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The $1,000 Shopping Binge


This is the story of a shopping binge. In four hours I spent more than I ever have on a month's rent.

Let's start at the beginning.

It's 8am on a Saturday. I'm awake but still in bed, and I reach over and pick up my phone. I try to google something but there's no internet connection. I’ve been near my data limit so I disabled cell access for my phone's web browser. Not a problem at home normally, but my wifi router needs a reboot. Again.

Damn wireless.

I dash stark naked across the apartment, reboot the router, and on the way back to bed I grab my laptop.

Wifi back up, I head to Amazon and order wires and a switch. And a new router also. I’ve already planned to wire in most of my network'ed devices and use the wireless for a laptop or phone here and there. So I know exactly what to buy.

There’s a board game already in my Amazon shopping cart. It’s one I’ve wanted (Codenames) but was waiting to order something else for free shipping, so I buy that also.


But okay, good, I don’t mind these expenses. I work on the internet and work from home a lot more now so it’s worth the cost to improve my infrastructure. What I can’t afford is to lose productivity.

So that’s sorted. Network will be better in 5-7 days.

Back to where I started -- checking opening hours for the shopping malls. I need a suit for an upcoming wedding.

I figure out where I’m going, drive downtown and pay to park for 2hrs.


I go looking for a suit. I luck into it -- the first one I try is exactly what I want. I'm at H&M because I know their jackets fit me well and wanted to check the cheaper option first. I almost never wear a suit so I decide not to look for more expensive options. The one I find is a classic design and needs minimal adjusting. I have shoes and shirts and ties so all I need is the jacket and pants.


Hey, they have some thin cotton black gloves by the cash. I could use those.


I can’t wear a suit off-the-rack though and, while I may have a sewing machine to do my own basic alterations, a suit is a little above my skill level. So I take it to my tailor. He’s coincidentally just a block away.

There, I put on the suit and come of out the dressing room, “Woah, a new man!” he says.

He measures it and tries to up-sell me on making the suit even slimmer than it is already, which I politely decline because I don’t want it to be any slimmer. A slight curve-in under on each side is all I want and it already has that. Any tighter and I won’t be able to dance. He argues a little because he wants to make everyone as uncomfortable as a GQ model, but I insist. Just the sleeves and pant legs please.


(This price doesn’t actually bother me: a $200 suit with $100 in tailoring will look many times better than a $2,000 suit that doesn't quite fit.)

I leave the tailor and magically I’ve still got some time on the parking meter so I go shopping a little bit.

I see some exercise / gym / yoga / pizza & netflix pants that I already have, but now they have a new colour and they're on sale. The ones I have are still good but I could use another pair. Sure.


Meter almost expired, I drive out of downtown to get a few groceries. I only wanted to get a mini pumpkin but I look around to see what’s on sale. Meat! Black beans! Club soda! Halloween candy!

Those are my staples and they’re all so cheap. I stock up and grab a Belgian loaf to complete my cart.


On the way home, I’m thinking about this wedding now. I’ll have my new phone but my Apple Watch won’t work with an Android so I won’t have a watch to wear.


I mean, I don’t need a watch, but it really completes an outfit and I love wearing them. I could get a normal one, but I would like to try an Android Wear one now that I’m switching over to an Android phone.

I find a one that I like online. It costs way less than my Apple Watch did.


I see my order confirmation email and then it kinda hits me.

It’s only 1pm at this point and I’ve already spent close to $1,000.

Seeing that makes me want to cry a little bit. But here’s the thing about being frugal: sometimes you hold the spending back as long as you can, but that dam eventually breaks.

I could have gotten a new suit for events past, but I made-do with the blazer and pants I already had. I could have gotten a new router a year ago but I kept delaying it. I didn’t buy the game I wanted because I didn’t want to pay for shipping when I knew it would ship free if I waited. Stocking up on cheaper food now and stashing it will save me money and time in the long run. I’ll sell my Apple Watch which will cover some/all/more of the cost of the new watch.

If I was to point out a mistake, it’s the exercise pants. I bought them ‘cause they were on sale and I only saw that because I had time on the meter that I didn't want to waste. The meter time was a sunk cost though. And I didn’t need new exercise Netflix pants. I didn’t go looking for them. I should only have spent close to $960 that morning.

All that said, I’m not sure that I have a point here. Maybe being good with money is about knowing when it’s okay to spend like this. Maybe it’s about self-sacrifice so when you do finally get a release it’s amazing (#nofap).

Maybe it’s having enough confidence in your budget and your retirement savings plans that you know when a $1,000 day is totally fine.

Or maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’ll have a more stable network connection and a new watch and a new suit and lots of beans in my cupboard but nothing important will have changed. I’ll just be a little bit more comfortable than before.

In that respect, I am damn lucky that I can spend time and money on optimizing comfort. So here's my point: it's good to keep that in mind so we don't depend on the shopping or the binging or the watches we don't need.