Monday, November 21, 2011

Budget Power

I am typing this from my brand new MacBook Pro. Man, this thing is sweeeet.

And I'm a fucking consumer. I actually feel guilt whenever I purchase something new. I think of landfills and limited resources, and how this item in particular is a byproduct of the oil industry and I've contributed to it... and yes, I certainly know how to ruin my enjoyment of things. When I was in Mexico and had unlimited food, all I could think about were famine victims, and the poor in Mexico who didn't have access to their own country's loveliness.

But putting aside my guilt, which will pass, and focusing on my shiny new thing, I'm pleased as punch. My old laptop was not failing on me, even after three years of service. Macs are dependable like that. I bought an outdated eMac in 2004 and it gave me zero problems for three years before it finally had enough. The Dude revived it and kept it going while I got a new MacBook, and he eventually sold it for $300.

So I guess a Mac's lifespan is at least three years, probably more. My old one, which is still perfectly serviceable but cannot do a variety of things I've been dreaming of, is being sold for $200 to the Dude's brother. His spouse has been wanting a Mac for iPod reasons, and so my MacBook will be more than enough to handle her needs without blowing over $1,000. And that makes me feel better, because even wiping a computer clean, you feel safe with family, plus it'll be reused and not tossed.

Perhaps you're wondering how I could afford a new expensive laptop after having paid for a wedding. Well, my friends, I'm a good budgeter.

The final tally of the wedding was $18,000. I started out with $10,000, a lump sum from my inheritance after my mother died that I squirrelled away for years for a future need I hadn't decided on yet. I'd kept it in the bank for all this time, not spending it, not thinking about it. I have another larger lump sum for a house downpayment (Not enough), and another smaller one to kick start retirement savings.

So with this amount in the bank and knowing we could purchase things for the wedding throughout the year and allow our monthly incomes to absorb the costs, I set about planning in a fashion that I predicted would not incur any debt. Months I didn't buy any wedding supplies, I plunked a large amount into our savings. The Dude's overtime help and got channelled into the wedding. I put down our venue deposit on the line of credit and aggressively paid it down quickly while also saving money on the side. Merging our finances really was the key to success in all these things.

So, here we are, wedding debt free and with money in the bank to plan a honeymoon. Cryptically speaking, this mat not be necessary. I'll know in a few weeks. But! It's there and waiting for us.

This laptop was a major splurge. But though it wasn't easily affordable, it was still doable without incurring debt. Ah, budgets. They make everything possible while enabling a person to sleep at night.

The next big purchase will be a house. That'll take a lot more effort, discipline and time. We're years away from that. Years and years. And since we're in Toronto, it'll be a lot harder. Finding deals for a wedding is a lot easier than finding deals in real estate.

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