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The Art of Delaying Pleasure – Part III

What about the 540I – M Sport? M-Parallel%20Cropped

Almost everyday I pass a car lot with my car parked out front. No, I do not own the car – yet. It’s a 2003 BMW 540I M-Sport – a beautiful machine. It is silver with tan leather interior. I admit, I covet that car as I drive by in my 1999 beat up Honda Accord. My car has a lot of character (dents, scratches, and Happy Meals mashed into the fabric) but it has been very good to me.

The hardcore reality is that I can actually afford the payment of a car like this. Payment is the mantra we are forced to chant as a society like sheep led to the slaughter. We intellectually understand that payment is different than cost, but somehow that new car smell is such a powerful seduction that we abandon all logic. It is all about payment. The salesman didn’t tell me that it takes premium gasoline and that my friends’ brother Joe, (who worked on all my cars before) has no idea how to repair a BMW. Oh and the insurance is going to go up as well because it is a luxury car. So we end up buying a lie and not the truth of what an item really costs.

The power of delaying the purchases of things you want (or think you need) is that it gives you time to calculate the cost. Most buying decisions are made from pure emotion in the heat of the moment. They call it “car” fever or “house” fever. I feel it each time I pass a BMW. I imagine myself driving it down the interstate and how good I feel and look (it ain’t me – anybody looks good in that sexy machine!). If you delay the purchase for even a day, most of the time your reasoning comes back. I am not saying you should not have nice things, but a purchase should be filtered through an honest assesment of where you are and why you want it.

I developed a set of questions I ask myself each time I see a BMW or anything else I think I can’t live without. Check them out and see if you think they might work for you too.

 1.)  What is the “Real” Reason I want to buy this? It requires brutal, no holds barred honesty. Get real with yourself. Am I driven by the desire to impress others? My neighbor may be impressed (jealous) for the first few weeks, but the new wears off quickly and you still have to pay the payment.

2.) Can I afford the total cost and not just the payment? In my case, as I mentioned with the BMW,  I can afford the payment, but what if it brakes down? By the way it requires premium gasoline. The total cost includes maintenance, taxes,  and insurance. Many of the luxury cars require maintenance by specialty car mechanics.

3.) What did one other person that is neutral say about it? I love this one. A father, mother, pastor,  someone that cares about you, but who will shoot you straight. This is a great litmus test.

The delaying of pleasure does not work with large purchases only such as cars, houses, or boats. In fact, it is in the developing of smaller disciplines that I have found the  greatest satisfaction. Just a few weeks ago my wife had a “come to Jesus” discussion about our spending habits. It seems that we were living in our Fantasy Land again. It seems to be my default setting. I was going out to eat for breakfast and lunch every week day. My average weekly spending was anywhere from $50 – $75 a week. She got through to me by telling me that this $250.00 a month I was spending was a good chunk toward my BMW downpayment. I know, she doesn’t play fair, but her point was valid. If I keep this up I will spend $3000.00 a year just for me on breakfast and lunch. That is crazy! It definitly does not pass the three question test.

So here is the plan for the next four weeks: I am committing to eating breakfast and lunch without spending money out. I will keep you up to date on the journey…

My wife and I have a saying that we have adopted out of the flames and ruin of financial disaster. We say it whether times are good or bad and I say it to you now, “I can’t wait to see what happens next!”

Will I ever get my BMW? Probably, but only when it doesn’t matter to me so much.


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