Back in the day, when I was poor, I used to create Wish Lists. I'm still not rich by any means, but I can do things financially that I wasn't capable of 10 years ago: such as pay a mortgage, invest in a 401(k), etc. Yet with those items in my financial portfolio, cash flow is just as slender as it was when I was poor. So, I'm going back to the practice of creating a wish list. The wish list gave me time to think about major purchases and decide what was most important. Very often large ticket items got pushed to the background and items with smaller price-tags moved forward. This is as it should be. When wants are wants, a feeling of deprivation occurs if you save money until it hurts--then you start getting into the Scrooge mentality--an outlook on life that there isn't enough, that one must hoard in order to survive. It's a very limited way to live.
Keeping a Wish List is a very enlightening method of determining value. You contemplate these future purchases with an eye toward what is the most important--what most resembles a need. Those get resolved first. Then you can further contemplate purchases, and some may fall away, cease to be needs or wants. They can be removed from the list. I've gone back and forth about getting a new car for several years. I want something with front wheel drive and more cargo space. But my T-Bird is gorgeous, fit, and has 20 more years of life in her. The desire for front wheel drive is based on experiences I suffered more than 10 years ago, when snow was much more typical in Seattle. Specifically the blizzard of 1989, when we got 21 inches of snow and people abandoned their cars on the freeways, etc. We don't have weather like that any more, or very, very rarely.
The cargo issue is valid, but I can always walk down to the bottom of the hill and rent a truck from U-Haul, which is less than a 1/2 mile from my home.
These are the ways in which I must try to resist the urge to hoard. For example, the Ipod at the top of my list has been in my mind for the past year. It would be compatible with my audio book club, and would replace my portable CD players and my portable tape players. It is a much better solution than MP3s on a CD, which roll and skip and aren't very useful.
Whenever a desire lasts for more than a year, I realizethat these are not about to go away. I need to pay attention to them. They speak to something deeper than a mere impulse purchase. I can rest assured that it is not a toxic purchase.
I can get drunk on money and spending as easily as I can on a bottle of Jim Beam. One must be very careful.
Money is, after all, divine. The first money was coined (minted) at the Temple of Juno Moneta in Rome. Moneta means "advisor" or "warner" and refers to an ancient legend wherein Juno's sacred geese warned of an impending Gaulist attack. Later money was minted and treasured at the Temple of Juno Moneta, and Juno became goddess of coin/money. The word "money" comes to us from Latin through French.
Money in the United States is also spiritual in nature. Annuit Coeptis means "He (God) has favored our undertaking." What better motto to put on money? One should always be mindful of doing God's will with money. Money, philosophically and literally, is power.
So I'm not ashamed that I nitter and natter and kvetch about what to buy. My parents instilled in me the value of money. And I'm grateful for that.
And the best thing about a wish list, is that you cross off the items which you spend your money on. And soon, perhaps sooner than you imagine, the there are more cross-offs than remaining items. And that can give you a real feeling of accomplishment.