January 15, 2008, 7:00 am

A Trick to Become More Frugal: Will I Regret It?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Frugal
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When you speak with older people and you ask them what they would do differently if they had the chance to start over again, they would say that they regret only the things they didn’t do. Well I guess that it could be good for finance too! While many people suggest asking yourself if you really need something or not before buying it, I would rephrase that into: Will I regret it? There are several occasions in your life that you may or may not need but that you will certainly regret if you don’t do it.

regrets

 

 

I learned this lesson while travelling in Europe. I was in France for six months as a foreign student so I did not have a lot of money to waste. Cost of living was quite expensive and I also wanted to visit as many countries as possible. Even though I was running with a tight budget, I do no regret anything from this trip. I visited 7 countries on a 40 days trip, studied in France for six months and bought an engagement ring in Austria for my fiancé. All that with less $15,000.

 

The secret behind it is sacrifices. If there is something you want to do or you need to buy as you know that you will regret in the future, you will have to make choices. For example, my friend and I agreed to not eat a full meal for lunch and use this money instead to do activities or purchase souvenirs.

 

You obviously need to know your needs and your dreams in order to spend your money accordingly. Sometimes, it could be pretty easy to pretend that you will regret not buying so and so (I use the “I deserve it factor for this type of occasion 😉 ).

 

This technique works best with major purchase such as properties, trips, cars, etc. Another great example is my property story. When we had William, we were in an apartment and looking to buy our first house. We did not want to spend too much and we thought we would still be happy in a smaller house. We put that house for sale after only 8 months! The reason? We decided to put our future needs aside and go for the frugal choice. I guess I don’t need to explain that moving twice in a year is incurring several expenses and that the “frugal” choice ended up being the most expensive one!

 

When we bought our second property, I decided to not make the same mistake. The price was higher than the limit we had previously fixed but I really wanted it for many reasons. After a year living in the house, I can say that the first 6 months was rough financially but that we are now comfortable with our payments. Beyond the financial aspect, I smile every day when I come back from work and I look at my house on my way home. I finally feel good, I finally feel… home. This feeling is absolutely priceless. Sometimes, you are better off spending your money according to your real need and dream so you will live a much happier life.

 

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Comments

That is a great question to ask yourself. It can be a very useful tool as long as we remember that all decisions involve tradeoffs, and as you put it, often sacrifices as well. Sometimes spending a little more on a house can make sense for an individual or family even when the numbers recommend spending less.

As Martin Luther would say, “sin Boldly!”. I think that applies to personal finance management as much as anything 😉

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[…] Financial Blogger: Will I Regret It? This is a great story about how to ask yourself when the choice is worth the monetary sacrifice. We […]

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This is so true! Living on a married college student budget we experence this quite often. My husband is an avid cyclist and he is constantly wanting and needed new equipment to stay competitive. The price of buying cheaper products that break is much more than investing in quailty parts that he will use for the life of the bike or be able to sell later has worked well for us. He also got a job at our local bike store so he can perform his own maintance with their tools and buy things at wholesale. This is something we both feel is very important so we make it work!

by: Minimum Wage | January 24th, 2008 (5:37 pm)

Some of us regret the things we’ve done. I deeply regret having gone to college.

by: The Financial Blogger | January 24th, 2008 (10:36 pm)

Minimum Wage,

I am curious to know why you regret going to college?

regarding Minimum Wage…He wrote on other blog that he used all money he had for his studies, but since he graduated he works for minimum wage

[…] it comes to shopping . In order to control my spendthrift moments, I am continuously asking “will I regret it?”. Thinking twice about what I am about to buy reduces my bill at the end of the month […]