What’s Your Number?

I mentioned in my post about Financial Peace University: Week 6 that Dave was talking about what a “significant purchase” is – and said that for the “average” person the cost for a significant purchase is $300.

This obviously varies depending on what your income level is and what your debt load is. A $300 purchase is more significant when you’re only making $20,000/yr vs $80,000/yr. Also, $300 is more significant if you are making $40,000/yr with $10,000 worth of debt vs NO debt on that salary.

You can tell a significant purpose because you actually get a physiological response from buying it. There is a euphoric high associated with it. Also, there is a strong potential for “morning after” regret. There is a heart pounding response at the cash register of buying something SIGNIFICANT.

So I’m curious for personal finance bloggers – what is your number? At what point do you think a purchase is significant?

For me it is MUCH under $300, I’d say that any one item above $50 is significant for me. I didn’t buy a DVD player for the LONGEST time because I wanted one that was less than $50 so I wouldn’t feel guilty about getting one. I honestly have a hard time placing my finger on a purchase I’ve made over $50 that wasn’t rent, car repairs, or health care.

What is your number?

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18 Responses to What’s Your Number?

  1. I have to agree – my number is probably around $50 but before I decided to get my finances in check, that number would have been closer to $100 or even more.

  2. Christy says:

    I would say my number is probably around $100. (My income is $65K and my husband’s is similar.)

  3. I agree, I think significant for us right now is between $50 and $100.

  4. I think hard starting around $50. I get physical reactions sometime after $500. Generally not euphoria though.

  5. ndchic says:

    Hmmm, this one is hard. I would say that my number is around $200 but $100 for my husband. LOL! When we put gas in his truck, it is now $75. That’s so ridiculous. That used to be a huge number for me.

    • SS4BC says:

      Hahaha I love that your number is different for you and your husband. I definitely would say that mine is probably lower for Mr Hive as well. Whenever he spends more than $30 I get a little apprehensive. But he also makes about half what I do, too.

    • Before I read the comments, I was thinking “anything that costs more than a tank of gas.” Funny that a gas number is in yours, too!

  6. For me, that would depend on what category the purchase falls under.

    At this point in my life travel is one of my main priorities – I didn’t bat an eye paying $3000+ for a trip that I had the money set aside for. When I build my camera fund up to around $1,000 it won’t be a big deal to pay for it.

    What gets me though are the things that I don’t plan for. The new spring coat I bought a month ago ($115 after taxes) did count as a ‘big purchase’ in my head, because I hadn’t planned on buying it. Even though I had the money in my clothing fund since I hadn’t anticipated buying that exact coat I had to think about it for a couple of hours before ultimately buying it.

    This logic only makes sense in my head!

    • SS4BC says:

      Actually this makes perfect sense.

      I suppose it is like how spending $500 on my car isn’t a “big deal” – but spending $50 on a DVD player is! It really does depend on what you’re buying.

      For me plane tickets if it is under $250 I don’t mind, but over that and I have HUGE second thoughts!

  7. Niki says:

    I think my number is about $50 too. That seems so low though when I write it out.

  8. I’m a free spender when it comes to travel- flights? Sure! Hotels? Sure! I try to get the best prices I can, but otherwise I don’t feel too guilty about it.

    The rest of my life though, I’m definitely at the $50 mark as well. I question any purchases above that mark as seeming a bit extravagant!

  9. Little Lamb says:

    I think I am also right around the $50.00 mark. Maybe even a little lower but I am going as tight as I can to pay down the debt. That’s pretty interesting.

    I dug out my Dave Ramsey cd’s. It’s been a long time since I listened to them. Wish I had put into practice what I learned the first time. Well I did at first but a significant error in judgment cause me to fall off the wagon and its taken awhile to get back on.

  10. eemusings says:

    I think for me there are different levels of that pain, and also it depends on the kind of purchase.

    I definitely think twice about even a small spend at $20-30 (that would be my lowest pain threshold), and definitely the twinge by $50.

    And yet, though it HURT to pay $300 for our passports, or $750 for my SLR, I barely gave it a second thought and never regretted it, because those were things I had plans for and had been wanting.

  11. Country Girl says:

    I think my number is around $50 – once I’m over that value, I really hum and hah over buying it. It took me weeks to finally ‘allow’ myself to buy my Kindle.

  12. Makky's Mom says:

    The category of the purchase determines when I start to sweat over it.
    Clothing, accessories, make up, perfume, gifts… stuff like that – my price is $20-30. Anything above that and I really need to give it some serious thought and see if it’s truly in the budget.
    Household items like decorations and small upgrades – my price is around $60-75.
    Non-essential things like toys, games, computer stuff – because they are only purchased very very occasionally, I can go higher – maybe $100 before I think too hard about it.
    Get-aways – anything above $150 makes me think twice and make sure I’ve really budgetted it into our financial picture.

  13. TeacHer says:

    Hmmm, I really thought about this and I think it depends on the category of purchase.

    For clothes, my number is somewhere around $50, but I’ll comfortably spend $100 on something I really want.

    For electronics, the number is probably around $100.

    For housewares, I’d say $50.

    For shoes, $100.

    For furniture, $150.

    I guess I keep a lot of numbers in my head and negotiate with myself if I feel that something is too much for its category…does that make sense?

  14. I agree with Big City Beer Budget. It depends on WHAT the purchase is. I would say mine is around $50 for most things. Clothing, jewellery, going out, etc. But travel and electronics can be more. I paid over $1000 for a 2 week vacation and didn’t mind. I also spent about $350 getting scuba certified and didn’t mind at all. However I’ve been wanting this necklace worth $150, and a duvet cover worth $200 and it’s been months and I’m still debating whether it’s worth it.

  15. I think it depends on what it is. But generally speaking… On average, I’d say my limit is $20 for anything (electronics, clothing, make-up, purses, wallets, etc.) What can I say? I’m cheap. ^__^;

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