How do you justify a big expense?

A friend of mine talked me into getting a gym membership at 24-hour fitness. They had a number of offers, but the one I wanted was a membership where I could go at any time and any location. I would be paying a lot of money up front, but I would get a 3-year membership out of it. So how did I justify the cost? Two ways:

1.) I figure if I pay up front, I will be compelled to get my money’s worth, which will help me to go regularly.

2.) All the money I’d normally spent on alcohol became earmarked for this project. I’m not a heavy drinker, but I figure over a 3-year period the total monentary cost of my alcohol consumption would be pretty significant (buying beer at the grocery store, drinks at restaurants/bars, reinbursing my friend for drinking his beer at his apartment, etc).

Besides, I figure it can only help me even more health-wise to give up alcohol while I’m working out regularly.

My friends paid for their driver’s ed, I bought an iPod.

I justify this by telling myself that I’ll be alone next year, and I might as well have some music, and I also worked hard all summer, so I damn well deserve it. And I know I’ll use it all the time, so it’s a wise decision.

How much you plan on going to the Gym, and how much you actually end up spending in the Gym are Temporally divergent.

But, it’s your money. “I want it.” is justification enough.


I now justify a big expense by haveing a slightly bigger checking account balance.

I used to justify a big expense by having a slightly bigger line of credit.

This change is what I refer to as “wisdom”.

I justify it by saying I worked my ass off for it and all my bills are paid on time. I don’t have too many expensive wants, but when I get one, I spend exactly one nanosecond trying to justify it to myself.

I’ve got a new job, and a laptop computer will be helpful, so I bought a pretty good one of those–paid more than I probably should have, but maybe the extra cost will extend the useful life of the computer. Got new glasses-not so pricey as the computer, but an expense I’ve been putting off for a while. Got some new clothes (need for new job). Got a cell phone.

So far I figure I’ve spent close to 3 months salary on stuff I “need” and the job doesn’t start for 2 more weeks.

So, I guess just “I’ve got a new job” is working pretty well to justify emptying my checking account.

It’s “disposal income.” That’s the money you have that you’re going to spend on something, so make it something you want.

I do a strict cost benifit analysis and value evaluation.

For value, I determine what similar products cost and what the probable lifetime of the product is.

For cost benifit, I determine what my input is and what my outcome will be.

For example: I bought a second kayak this spring. I paid $475 for the boat and the skirt. New, they would have cost around $1000 to $1200. The boat showed some wear, but no major damage. (Value Statement) In buying the kayak, I was able to paddle in places that my other boat wouldn’t go, was able to prevent wear and tear on my other, more expensive kayak, and was able to paddle more often because the new boat is easier to lead and unload. (Cost Benifit Analysis)

Sound like a long process? Maybe, but I made the decision in less than an hour. The only time it lets me down is when I make a miscalculation the value statement portion.

I’m single and make pretty good money, so I usually just look at it for two weeks and if I still want it, I buy it.

I just buy it really quickly and try to lose the receipt. Lose it in my house, that is, not the garbage. That way, if I have second thoughts, they’re never strong enough for me to go looking for the damn receipts.

Dopers that have a widescreen HDTV:

Do you justify this purchase by saying that you will be able to share this expensive purchase with family and friends?