For as long as I can remember I’ve been trained to defer gratification. I will think of something(s) I want and then I put these items on my don’t forget list while I fine-tune my requirements, monitor pricing options, and then purchase at what seems like a great time to buy.
We did this for our 2006 BMW X5. We bought it in 2008 when gas was “outrageous at $4/gal and demand disappeared for SUVs and we got a great price. We did this in reverse for our Toyota Venza in Jan 2021 when there was no demand for cars because everyone was working from home. We ended up with a hybrid model because gas was so cheap and there was low demand for hybrids. We ended up with a $1500 dealer discount, plus $1500 cash back from Toyota, and were able to pick our exact vehicle and ship it from Texas at a low transport rate (nobody was shipping anything-pre supply chain news story).
Those two vehicle purchases are great examples of buying off-peak and saving thousands of dollars on each purchase because we planned and lined up our purchasing strategy. My wife was thrilled with her vehicles.
On the other hand, I’ve decided I want something smaller, let’s say hypothetically, a $20 toaster and I research the models (smart) then I spend 90 minutes looking for the best price to save $4 (dumb).
I’ve written about being smart and using your money for things you enjoy. I’ve also written about being dumb and purchasing/fixing something just before selling it—spending the money, but not getting the enjoyment of the item.
This week my wife and I were talking about upgrading her peloton app membership from $14 by buying a peloton bike and subscribing to the All Access membership for $45. The back story is when covid stopped in-person spinning classes my wife switched to her old spin bike at home and used the peloton app (on a 32” TV). Six months into the lockdown mess, in the fall of 2020 while still only in the midst of vaccine development, we bought a nice $700 commercial spin bike. It was MUCH nicer than the old “Rusty” spin bike she had been riding 3-5 times per week.
Through the pandemic, her favorite spin studio closed permanently and she just kept app/TV spinning at home for 2 ½ years. On a trip in October, she was able to use a peloton bike at a hotel using her app account and realized it was a very nice bike. Late last week I said, “let’s just get a used one on Craigslist or FB Marketplace from someone who purchased one during covid and doesn’t ride it.” So, 36 hours later and with a few messages to people, we had a barely used (44 rides) bike in the back of my truck heading home. An hour later it was set up, plugged in, and connected to wifi with a test ride underway.
The next day we upgraded her membership from the $14 app to the $45 all access membership (amazing how easy they make that) and the dizzying amount of ride statistics began generating data. I added a member account for myself and we are now both addicted to the statistics. This may not be a good thing according to our legs.
I was thinking, why did I wait to give my wife the best spinning experience? It wasn’t really about the money the peloton bike would cost or even the membership. I think it was that I assumed she would go back to in-person classes ($96-140/mo +gas +driving time) and not need the home bike much.
There is nothing more important than our health. Moving our bodies and getting our blood pumping are so important to the ability to live a strong, active life. There is no question that we should be investing heavily in this activity.
Used Purchase Timing
Did I mention my theory that buying used items on Craigslist or FB Marketplace is often a great strategy before thanksgiving and toward xmas? I think people are raising money for their holiday purchases so they are motivated to sell.
On the other hand, we did NOT want to buy the bike the last week of, or the beginning of the year when so many have resolutions for fitness. I feel the demand would increase then, as well as the prices.
Identify the things that enable your Great Life and go fit it if you have created a plan for it to make sense.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.