How To Justify Your Spending


Crossfit – Turkish Getup

These days, the urge to Spend on Stuff is rare. In fact, I find that I have trouble justifying most purchases.

The latest example was in the form of Crossfit equipment to use at home.  I really wanted to buy a few key pieces of equipment so I could work out more at home, but the cost of my gym membership (at $120/mo) made the idea seem ridiculous. As time went on, my desire to purchase equipment remained.

I started by making sure that I could actually work out at home. For one month, I used the equipment we already had and got into a good home workout routine. At that point, I knew my purchases could enhance my home workout experience, and I also had a better idea of what equipment I needed. I decided to forge ahead.

I priced out what I hoped to buy. I wanted to get some bumper plates, a wall ball, a jump rope, and a kettlebell. The high end version of all this equipment was pretty pricey, but I managed to find alternatives that totaled $185 for everything. This happens to equal about 1.5 my monthly membership fee. In theory, if I take a month and a half off and work out at home, then I would “get my money back”. So that’s what I decided to do and I finally clicked “Buy”.

As I looked into it further, I discovered that I was working out an average of 6 times per month (in addition to our free Saturday classes). The drop in rate is $15 per class, so at 6 times per month, this equals $90 per month which was cheaper than my monthly membership fee.  As a compromise (and because I love going to my gym), I decided to work out at the gym once a week and exercise at home the rest of the time. This cuts my membership fee in half to $60 per month. I only have to do this for 3 months to pay for my new home equipment.  Not bad!  This plan may even work indefinitely, therefore saving me a lot more money in the future.

When you’re ready to buy something, see if you can figure out a way to justify your purchase. It may mean selling some things you have or cutting back on something else for a short period of time. In Retirement and in Life, you may find this to be a useful tool that allows you to keep your monthly spending the same, while still being able to make thoughtful purchases.

How do you justify your spending?

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Jimbo June 12, 2013, 2:50 pm

    Hey Mrs MM!

    Glad to read your stuff here. I definitely was happy to read your posts on mmm, so I will gladly follow you here.

    And very stealthy blog, but I hear Twitter is really catching on, so you might want to stop advertising there…. ;-)

    • Mrs. MM June 12, 2013, 3:17 pm

      Haha! That’s why I only posted once on there. :) I’m still trying to sort out writing. I find it hard to write something that I enjoy reading. I guess it doesn’t come naturally to me, but it’s good practice, I suppose. Thanks for reading!

  • EconoWiser June 15, 2013, 2:18 am

    Hmm…good question! Ehm…I don’t think I quite found a strategy for justifying my spending yet. I am thinking about applying the compound interest strategy and calculate whether the amount of money it would cost by not investing it (8% per year for 10 years, for example) would still make the product worth it.

  • Andy June 26, 2013, 9:50 am

    Mrs. MM, first, I love the blog and I’m glad to see you up here writing, I enjoyed what you had posted on your husband’s blog. I’ve always found Crossfit to be both fun and expensive so I think you’ve settled on a pretty good approach that lets you enjoy it while keeping costs down.

    A purchase I just made this morning was for some window blinds that I was able to justify because they’re going to save me money on AC costs by blocking out the morning sun that comes streaming in through the uncovered glass door. Hopefully over the course of the Summer I’ll be able to recoup my costs.

  • Bronwyn September 26, 2013, 10:38 am

    Fantastic blog! I love the MMM blog, but it’s nice to see things from a different perspective. Congratulations and keep it up :)

    I am quite the emotional spender, a habit that I’ve tried very hard to break. I can go for long stretches keeping my spendy monster at bay, but when I’m tired/frustrated/fed up, I throw my hands up and buy the damn skirt.

    Did you ever have slips like this when you were first starting out with the MMM lifestyle? Did it take you long to stop wanting to buy ‘things’ just because you wanted them?

    • Mrs. MM September 27, 2013, 10:50 am

      Yes, great question. This is an entire post in itself.

      Emotional spending is a tough habit to break. In many cases (like with buying books), I was able to find a substitute (the library). For clothing, it’s a little tougher, but I do find that I can shop my own closet. I go through, try things on, donate things I don’t wear, and that gives me double satisfaction: I rediscover clothing I had forgotten about and I am also simplifying my wardrobe.

      I also have a rule that I never buy clothing online. I have to bike to the store (that way I can’t carry home as much and I get exercise), try it on, and give it numerous “tests”. Is it high quality? Is it comfortable to sit, stretch, squat down? Is it exactly the right fit? Do I have another item that is almost the same? (the answer is often yes on this one)

      After you’ve done all this, your emotional urge to shop is satisfied, but often you leave the store empty handed because you didn’t find just the right thing.

      Today I find it very hard to buy something that I don’t actually need, but it is a process and it takes time to get there. I did go through many different phases, starting with the “I deserve this!” phase, then moving on to the “I feel guilty for buying this phase”, and finally the “I don’t need this” phase.

  • Bronwyn November 26, 2013, 6:50 am

    That is a great tip – I love the biking to the store advice! Another thing I’ve been doing is using Pinterest quite a lot to ‘shop my closet’. I pin outfits I find stylish and that also use clothes I already own (or at least similar alternatives). This has allowed me to wear many clothes I thought about donating in the past, and has kept my ‘need’ to shop for new clothes to an absolute minimum, all while keeping up with the latest trends. Works out pretty well considering my fiance thought I was creating my own shopping list – quite the opposite!

  • Alex December 16, 2014, 10:44 pm

    I just found this blog through MMM and I’m really liking it!

    What has worked for me is a phrase an ex of mine asked me when I was thinking about buying something. She said, “Well, is it soul-stirring?” It sounds like a silly question in a way. But it was also a high bar if taken to face value. I eventually found that it actually is a great way to asses if a potential purchase really brings value to my life, and when answered honestly, the answer was “no” 95% of the time.

    So, I guess this my way of saying that sometimes, instead of a financial approach, I justify a purchase if I can honestly tell myself it will stir my soul. It might sound silly but it works!


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