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Your Take: What is Your Money Vice?

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Martha and Jim on Macallan BarrelsWe all have one. We all have that hobby we know we spend too much money on. Maybe you drop a paycheck or two every time you walk into Williams Sonoma because of some gadget you have to have. Or your spending goes unchecked on vacation, picking up trinkets and souvenirs from your getaways. Perhaps you’re a gadget hound and are the first on your block to get the latest electronic gizmo.

Whatever it is… you know you have one and I want to know what it is. :)

My vice, without a doubt, is on vacations. My wife and I love going on vacations (hence our new labor of love, travel blog Wanderlust Journey!) and when we do, we like to eat at nice restaurants, visit all the nice sights, and buy a few souvenirs along the way. We aren’t the knick knack types, but my wife loves sending postcards and I love making sure she actually gets around to sending them from the country on the face of the card!

One caveat, we do budget (a little) on our trips. We set a total trip budget that is usually very large, divide it up by the number of days, and then run with it. This keeps up a little grounded while we’re in a totally fun and foreign place. Trip budgets, in general, are usually high because they include things you don’t normally think about in a budget, like your lodging and all of your meals. I like to set our trip budgets high because I know I like to spend. If you’re going to pay so much for a flight somewhere, you might as well maximize the fun while you’re there!

So out with it… what’s your money vice?

(Photo: Wanderlust Journey)

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35 Responses to “Your Take: What is Your Money Vice?”

  1. zapeta says:

    My money vice is definitely hobbies and computers! I’m always trying to resist buying a new board games, computer games, or computer parts. I try to keep this in check by thinking about the things I’m trying to save for and how buying something now will just set me back.

  2. Julio says:

    I must admit that Vacations are also our Money Vise. Since my wife and I don’t carry balances or borrow money for anything, we actually have a Vacation Savings account that we save into and when it reaches a certain amount that we feel would provide an enjoyable vacation we go. Our spending is then controlled by the balance in that account, so the more we want to spend the more we need to save before we go. We also pad the account to maximize our enjoyment and allow for splurging, all the while with the assurance that our vacation is not putting us into dept.

  3. Foo Finance says:

    Howdy Jim!

    I too am a travel addict. I have my own vacation blog that I post too intermittently. I am definitely more of a budget traveler as I believe that you get to learn more about a country and it’s people by *not* staying in the 5-star hotels and skipping most tours. I like my cheap hotel/hostel and Lonely Planet. For me part of the fun is getting a little lost and seeing your own way back.

    So far I have been to 35 countries. My goal is to see them all. I will be adding #26 when I got to Thailand (a repeat) and Laos (new) in November/December. I am doing a 5 week stint over there. Both very affordable places to go and I love it there.

    My only other, much less money spent, vice is gadgets. I work in IT and love my computers and electronics. I spend a lot less than I used to as I feel travel is more important. That said I still have my iPhone and Macbook Pro. Got both at a discount thought :D

    - Foo Finance (Bobby)

    • Martha says:

      @Foo – I should mention that part of the budgeting for Jim & my trips is to stay in B&Bs (much less $$ than 5 star hotels) since I’m a huge fan of getting to know the locals to learn more about the culture of where we are going :) It would be nice to stay in a 5 star hotel but I do like waking up in a B&B where I know that I’m in a specific country. Its a much better feeling than waking up in a Hilton, which feels the same no matter the country :) .

  4. Chris says:

    My roommate has gotten me into comics lately. I know it sounds childish, but if you actually read a real comic from Marvel they’re actually intense. Just Google some images from X-Force and you have a good example of a not-for-kids comic. Anyway, they’re moderately priced. I can buy a trade book online that has 5 issues (normally $2.99-3.99 each) for about $10 discounted. I dropped maybe $200 this month on comics, but I’m frugal everywhere else (like no cable tv) so I have lots of entertainment money marked for them.

    • Revanche says:

      And if you go to any major convention, you can browse the booths selling back issues, they usually discount trades anywhere from 30-70%! Of course, don’t pay admission just to get a break on the trades if admission is high and you’re not picking up a huge lot of them.

  5. My biggest money vices are kitchen gadgets, computer gadgets and traveling.

    I don’t travel very often (every few years), but when I do, I go all out. I stay in hostels, but I spring for nice dinners, and buy the occasional souvenir (like a block of Wusthof knives in Germany), a beautiful wall scroll from China, etc.

    For kitchen gadgets I generally curb my desires into my birthday and christmas lists, so people can buy me things that I will use and enjoy.

    I try to do the same with computer gadgets, but I more often give in and buy those myself.

  6. Dan says:

    My longtime Money Vice is gadgets. I tend to always be on the bleeding edge. Since buying my first place two years ago, I have spent heavily on automated the lighting system and building a 6-tuner DVR/DVD jukebox which all tv’s can access in my house.

    However, more recently, my gadget lust has switched to photography. I have been throwing myself head first into the DSLR world since starting my Photo365 project and photo blog. Even today, while I am sitting at work, I’m contemplating splurging on the new Canon 7D DSLR body for $1700 which I plan on justifying as a birthday present (early Nov.) to myself.

    • Jim says:

      If you can’t justify it as a birthday present, make it a business expense. :)

      I saw your picture of Sweet Sweet Bulgogi and it made me hungry for lunch hahaha

  7. A couple of things:

    Eating out far too often.

    TV & Internet. This is going to go even higher, as we just signed up for DirecTV and will get the Sunday Ticket package (for my wife) and the MLB Extra Innings package (for me). I’ll probably watch 40+ games of my favorite baseball team (out of market), which dose provide a lot of enjoyment. Without DTV, I only see 2 or 3 games a year.

  8. To the amusement (and relief) of my CPA wife, I track every detail of vacation expense. I set a reasonable budget, broken down by day and category. I think make sure I track every single receipt. I can always tell you how much we spent on hotels, gas, food, entertainment, and souvenirs. I add things up at the end of every day, so we always have an idea where we stand.

    That doesn’t mean that I’m a tightwad – we do still spend money on fun stuff – but we don’t have any “oh sh*t” sticker-shock moments when the vacation ends.

  9. Shirley says:

    G’Morning Jim!
    Ah yes, computers are definitely (and obviously) my vice.

    I thoroughly enjoy ‘cleaning them up’, applying proper security and apps that I feel are indispensable, and then passing them along when and where needed.

    At the moment there are 6 working PCs (98 to XP Pro), an XP Pro Laptop, and a Vista (in the box, as yet unopened and waiting for my $49 upgrade disc to W7 to arrive) in my ‘computer playroom’. All are networked and fully updated. Three 500+Gb external hard drives for back up, back up, back up!

    Dual monitors and LOTS of RAM are my weakness. (Once you’ve used them it’s hard to go without.)
    Coupons, rebates and sales are my lifesavers (senior citizen here).
    Tutorials and how-to articles on the internet are my standby and the joy of sharing is my reward.

  10. Marcie says:

    Definitely online shopping. I can not order enough shoes or dresses online. Most of the stuff I end up returning, but I do end up with far more clothing that I don’t need (and really don’t even wear!) Amazon.com is another vice, but a beneficial one most of the time. I LOVE buying used books for a dollar or two – but the shipping is $3.99, so I end up dropping $5-8 on a rare used book.

  11. lostAnnfound says:

    I have two. First is books, which I try to keep in check by buying books at the library books sales. Matter of fact, picked up two today…Saving Fish from Drowning by Amy Tan (hardcover for 50 cents) and Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo (paperback for 25 cents), both in excellent condition. Then, because they didn’t cost a lot of money, I can pass them on to someone else when I’m done reading them.

    The second is wine. Usually I stock up during this time of year, before the holidays set in. Love going to wine tastings at local wineries also. Tomorrow will be going to one of the largest package stores in the area for a wine tasting. Each fall starting in October they put on wine tastings every Saturday afternoon for 10 or 11 weeks. The cost is five dollar donation (which is donated each week to a different local charity) and there is a minimum of 25 wines to try each week! I can’t wait! Lots of specials and discounts, so that’s why I usually fill up the wine racks around now. Also good for getting hostess/host gifts for all the upcoming parties.

    • Martha says:

      My money vice is also books :) I LOVE to read, and I especially love going to our local used book store to get some great deals. I have been known to spend a few hours browsing in a bookstore… I think its genetic since my dad has the same habit!

  12. Grace says:

    Buying too many products and getting treatments on my face, sounds vain, I know. I’m really saving money so I don’t have to get work done in the future.

    It’s definitely golf for the husband. One round a week at average $90 a round, plus equipment, gear, and not to mention the gas to get to said golf courses…definitely one expensive hobby.

  13. prufock says:

    Hm, difficult one. There isn’t a single thing I spend a lot of money on. I buy comics, but I only spend about $20-25 a month there. I probably eat out more than I should, 2-3 times a week, but even then I don’t usually go for extravagance. That can vary from $20 to as much as $50 dollars a week, but probably $25-30 on average. I don’t drink much, so maybe $10 a week on average there. I spend a bit on junk food, about $20 a week.

    It’s more like a lot of small chips than one big one, in my case.

  14. Amanda says:

    I’m exactly the same, Jim. My husband and I LOVE to travel. I’ll forgo many other things in life as long as I have the opportunity to see the world!

  15. Neil says:

    Everything I spend money on is well justified, not a vice. Yes I spend a lot on vacations (about 10% of gross income), but there’s absolutely nothing wasteful about it. I don’t pick up dust collectors, and I don’t spend absurd amounts on meals or accomodation.

  16. eric says:

    Electronic gadgets by faaaaaar. So guilty.

  17. tylanol says:

    My biggest vice is buying things for my medieval alter-ego. There’s pottery for eating and cooking, books, camp gear, fiber implements, fiber, books, fabric and notions to make clothing, tent, books, brewing supplies, and did I mention books? There may be only two people living in my house but we’ve got stuff for 4 people’s lives. At least DBF is learning how to do woodworking so we can save some money on camp furniture.

  18. My money vices used to be books and DVDs. Then it became clothes, shoes, and purses. I’m getting all of that under control, so now my only real vice would be spent on food and wine.

  19. Electronics…I love having the latest gadgets. I used to pay for them using credit but now I just save up for my electronic splurges in a seperate account.

  20. Too many money vices:

    * I heat out all the time b/c I just love all different types of cuisine having grown up in over 5 different countries.

    * Cars.

    * Watches.

    * Buying too many rental properties.

    It’s important to just keep things simple. That’s why I just have a simple cash goal, and I’m done.

    • I’m very particular about watches. I don’t buy high end or anything (in fact, I wore one $10 watch for many years, because I liked the look), but it must have the right look and feel or it will drive me nuts every time I look at it.

  21. Austin says:

    Food of all sorts.

    Be it at the grocery store or a restaurant. I cut back in most areas of my life so that I can enjoy myself a nice meal or get an extra something at the grocery store without feeling guilty.

  22. Walter says:

    Gadgets and food. I find satisfaction in this craving. Although it’s within my budget I sometimes slip up on spending unnecessary things. :-)

  23. Greg says:

    No doubt in my house… errr garage. Tools, tools, tools. You can never have enough tools are enough wood to turn into family heirlooms.

    For me it got so bad that I had to make a contract with myself. I cannot buy any more unless my hobby generates the revenue to do so.

  24. jcrn says:

    Eating too much fast food which is why I covered the fat tax on unhealthy foods. I aim to eat healthier but don’t know if a fat tax or higher insurance premiums will force me to do so. Apparently, most of those who voted in a recent poll agreed.

  25. Tim says:

    what you mean in addition to booze, women, gambling, and Rock & Roll? my only other money vice is paying for all my wife’s money vices


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