BTD Strategy Trial

Midpack

Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
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Jan 21, 2008
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DW and I have tried to spend a little more without much success, going out to dinner more often, more travel, more (small) “things” we might hesitate to buy. We have kept a detailed spending budget and reviewed variances monthly for well over 20 years, well before we retired and thereafter.

Occurs to me part of the problem is our reviewing variances doesn’t reconcile well with BTD. Obviously we could increase our budget, but we don’t necessarily want to increase one or a few categories, BTD could come from any spending category - groceries, dining out, fitness/hobbies, travel, clothes, house/yard, consumer electronics, subscriptions, gifts, charity, even utilities, etc.

So we created a new separate category called “Splurge” and set a decent budget for it. Now anytime we spend more than normal, e.g. a couple weeks ago we had a crazy expensive dinner out that would have blown the dining out budget for May - put it in splurge. It’s been fun so far, I bought a new (golf) putter a couple weeks ago that I wouldn’t have normally.

So we’re admittedly just playing tricks on ourselves, but maybe it will help us maintain our long standing spending discipline, while adding a few frills.

Besides: I got my first SS check today, and it’s shocking to have an income again after 13 years with none! BTD
 
Some of us have no problem blowing that dough. My very favorite spending category is travel, and that can mount up surprisingly fast.
 
Priorities. We BTD only on the highest priorities. Like travel, excellent photo and computer/optics/electronic devices and AV equipment. A one time in 16 years very nice car (for travel). Top quality groceries. These are all things that greatly enhance our quality of life.

Travel is indeed the easiest category for BTD by far.

We do not have a strict budget that we compare detailed expenses against. Just a maybe three very broad categories that I compare against maybe once a year even though Quicken generates a far more detailed spending report. Gifting is one of them, for example. I know when I take my annual withdrawal and subtract the expected taxes that the rest is available for spending. Knock on wood we haven’t gone over that amount yet. We really don’t sweat it beyond that.
 
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So we created a new separate category called “Splurge” and set a decent budget for it. Now anytime we spend more than normal, e.g. a couple weeks ago we had a crazy expensive dinner out that would have blown the dining out budget for May - put it in splurge. It’s been fun so far, I bought a new (golf) putter a couple weeks ago that I wouldn’t have normally.

So we’re admittedly just playing tricks on ourselves, but maybe it will help us maintain our long standing spending discipline, while adding a few frills.

I like that strategy!
 
We've definitely learned to BTD on a couple things like GK's, travel and groceries (better quality). Really anything is up for grabs if it's better quality for a reasonable % added. I just look at the quarterly and annual #'s though and compare y/y. Also make notes on events that added bigger #'s to the spending. This year was Germany trip, a new sectional, 529, MIL care facility fund and carport cover for the detached garage.

Still to go is trip to Port Aransas, Cali & probably back to Mexico.
 
Good start towards your goal. We have an account for lumpy expenses that are more of the BTD type vs. necessary lumpy expenses.
So effectively similar to you and it allows us more psychological satisfaction.
 
Good start towards your goal. We have an account for lumpy expenses that are more of the BTD type vs. necessary lumpy expenses.
So effectively similar to you and it allows us more psychological satisfaction.
We've always had an "accrual" category in expenses for lumpy expenses like cars, major home repairs/renovations, etc. Splurge is our new purely BTD category.
 
Some of us have no problem blowing that dough. My very favorite spending category is travel, and that can mount up surprisingly fast.
Absolutely! When DW and I got married, we were spending about $40K a year on travel.
 
We've always had an "accrual" category in expenses for lumpy expenses like cars, major home repairs/renovations, etc. Splurge is our new purely BTD category.
Yes, I didn't fully explain it. We also have 2 lumpy type expense budget lines. One for necessary stuff like you referred to above and one effectively for BTD.
 
DW is taking a trip soon to visit DD in Texas. I was about to book a trip with the next to lowest level of economy since it included a carry-on bag but she said she wanted the cheapest and will take a backpack and go up to our house and get the clothes that she needs for the 10 days she is there.

After reading these posts, I'm tempted to upgrade her to first class but she might blow a gasket. :facepalm:
 
. . .

So we created a new separate category called “Splurge” and set a decent budget for it. Now anytime we spend more than normal, e.g. a couple weeks ago we had a crazy expensive dinner out that would have blown the dining out budget for May - put it in splurge. It’s been fun so far, I bought a new (golf) putter a couple weeks ago that I wouldn’t have normally.

So we’re admittedly just playing tricks on ourselves, but maybe it will help us maintain our long standing spending discipline, while adding a few frills.

Besides: I got my first SS check today, and it’s shocking to have an income again after 13 years with none! BTD

I like it.

Some people don't like "bucket" type strategies / accounts for specific purposes (i.e. labeling money which is fungible) - but if it makes me more comfortable, then it works for me.

DW is taking a trip soon to visit DD in Texas. I was about to book a trip with the next to lowest level of economy since it included a carry-on bag but she said she wanted the cheapest and will take a backpack and go up to our house and get the clothes that she needs for the 10 days she is there.

After reading these posts, I'm tempted to upgrade her to first class but she might blow a gasket. :facepalm:

You BEAST!
 
I like it.

Some people don't like "bucket" type strategies / accounts for specific purposes (i.e. labeling money which is fungible) - but if it makes me more comfortable, then it works for me.
I have a few accounts or amounts earmarked for certain purposes because it simplifies cash flow management (reduces mistakes) plus lets you know an investing timeline if appropriate. For example, in my most formal case the first thing I do after my Jan withdrawal is set aside funds for paying income taxes during the year. That is earmarked in a high yield savings account that is drawn on by the IRS via scheduled tax payments throughout the year.

But in terms of “budget” all that matters ultimately is total spent for a given year.
 
I don't feel BTD wealthy yet but thought about creating a budget category (really, I just track but do forecast the next year) that I *have* to spend if/when I get to that point. I generally (within reason) do not sweat money spent on health/fitness - which is often also fun for me, or socializing. I guess if/when I feel rich, upgrading some travel would be pretty nice but I'd never be comfortable in too ritzy environments so it'd mostly be upgrading seating/times or staying closer to city centers rather than outskirts etc but at similar properties and traveling more frequently. Maybe I'd start going to big concerts again but concert prices are ridiculous and there is so much good entertainment in more intimate environs. I just don't feel materially deprived and am pretty content with simple things (beans and barley!... is that BTD?). I definitely don't want a lot of "stuff."
 
Besides: I got my first SS check today, and it’s shocking to have an income again after 13 years with none! BTD
I'm still waiting for that at 70 also. Think I'm going to enjoy it.
 
DW and I used to take a month on the Amalfi Coast each year. We'd still be doing it we're it not for a family issue that now limits our travel to about one week at a time. A cautionary tale for some here imo.

So, instead, we just got back from visiting our nephews who just moved to Chicago from Boston. First Class seats are not BTD as that is the only way we fly, BUT we did splurge on a three room suite at the Four Seasons. Corner room, lake view and Michigan Ave view from the 41st floor. Superior service and amenities.

Along with dinner$ and room service breakfasts we dropped just about $7,000 for three days. Yeah, a bit steep, but things like this are our "new Amalfi Coast".
 
DW is taking a trip soon to visit DD in Texas. I was about to book a trip with the next to lowest level of economy since it included a carry-on bag but she said she wanted the cheapest and will take a backpack and go up to our house and get the clothes that she needs for the 10 days she is there.

After reading these posts, I'm tempted to upgrade her to first class but she might blow a gasket. :facepalm:
My wife was very frugal before I convinced her to book a business class seat to Asia for a solo trip she took. Once she had a taste there was no turning back. I had always used business or first class when traveling for business and it was routine. I would fly coach for personal trips but knew she would enjoy business class.

She is used to it now and we always use it for overseas travel. True BTD but well worth it.

My wealthy friend still flies overseas coach. I told him to knock it off and pay for the upgrade. He's not going to take it with him so he needs to just BTD.; He did stop buying used Toyotas and started buying new ones so there is progress.
 
Besides: I got my first SS check today, and it’s shocking to have an income again after 13 years with none! BTD
Isn't that just the way it goes? You actually finally figure out a great BTD strategy and along comes Social Security to mess up your plans!

Now, you need to add a SS-Splurge to your regular Spurge. Where does BTD end?:cool:
 
I'm still waiting for that at 70 also. Think I'm going to enjoy it.
I’m 70, the amount is shocking. Of course Uncle Sam will tax 85% of it, but it’s still a lot of income.
 
Midpack--this sounds like a good start to help your DW feel more comfortable spending more.
Good solution!
 
A new income stream, and a new category to spend it in.... I like it....
We don't budget stuff. We have our regular bills and savings (401, HSA IRA), then split the rest into 3, pay down debt, additional savings, the rest we spend for the month.
 
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