Personal Finance Choices: Can vs. Should

Personal Finance Choices

Just because I can buy something, doesn’t mean I should.

I was recently invited to a beer tasting event that I turned down. The event was $50, plus tip, and while I’m getting better at trying new foods, much of the menu was really out of my comfort zone. Being unemployed, I just didn’t feel right about spending so much on a meal, especially one that I wasn’t certain I would enjoy.

We can afford a lot of things…

Did I have $50 in my bank account? Yes.

I could technically afford it. I really could afford a lot of things right now if I wanted! If I wanted to wipe out my emergency savings, I could afford any of these fun things:

  • A new car! (4 new cars under age 30? No thanks!)
  • Several awesome vacations!
  • I could tackle most, or all, of my wish list of house projects: new gutters, doors, trim, get rid of the popcorn ceilings, re-seal driveway, and so on…
  • A hot tub!
  • A lifetime of doggy daycare visits for Max!
  • New furniture!
  • All the books my little heart desires!

Yes, I certainly could afford to buy many nice things!

But we can’t afford everything.

While I would enjoy most of the things on that list, I don’t need any of them really. Just because I can buy them, doesn’t mean I should.

We can afford a lot of things, but we can’t afford everything.

I could have the new car or I could have the home renovations…but I cannot have both at the same time. (without going into debt, which is not an option I would consider.)

If I have any of these things right now, I’d be giving up something greater: my precious emergency fund. Which I need right now.

It’s all about choices

Personal finance is all about choices. I spend $50+ on a dinner where I may not go home feeling full…or I have the peace of mind that I won’t need to dip into emergency savings that week.

I can live it up while I’m unemployed and dip into savings (because that’s what they’re there for right?) but then I won’t be able to afford the new gutters that I really want and still have enough savings to have peace of mind.

It’s all about choices. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. And while we can afford a lot of things, we cannot afford everything.

And while we can afford a lot of things, we cannot afford everything. Click To Tweet

Personal Finance Choices

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  1. You are right. These days it’s very easy to justify a purchase as a need when it’s really just a want. Just because we need food to live doesn’t justify buying the fanciest or our favorite type of food. I’m definitely guilty of finding ways to justify a purchase!

    I’m really glad you were smart enough to have a savings account for your rainy day. 🙂
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…Planning to Live in the MomentMy Profile

    • Those are great examples! I’m glad I made an emergency fund a goal over the past few years. I didn’t always have one and I lost my job this summer! So grateful to have that. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Yes, yes and YES.. there are definitely a difference between need and want! It is easy to “justify” getting something we don’t need when we have the money, but like you, I would rather have paid down on my mortgage and saved a larger emergency fund, just in case, for those rainy days. And boy am I glad I have prioritised those things the last few years.. that pays off now, that I’m no longer working…
    Anne Lene @ Minimalist Sometimes recently posted…I must be a “fraud”!My Profile

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