In Which I’m Reminded I’m a Dummy

by J. Money - Published December 10, 2014

coffee pot doodle

Yesterday morning our coffee maker broke. Which is a bad thing to happen on any day of the week when you’re a slave to it, but even worse when you were up with sick little kids the night before and are dragging. (Is it bad if I don’t know which I felt more bad for? The kids or me?? ;))

My beautiful wife was kind enough to go out and pick up a new one a few hours later shortening our state of emergency, and when she got back she apologized for not asking my opinion first.

“Why would you need to do that?” I quickly responded, “A coffee pot is a coffee pot – I’m sure it’s fine, honey.”

“Well I know you like to have the fancier stuff, but this one was only $18! And it makes coffee, so….”

“Yeah, that’s all I care about too! What are you talking about I need fancy stuff??”

“The one that just broke was $60 – and you told me we had to buy it because of the cool features and color.” *judgy face*

“Umm… well, I’m a dummy.”

She was completely right though. When I looked back at picking it up I DO remember liking it because it came on automatically at specified times of the day, and did all other kinds of whiz bang fanciness like make noises when it was ready and Lord knows what else. But I mean, who doesn’t like their coffee freshly brewed in the morning just waiting to help un-groggify you? And so what if I needed to have it sparkling red? That’s VIP right there!  I looked like Martha F’ing Stewart up in that kitchen with all my matching appliances! Hah.

But here’s the funny thing: I never once did anything with it except make coffee. I never programmed it to turn on at any time, I never adjusted the settings to brew stronger or keep warm longer, and I never set any of the fun alarms for it to ring when it was ready for your highness. I just poured the water in, plopped in the specific amount of grounds it needed, and then came back 10/15/60 mins later whenever I remembered that I had turned it on to drink it. All I cared about was that it made coffee!

(I should note that while I do love me a latte or cappuccino every now and then, I don’t make any of that at home – I go to Starbucks (*gasp*). So all we really “need” at home is a machine that makes normal coffee – this may be different in your case if you like the finer stuff at home. I don’t judge!)

I don’t bring this up today to say you shouldn’t buy anything more than the minimum or splurge on stuff that’s important to you, but just that what you *think* you may need in your head can be different than when you’re actually placed in decision-making reality. And this is true for everyone – even people who talk about money every day of their lives!

By effectively taking me out of the purchasing here, my wife was able to save us a cool $40 which was $40 more we probably would have spent had I accompanied her on this errand running mission. It’s amazing the stuff you all of a sudden want when you’re presented with a choice. Give me a pen and a pad of paper and I’m happy as a clam jotting down my thoughts. Make me decide between a fancier pad (*ahem* Moleskin which I’ve spent over $20 on this year and never use!!) and an even sexier pen (or couch, pack of gum, TV – whatev) and all of a sudden I’m playing the “what’s better for me” game. My frugal side wants the “do whatever works, idiot” item, and my “I should treat myself to something better here, I’m always being frugal with my money!” side wants the opposite.

It’s maddening. And you can get it right 99% of the time and still make a bad move the very next opportunity you get. (What is wrong with us??! Haha…)

I do think we get better over time, however, especially if we play to our skills and prepare for our weaknesses. But you have to know what those are so you can plan for them. I’m good at managing our money and overall plan at home so the Mrs. puts me in charge of that, and she’s better with what are family should should wear and eat, so she’s in charge of that (and by “wear” I mean for my kids – she doesn’t dress me ;)). And now going forward I’m anointing her the Queen of Replacing All Items from now on too. I obviously can’t trust myself these days.

[Quick note: Replacing something that just broke with the exact same item is quite possibly the worst financial feeling in the world. Something that was just working 3 seconds ago has now stopped, so you’re shelling out more money to get THE EXACT SAME THING you already have! It’s horrible! And probably why I suck at shopping in these instances…. If I’m gonna go out and spend the money all over again, I might as well get something bigger/better/cooler than just “the same.” It’s exactly why I ended up with that red coffee machine in the first place – after our much smaller, cheaper, pot previously conked out. And the funny thing is that crappier machine lasted much longer – hah!]

It’s also important to keep in mind that we change as people and consumers over time too. 20 years ago I would have balked at the idea of spending $60 for a coffee machine, but now it seems just fine cuz my experiences (and people I’ve come in contact with over the years) has drastically diversified. Not everyone around me is as frugal as my mother and reminding me to watch the price tag like a hawk. Nor do I have any rules I must abide with now that I’m a grown-ass adult living in the “real” world and fending for myself. And we all know what happens when there are no rules to follow…

So…

A) Make rules for yourself the best you can.
2) Be cognizant that we’re not always as smart as we think we are while real-life decision making.
III) Choice can be costly!
And 41) Pawn off all weaknesses onto your better half…

If you don’t have a better half, take a picture of me around in your wallet/purse instead. I’m just as good a reminder of what NOT to do as I am what TO do. And quite honestly, what’s more fun than having a mini J. Money in your pocket?

————-
PS: Things that are more fun than having a J. Money in your pocket:

  • Being debt-free
  • Looking like Brad Pitt
  • Having wads of $100 bills in your glove compartment
  • Telling your boss to suck it when they catch you reading this site

[Cool coffee doodle by xverges]

Jay loves talking about money, experimenting, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his two beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!

{ 82 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank December 10, 2014 at 5:21 am

Knowing ourselves much can help us to reach our better selves. As we make rules for ourselves, we have I believe to make smaller or smart rules. Lastly, weaknesses are overcome eventually, we shall have to be sensitive to it and do something about it.

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2 jestjack December 10, 2014 at 5:49 am

Couple of things….First don’t throw that old coffee maker out. Put it on Craigslist. That coffee carafe/globe alone is worth it’s weight in gold and folks break them ALL the time. So if you had one for say $5-10 and they didn’t have to go buy a whole new $60 unit…a win-win. Aaand watch where you buy your coffee pot and how. A while back I had to replace our coffee maker because I broke the globe cleaning it. A replacement was like $15 so I struggled with a globe that “almost fit”….for over a year. Finally found a coffee maker on sale for like $15 but went on line at the same store and the SAME coffee maker was on sale for $8.48 and offered in store pick up…so no shipping. And I sold the old coffee maker for $5 to a guy with a broken coffee maker but had a good globe on CL. Evidently there was some kind of emotional attachment to that particular model. I’d put it on CL and see what happens….

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3 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Oooh good point w/ Craigslist! It’s literally sitting next to my trash can right now so I’ll promptly pick it up! Thx for the idea!

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4 Sam @ Frugaling.org December 11, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Yeah, was just going to suggest this! From eBay to Craigslist, I’ve sold all sorts of “broken” appliances and goods. Heck, I had a five-year-old, used, broken Kindle on Amazon, and still got $40! Haha.

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5 Mrs. Frugalwoods December 10, 2014 at 7:00 am

Hah! I love red appliances. We actually use Melitta cones for coffee–they’re $3 reusable plastic cones with filters inside that you set over your coffee mug, insert grounds, and pour over hot water. Works well, is cheap, is portable (we travel with our own coffee, being simultaneously coffee snobs and extreme cheapskates), and they come in red!

I sometimes need to be taken out of the purchasing decision-making loop too. I have the terrible tendency to waaaaaaayyy overthink purchases and sometimes Mr. FW can just swoop in, pick the best value, and swoop out (we usually shop online, so I’m not sure why I said swoop). It’s always good to have a partner who can pick out the proverbial cheap coffee maker!

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6 Hannah December 10, 2014 at 8:24 am

My little sister is obsessed with those cones! She has 6 unique coffee making mechanisms in her apartment and insists that the cone is the best, but its only the best if you boil the water on the stove and not in the microwave.

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7 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Ooh never heard of but will Google! Sounds fun!

(And yes – seems I get worse and worse as I get older with the over analyzing purchases too. It was much easier when I just didn’t have any money whatsoever and had no choice but to pick the cheapest, hah)

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8 Brittany December 10, 2014 at 7:53 am

Your quick note puts words to the feelings I had when our middle-of-the-road coffee maker broke earlier this year. We had only had it for a few months when a certain someone *cough* not me *cough* dropped the pot and shattered it. It hurt me waaaaaaaaaay more than it should have, and I could never explain why until I read your quick note. I’m glad I’m not as crazy as I thought! Unless you are crazy too…

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9 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:48 pm

(unfortunately yes, I am crazy – sorry)

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10 Dee @ Color Me Frugal December 10, 2014 at 7:57 am

I’m glad that someone here mentioned selling the carafe on Craigslist! I still have the carafe from our last coffee pot that for some reason I kept when that one broke and we replaced it with our current one. Going to try to sell that on CL!!

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11 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar December 10, 2014 at 8:14 am

LOL I think everything ebbs and flows. When I was younger, I spent money like crazy – mostly on going out to eat and video games. Now, I try not to spend much money at all unless it’s on fun events with friends (common theme maybe?). I guess my spending is just a lot more calculated and conscious now. If I’m going to spend money on something, I’m going to research the crap out of it and look for a good deal (hello black Friday chest freezer)!

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12 kay ~ lifestylevoices.com December 10, 2014 at 8:48 am

My hub-meister’s like that. I just like my old-style flip phone. I just need to make phone calls with it. Plus, I get to feel like I’m on the Enterprise. Plus Plus, you can never make a butt-call with it! But his has to have all the bells and whistles, and then all he does is complain about butt dialing and slow internet connections with it. Sheesh, give me my cheapo flip phone any day of the week! I just need a phone to be a phone. It doesn’t have to perform surgery, for Pete’s sake!

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13 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Haha….

Comment of the year right there ;)

I kinda miss the old flip phones too… not that I hate having access to everything I could possibly want with a smart phone, but because EVERYONE IS ALWAYS ON THEM when they’re around me! No on makes eye contact anymore, ugh…

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14 Brian @ Debt Discipline December 10, 2014 at 8:56 am

I think you just invent you first product. J$ laminated photo cards to carry in you wallet!

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15 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I wonder how many pennies I could get for those?

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16 Old School December 10, 2014 at 9:04 am

b) Love the list at the end!
3) I’m copying it right here.
llll) I recently had my coffee maker go belly up pre-black friday, happened to be out and about, saw one for 10 bucks on a pallet at walmart, and viola we have a new one.
25)…can you figure out the pattern that I used to come up with my list?

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17 Mrs. WW December 10, 2014 at 1:13 pm

I loved the list too. (4 the the first power, bahaha!)
I think I got yours! You started with 2 (two, II, b, etc.), that would make three and four pretty self explanatory, then 5 is 5 times 5?

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18 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:51 pm

I’m going with Mrs. WW’s answer :)

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19 Kathy December 10, 2014 at 9:04 am

Until last year we had a simple Mr. Coffee which, when we were working, we did program to come on just as we woke up so it was ready when we were. Last year, my hubby got me a Keurig for Christmas and I love it. Makes one cup at a time and since he seldom drinks coffee any more, is great for me. The pods are more expensive but I don’t waste a whole pot for one cup in the morning. My son and his wife always look at those fancy pants coffee machines in William-Sonoma but use a simple French press coffee maker instead.

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20 John @ Frugal Rules December 10, 2014 at 9:21 am

My wife and I go through the same exact thing. Even though I manage the finances, she can come in with situations like this and make the right call whereas I would’ve just replaced it with the same thing or something more pricey because of all the nice features. The kicker – I probably wouldn’t be using the nice features either other than to simply make the coffee. Yet another reason why I’m thankful for my wife – because she won’t analyze a decision to death but do what’s wisest. :)

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21 Travis @debtchronicles December 10, 2014 at 9:22 am

We can all take a lesson from this – to evaluate ALL our expenses and purchases for what we really use. We just did a similar thing with a potential basement remodel. We were just about ready to pull the trigger on a very expensive renovation into a theater room – our neighbors did it and it’s super cool. We decided in the end that it was just a bit more expensive than we wanted to spend right now, so we decided to wait. We told our neighbors our decision, and they said that it was likely the right decision – they told us they barely EVER use their super cool basement. Yikes…glad we kept that money in our wallet!

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22 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

And hey – you can just go over there when entertaining friends, yeah? :)

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23 Michael December 10, 2014 at 9:27 am

Another benefit of the cheapies is that they don’t have computers inside. This is great for when the thing breaks, since they always do.
With a ultra-cheap micrometer (~$3 at harborfreight), you can open up the future-broken device and find out exactly what broke. Then you can order and install the fuse/resistor/brokenthing and be back in business.

Our rice maker broke, and it would have been $20 to replace it. I already had a micrometer, so I opened it up and found that a fuse blew. I ordered a new fuse for something like $1.80 shipped. It’s been a few years, and that $18.20 has been accruing interest ever since. :)

Might not work for you in a coffee emergency, since I was without the rice maker for about a week. But after repair, I bet the craigslist resale value increases.

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24 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm

You know, I actually *did* think about opening it up and seeing if I could just see if a fuse or something broke in there (do coffee machines even have fuses??). I’m not handy whatsoever, but figured if it’s broken already, what’s the harm in taking a few minutes and poking around? I still may before I chuck it all the way… And yes, good call regarding the computers!

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25 Elizabeth December 10, 2014 at 9:28 am

I recently discovered how much money we could save by removing me from shopping. I started running out of time to do everything on the weekends and my husband HAS to go SOMEWHERE every day. He took over the shopping for the household and, as a plus for me, takes the two kids with him so they can get their energy out too. Our grocery bill alone has been cut by $200/month since I stopped going and I think he does a better job keeping us stocked with more food choices. I’m letting him handle the Christmas shopping this year too to see if he can cut those expenses while he’s at it :)

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26 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Smart women ;)

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27 Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life December 10, 2014 at 9:36 am

haha, I’m totally gonna carry a pic of you around in my wallet, jk ;)

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28 zut December 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

This is timely. Last night I went to Wallymart to get an extension cord for the Christmas tree lights. Now I’m just looking for the most basic of all extension cords. One that just send electricity from the outlet to the lights on the tree. Nothing else. Does Wallymart have one of these in the Christmas section? I can’t find one. So I just buy the cheapest one (which comes with 5 additional places on the cord to connect other plugs…who needs this much complexity on an “extension” cord???)

I get home and find out that this extension cord only works with plugs that have one prong bigger than the other one. Of course the prongs on our lights are the same size. So my gf gets home and I tell her my extension cord plight. Yup just a few days before she went to the same Wallymart and bought an extension cord for something else that cost $2 less than what I paid.

I fully support “PAWNING all weakness to the better half”. ;)

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29 Mrs. WW December 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm

LOL. They aren’t called “better” halves for no reason! Glad she got you straigtened out and hope you could return your “dernit!” purchase!

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30 [email protected] and the Beach December 10, 2014 at 9:41 am

“and I never set any of the fun alarms for it to ring when it was ready for your highness” lol! I hate replacing things that were working perfectly fine too…even worse is when I inadvertently break it. Like the time I dropped the blender from the top of the fridge, shattering into a million pieces. You best believe I bought the hard plastic type after that. I was just at a store recently for a holiday stroll (I was just there for the free wine) and saw all the high end stuff I used to buy to make myself look more like martha and impress my friends. I’m glad I matured enough to think, “who in the hell really needs this?!?”

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31 Maverick December 10, 2014 at 10:26 am

Or…wait for it…kick yourself of the coffee habit. ;)

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32 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Funniest joke of the day!

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33 Kirsten December 10, 2014 at 10:39 am

This would have been me. I would have bought one that I can program because I probably program it once or twice a year. Certainly not worth any extra cost…

But I did learn after my last coffee pot had to be tossed – I need one that turns off automatically. I will almost never remember to do that on my own. And I don’t really care to come home to burned, crusty coffee!!

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34 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm

So, the interesting part with this new coffee maker is that it’s always on too. Which is actually quite refreshing as it could take me two hours between my first cup and my 2nd cup if I’m on a roll with work (and plus, I like to space them out to give me extended energy!), so now both my cups are steaming hot vs semi-hot and lukewarm – hah! But yes, I need to make doubly sure that I turn the thing off right after. Didn’t think about that dilemma.

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35 Fig @ Figuring Money Out December 10, 2014 at 10:56 am

So funny how we don’t notice things like this until someone else points it out!

I already had a picture of you in my wallet. Is that weird? That might be weird. Nevermind!

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36 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:00 pm

If you could show me proof of that I would mail you a dollar bill as a reward :)

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37 Bridget December 10, 2014 at 11:04 am

I have a neon green Bodum french press. It is amazing.

And the coffee it makes is amazing.

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38 Steve Kobrin December 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

You raise a good point: do we really need what we think we need? Kind of like, are we ordering food at a restaurant based on what our eyes – or our stomach – are telling us?

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39 Jennifer December 10, 2014 at 11:23 am

Depending on how old it was, don’t forget about the purchase protection that most credit cards offer – normally doubling the manufacturers warranty. I bought an expensive milk frother a couple years ago that stopped working and I just had to file a claim to get the purchase price reimbursed.

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40 Christine @ The Pursuit of Green December 10, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Good point! I really need to check on this policy. It’s so little known I bet most credit card companies are snickering behind their backs because we don’t take advantage of this.

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41 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Oh man, I never EVER even remember about credit card warranties/protection/etc etc… not that our coffee machine would have fallen under it as it was at least a few years old I want to say, but yeah. Good call.

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42 Kurt @ Money Counselor December 10, 2014 at 11:38 am

That #4 is key! Thanks J :)

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43 Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 10, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Are you going to put that $40 in your challenge everything savings account?? We have actually had the same coffee maker which was a wedding gift 11 years ago and a few years back I thought about replacing it for no real reason other than to upgrade to something fancier. Thankfully my sexy hubby (whose picture I would rather have than yours in my wallet, no offense) convinced me to get my head out of my a$$ and keep using the one we have.

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44 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I was debating on that actually :) Do you think it should be included? I’m gonna make a note to review at the end of the month and then decide… like a big fat nerd.

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45 Jeff December 10, 2014 at 12:02 pm

I had a similar experience, but didn’t realize it meant I was a dummy until now.

I didn’t even know they made coffeepots without clocks and timers, until I asked for a basic coffee pot for christmas. It only has one switch, turn it on to make coffee and off when you are done. It’s certainly not the one I would of come home with, but it is perfectly adequate. I’ve got a weak spot for tools, so thanks for making me think.

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46 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:07 pm

I bet kids these days think a lot of things are “normal” too, like smartphones, computers, etc. My nephew asked what a “dial tone” was the other day! I was like, “are you kidding??”

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47 Christine @ The Pursuit of Green December 10, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Yay for Mrs. budgetsaresexy! I love the *judgy face* hahaha. I definitely always have that fight between buying something that works or something that has more bells and whistles. I do have a few moleskins but they were free! Free swag from a company my husband used to work at. It’s branded with some logo but hey it’s moleskin!

I’m definitely the more frugal one in the relationship. If I ask my husband if I should buy something he just tells me yes. So that means the only check I get is my own will power.

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48 Dude on a Mission December 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Hahaha I almost sprewed my coffee(!) when I read “Telling your boss to suck it when they catch you reading this site.” Nice way to end the post.

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49 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:08 pm

You were at work while reading, weren’t you? :)

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50 The Phroogal Jason December 10, 2014 at 12:44 pm

In my marketing job days we knew quite well that when people are given choices they feel in control and would tend to spend more than they typically would if only given one choice. I used to be horrible with this when buying computers. I’d always get the more expensive one with all the features I think I needed or wanted. Ha eventually I learned I needed only the ability to go on wifi.

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51 Mr Zombie December 10, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I think you NEED a Nespresso machine mate.

Totally agree, when something breaks, it’s always tempting to replace it with something newer and better. Now only if my Suzuki SV650s would break so I could replace it with a Triumph Street Triple 675R… :) But I know that would get (rightfully) cancelled by Mrs Z and I would end up with a 50cc scooter

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52 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I just googled what that was…

The black on black style is dope!

http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/Gallery%20C/Triumph%20Street%20Triple%20R%2009%20%202.jpg

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53 Kayla @ Everything Finance December 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Yes! Your note about replacing things and ending up with something “better” since you can’t buy the exact same thing since yours just quit – this has happened to me several times before. My brother’s cell phone broke and when he and my dad went to get a new one, my brother wanted the exact same phone but my dad convinced him he should upgrade since he had to get a new phone anyhow. Now my brother is stuck with a fancier phone with more features he didn’t need and a higher bill. How silly!

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54 [email protected] December 10, 2014 at 12:57 pm

For years I’ve been hacking it with a little one-cup filter that sits over your mug with the coffee grounds and you pour H20 into it. Very, very cheap, though a little inconvenient when you occasionally have a guest :) I’d like a programmable one because I feel like I’d get out of bed a lot faster in the morning if I knew there was hot coffee already available, but not until I settle down somewhere (I don’t want to move it six times) and not until I have counter space. So maybe never, in other words :-)

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55 Mrs. WW December 10, 2014 at 1:29 pm

True, sometimes it has to be learned that you should always start out with el cheapo and work your way up if you really need to. (I think Will at First Quarter Finance wrote about that not long ago.) Oftentimes we find we don’t need to!

Our coffeepot is a BUNN, a gift from my parents from years and year ago. Ready almost instantly because the water is always kept hot in the back. (But we’re super frugal so we put a timer on the outlet so it doesn’t heat during the times we don’t need it to.)

Recently we had to buy a coffeepot for our vacation house. Guess what? Goodwill has tons of coffeepots! We learned that we can get a timed coffeepot (almost all of them had that feature) for a crazy fraction of the cost. When our nice one dies I think that a Goodwill choice will be plenty good enough to replace. Our weekends at the cabin have been delightful so far waking up to pre-brewed coffee. : )

Extra plus, I love when old and very used things break. I feel like I got the full use out of them. When our Goodwill coffeemaker dies it will have lived a good, full life. Even through two homes. ; )

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56 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Oh yeah – good call on Goodwill! I usually only think of them when looking for antique appliances. Like old school radios, record players, etc. But you’re right. They have tons of new stuff too – even in unopened boxes!

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57 [email protected] December 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Ha I could not survive a day without my coffee pot. Before I had kids I was so cool and told everyone I was a tea drinker thank-you-very-much but yeah that totally does not work when you’re up at 5 am cleaning poop off of a baby’s legs. ’nuff said.

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58 Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom December 10, 2014 at 4:42 pm

We got our coffee maker as a gift. We said we didn’t need anything, so my parents bought two of the coffee makers my sister asked for. Turns out that we did like fresh coffee waiting for us every morning. This thing would even grind the beans up fresh! Another gift later was a separate grinder, which is awesome. But now I’d be happy with a smaller coffee maker and he loves it because it looks awesome. Should be interesting to see what we do when this thing finally breaks.

My favourite is when something breaks and we just decide we don’t need to replace it.

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59 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm

You just reminded me that we have a grinder too… for when we grind our beans NEVER.

(makes a note of what to list on Craigslist next)

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60 Colby December 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm

You’ve discovered the secret to our vast consumer marketplace! Out of all the inventions and products you can buy in the store, how many of them are unique and original? Take your coffee maker for example. Most stores have an entire isle dedicated to displaying electric coffee makers. They exist to brew coffee. But you have the option to spend $18 up to probably 150+ dollars for the same basic functionality. The difference is the features marketing departments want us to want. Does a fancy color and fancy programmable controls create $100 of value over the basic $18 coffee maker? No it doesn’t, but people pay for it, and that’s why you have such a wild selection of coffee makers at all price ranges.

This applies to every consumer product. Cars, pencils, clothing, etc. I think humans are programmed terribly at recognizing value. We tend to desire all the features, even ones we didn’t know existed or will never use. But the feeling that we have the best of the best is our internal motivation to make stupid purchases.

It’s great that such a common and simple situation at home created such a good learning experience. Sometimes items are so relatively cheap that we forget about value which is at the heart of frugality.

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61 Colby December 10, 2014 at 5:57 pm

BTW I own one of the fancier $50 coffee makers with the programmable brew times and a few other features. I read the box at the store and discovered that I “needed” all these new features I didn’t know coffee makers could have. I haven’t found any of the features I paid for useful. I am truly one of the marketing departments suckers!

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62 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Haha…. seems coffee machines are great for personal finance lessons though!

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63 Melanie @ Dear Debt December 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm

That’s so interesting that you never used the gadgets! I think so many people buy things for the “extras” but then only end up using it for its intended purpose. Glad your wife could save you some money :) Also, I would love to carry a picture of you in my wallet and I wish I had a boss to tell to suck it while reading your site, haha.

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64 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Give me $1,000 and I’ll send you three pictures! :)

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65 Chelsea @ Broke Girl Gets Rich December 10, 2014 at 7:22 pm

“My frugal side wants the “do whatever works, idiot” item, and my “I should treat myself to something better here, I’m always being frugal with my money!” side wants the opposite.” <-Yes!

And your point about choices – choices can really be the death of you. I was recently picking out a birthday gift for my brother (not even an item for myself) and I knew what I wanted to get: Keurig cups because that's what he wanted / needed for work. I thought I'd be in and out of the store in 5 minutes…. ohhhh nooooo. The choices were insane! And the real kicker was they all had approximately the same price tag. If that kind of choice paralyzed me into a 10-minute full-fledged decision making fiasco, I can only imagine if I had to choose between different items at different price points for myself.

Eh, first world problems, am I right?

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66 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:18 pm

(you are right)

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67 Done by Forty December 11, 2014 at 1:18 am

This whole carrying-a-picture-of-you thing could be a chance for some swag. J Money keychains. J Money wallets. I phone cases.

The possibilities…

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68 Jon @ Money Smart Guides December 11, 2014 at 7:26 am

I’m guilty of this sometimes when we go out to eat. I see all of the tasty apps and entrees and end up ordering too much food and I regret it later.

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69 Alicia December 11, 2014 at 10:14 am

Umm, I think you need to start making PF-related merch. It would totally be a thing… except that everyone who reads your site wouldn’t spend the money for them… Hmm, probably not the best market out there.

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70 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Haha…

We did have “I’m Bringing Budgets Back” T-shirts once! They sold out like hot cakes (and now I see them at the FINCON conferences every now and then – lights up my eyes every time :))

http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2012/03/im-bringing-budgets-back-t-shirt-for-sale/

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71 Alicia @ Financial Diffraction December 12, 2014 at 6:26 am

I’m so sad I wasn’t around last time this happened. Sharpie on one of a D’s undershirts has the same effect, right?

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72 The Roamer December 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

Hahah loved the just suck it boss… Comment.

One day one day.

I completely get the sentiment of having to replace stuff… It just feels like rework. And we all know rework is just such a waste.

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73 Joseph Hogue December 11, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Yep, I’ve got a keurig single-cup machine and a Black & Decker coffee pot machine. The B&D cost half as much and just makes coffee but it’s the only one I use. The Keurig is a nice back-up but who drinks just ONE cup of coffee.

Great post.

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74 Liz December 11, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Great post! I definitely just spent $10 more on a knife block solely because it was red, the cheaper one was black, but I was fully aware that I was doing that at the time. Being conscious about ridiculous spending is half the battle right? lol.

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75 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I would have picked red too if I were you – we’d be a horrible combination :)

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76 Kim @ Money Under the Cushions December 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

So(oooooooooooo) true! I remember when hubby and I were on warm weather vacation and the hotel was speckled with “spa water.” You know, beauuuutiful water dispensers full of ice cold fruit essence water. Oh the varieties. Water infused with fresh cucumber and basil, or watermelon, or oranges, or limes and grapefruit. No plain lemon here! We sipped and sipped all day long every day feeling like the toxins were exiting our bodies with every sip.

We couldn’t stop talking about it when we got home and since it was warm we decided we NEEDED a dispenser so we too could make this nectar of the gods. Yes, a plain old plastic water pitcher like the one we had would accomplish the same thing, but the GLASS DISPENSER was just so damned beautiful. Don’t you know it’s what made the elixir work? :)

We thought ourselves so clever buying it on sale at a deep discount. And we did use it every single day. That summer. Two years later we bring it out each summer when we do the house change out, and we haven’t water essenced again. LOL

I think the enjoyment we got out of it that summer was worth the price. If it broke, I HOPE I’d be strong enough not to replace. Might have to carry that picture of you in my wallet if that happened. ;)

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77 J. Money December 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm

Or you might have to accidentally sell it on Craigslist and then use the money for something even more fun! :)

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78 [email protected] December 11, 2014 at 10:22 pm

The coffee maker. Nooooooooo! Brb, pouring one out for your homey.

We’re pretty caffeine-dependent in this household.

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79 J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

My homey thanks you.

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80 Martha @ Marty Thoughts on Life and Money December 12, 2014 at 4:42 am

I like your rules. Pawning off things on your other half is a great rule. I don’t have an other have right now so I just harass friends to make sure I am not making stupid decisions. I think if I carried your pic in my wallet my caregiver might have me checked out at the doctors.lol. But that might make it all worth it

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81 Grayson @ Debt Roundup December 12, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Sounds like one of the reasons I bought a Jetski. Hey, it’s cool looking and red! It can also go 80mph on the water! Well, years later, I realized I was an idiot! Oh well, teaching moment!

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82 J. Money December 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Haha… good thing you have a blog to be able to share these nuggets of learning ;)

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