So I normally post about getting the most bang for your buck, and stocking up on things you know you need, and on and on. But the other side of being frugal is to not be so cheap you deny yourself small luxeries like maybe a $5 pizza from Little Caesar's once a month, or a coffee (which we now have gift cards for, yay gifts!). It also means to save your cash for a larger purchase.
We have been wanting the Wii (well, mainly me. But Matt would want the Xbox360. I pointed out there aren't really many games I would like, having always had a Nintendo system. The games also cost more.) His cousin brought his Wii Fit over to grandma's and we really liked it. Granted it's costly too, and also sold out EVERYWHERE. But I would also get the Jillian Michaels workout game, which would help us work out more when it isn't convenient to go to the gym.
So we took our cash, Target gift cards, and drove on a Wii hunt on the way home last night.
First stop was Fry's, where they ONLY sell the console in a bundle with crap we don't need like HD A/V cables (we don't have a fancy-dancy TV) and a charging dock for the remotes (duh, rechargeable batteries!). So we left there, because I don't really like them anyway.
Went across the street and Toys R Us was out, so run next door to Best Buy. As we near the video game section, we see an employee holding a Wii box above his head. I think he was showing the other associates he had one so they would know. Matt is like "Hey, got any more?" And the guy says that one was just returned and it is now yours (don't worry, unopened. Guess they didn't want it??!?). So we get that, and an extra remote and nunchuck (no one else had remotes in stock! Best Buy only had 3) and yeah, tax is 8% there, ugh. So that was $335.
Then Matt goes back to Fry's to buy a 'gun' for the Wii for $16 (again, that 8% tax).
We stop at Target on the way home (all of the Targets around us are in high-tax areas. This one is 10%. Silly Cook County) to pick up the super-sale-priced items of Call of Duty ($39) and Guitar Hero World Tour w/guitar and game ($77...GREAT price. At/over $100 everywhere regular price) and spend $127 (but use $75 in GC on that).
That brings our total to $478.56. Why did we feel we could spend that amount?
1 - This is the third Christmas season for the Wii, and it has yet to go down in price. It will most likely be a long time before it does
2 - We had $75 in Target gift cards
3 - We had a combined total of $265 in cash of Christmas gifts
4 - Matt has an amazing job and just got his bonuses and his PTO will be paid out in a couple weeks
5 - This is something we really want and can use together
6 - We can sell our Game Cube console as the games work on the Wii
7 - May even sell N64 as we really don't use it (use our SNES though!)
So yes, I feel if you can pay 'cash' for things like this, go for it! I would never ever charge it if I could not afford it. While many people don't even have credit cards and would have paid straight cash for this shopping spree, I don't agree. I get money back on my credit card (3% on most purchases, 1% on the rest. Earn $200 in your 'rewards account' and you can actually get $250 CASH back, NOT a statement credit!), pay it in full each month, and do carefully watch how much I put on there. So it is worth it to me to put all this cash in the bank and charge the system. I like the security of charging large electronics in case something is wrong and it needs to be returned and the store gives you trouble. We will use the PTO to pay for the rest of the system. More games will wait until we have extra money again (like my birthday in February when maybe the Wii Fit will be back in stock) but for now Guitar Hero is one of our favorites anyway.
We also plan ahead for things like Matt can upgrade his cell phone in March when he needs to sign a new service plan, but it may die ahead of that time. He is already planning to use his birthday money (January) to buy a nice one that will last him the next two years. With careful planning, you CAN have the nice things you want that are truly extras!!
I hope you enjoyed this full disclosure. I'd be happy to discuss more of my ideas on budgeting ;)