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Re: Telescope financing

Started by laservet, 09/16/2002 10:00AM
Posted 09/16/2002 10:00AM Opening Post
I learned a lot working one summer for a comsumer credit counseling service. Even among those in the most dire financial straits, most had the money to pay their bills but elected instead to make other choices. ("You can afford anything you want, you just can't afford everything you want.")

Two of the helpful disciplines they taught: First, carry a little note pad (piece of paper is cheaper ) with you everywhere you go for one month. Maintain your normal spending habits and record every single penny you spend, including the gumball from the machine. People are usually amazed at what they spend on small stuff, lunch at a restauruant, Big Gulp at 7-11, the drink machine at work, etc. It really adds up -- even people who considered themselves quite frugal could fritter away $100 per month without realizing it. That's potential astro money.

Second, for couples each spouse should maintain their own "splurge" account. It makes following even the most stringent budget much easier and prevents squabbles over spending. A set amount is put into each one's account every week -- it doesn't matter how much, $5, $10, $20, whatever you can afford. The only rule is that each person can spend their splurge money any way they see fit, with no comments or recriminations from the other. It was amusing to see how different individuals handled their own stash. Some spent it immediately each week, one guy saved his for years and bought a car. If one is a saver, it can add up. At $10 per week, you could start now and get on the waiting list for an AP Traveler and by the time it is delivered it would be paid for!

One's perspective also changes with age. Once you reach the point where you start to think in terms of how much observing time you have left in your lifetime, you are more likely to splurge on something nice. Or maybe it's just the midlife crisis thing -- a new scope is cheaper (and safer) than a red convertible and a 22 year old blonde. :-)