That explains why we have so much stuffs in the house. I rather spend money on travel, movies and eating out.
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Old 06-05-2007, 08:41 AM   #18
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Wow, I'm surprised at the number of replies and that I'm not all that weird when it comes to this particular spending behavior. Maybe it is part of what allowed me to RE.

It also sound as if this behavior deserves a name of some sort. I don't know if it should be classified as a phobia or an ability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Olav23 View Post
This is so hysterical to me, since I do the same exact thing! I live in NYC, so I will go out to a bar, get 3 drinks, and drop $35 without problem. Then, I will really want a new book or gadget, usually under $20 and labor to the point of excess. I'll use book price comparison websites, read all the reviews on amazon, and drive myself insane comparing every feature and shipping price from different sites.

I think the term is "penny wise, pound foolish". That is so funny that I'm not alone in this madness
Olav - I am from NYC also but, it doesn't appear this behavior is limited NYC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
I hate paying daily entrance fees for state parks or other "nature" type spots. If I think I will go there more than once or twice, I usually pay the annual membership fee even if it's 5x the daily entrance fee.
Audrey
Audry, I do the same and I think I usually end up paying more over the year than if I didn't buy the annual membership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hillbilly View Post
Dex: Unlike you, I deny myself. I get great pleasure in watching others enjoy things rather than myself. But I shall not buy myself anything special...but I've had my eye on a new Vette as the DW wife knows is my greatest threat to my RE....until then I be in my '94 Toyota pickup getting 30+ MPG smiling all the way to the bank. DW will probably get a new Jeep to replace her '01 model long before I do anything for myself...just not in me I guess.
Hillbilly, some of the greatest philanthopist had your same behavior. However, as you say you deny yourself you may want to try this idea. Give yourself a monthly budget of money that you MUST spend every month on yourself. If you don't part or all of it. Do something with it that would make you unhappy; like giving it to a selfish deadbeat relative that spends all their money and doesn't have any savings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dandetour View Post
I have been lurking here, learning and appreciating.
But I was moved to register just to participate in this thread.
I share the same behavior, the exact same. I am not a
psych appreciating kinda guy. But I do totally understand
this behavior.
Dropping $100 on drinks and dinner is joy. It is living the
high-life. Living well.
Looking for the $10 bargain best-bargain on the new gadget.
That is sport. That is not being the one guy that didn't
get the best price.
Or at least that is what lets me sleep at night.
Dan
Dan _ Welcome, I'm honored that I could get you out of lurking mode.
And I think you hit on part of the answer. Dinner is a joy and usually an unique experience whereas a tangiable item can be gotten anywhere so it is a sport to get the best price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BunsGettingFirm View Post
I think the behavior applies to all experience goods, not just food and drinks. The older I get, the less I want material goods. Yes, I appreciate a fine car, but before I buy the car, I remind myself what a pain the ass it will be to have to watch where I drive it and park it. A car is supposed to take me from point A to B, not point B - 0.2 because I can't park it at the destination.

The experiences I get from experience goods can't be replaced. There is only a small intersecting point in which I have the time, will, interest, and friends to experience certain things. I recall all the bike rides across the mountains across Colorado, Nevada, and California (no, not all at once). To replicate those experiences now would be difficult. First, I'd have to stop lifting weights, ride 11,000 miles a year, and then move back across the continent. It probably won't happen.
Buns, I think you got the other half of the answer - that it is more important to have life experiences than experiences with material thing.

So... Summing up.. I (we) can spend money (relatively) easily on (intangible) experiences rather than tangible items since experiences are more important than things. I (we) debate the need for and search for the best price for tangible items because the emotional connection and reward from tangible items is low. Therefor, paying the least for the best possible quality is the rewarding experience for me (you).

Sound good? I think we need a club and a positive sounding name for this behavior. It could blossom into a great movement.
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Old 06-05-2007, 08:54 AM   #19
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....until then I be in my '94 Toyota pickup getting 30+ MPG smiling all the way to the bank.
Wow!! What kind of Toyota pickup gets 30 MPG? I want one........
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Old 06-05-2007, 09:24 AM   #20
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I too am willing to spend a lot more on experiences than things. It's definitely the experiences that matter most to us.

But that's also because I have learned how "things" can own you too - take up space, require maintenance, etc. So we focus on keeping the minimum of "things" necessary for our good quality of life. We put a lot of effort into getting rid of most of our clutter, so we tend to be very reluctant to accumulate stuff.

Still, certain "things" are very important to our life - like computers and camera equipment. And we are always willing to spend on the better quality and upgrade to the newer stuff after 2 or 3 years.

But we're pretty brutal about NOT accumulating things that are not top priority - this keeps the total cost down, as well as the clutter.

Audrey
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