On the money

This past week I not only paid my 2006 federal and state taxes, but also paid the first quarterly installment of my self-employment taxes for 2007. I’d known since last winter that this April was coming and had been saving accordingly, so it was okay to write the checks. (Well, as okay as it can be when one’s money is going for this.)

But it got me thinking about how I spend my money, and wondering how it compares to other people. Obviously it’s a personal issue, and it varies considerably depending on one’s age, health, marital status, number of kids, interests, etc.

Other than taxes and giving to your local church—both of which I hope are part of your regular routine—how else do you allocate your funds? What are you willing to spend money on and what aren’t you?

And when I say “spend money on,” I mean where do you a) invest in necessities at a higher price or (presumably) better quality or b) budget for and purchase non-necessities and splurges?

I’ll start. I spend money on antioxidants and endorphins: organic food, yoga classes, and good moisturizers. Ironically I don’t spend money (right now) for health insurance.

I spend money to sponsor a boy named Eko in Indonesia through Compassion International but I don’t buy fund-raising products from kids selling them door to door.

I spend money on plane tickets and travel but not day-to-day transportation; I expect my cars to last at least a few years after they’re paid off and I drove the last one until the engine threatened to fall out the bottom and lay smoking on Highway 5 in San Diego.

I don’t spend money on jewelry (that’s for a nice boy to do someday) or jeans (hello, Goodwill) but I’ve been known to spend money on other things to wear. I spend money on coffee beans and the occasional nice meal out. I don’t spend money on paper towels, cleaning products, or dry cleaning. (Vinegar and water cleans everything, and if I can’t machine wash it I don’t need it. If I could find a way to dryclean things with vinegar, I’d be in heaven.)

I don’t spend money on meat for me (I don’t like it) or high-quality food for my cat (who’s going to throw it up on my carpet later anyway).

I spend money on a carpet cleaner.

I spend money on DVD rentals but not cable. I spend money on haircuts but not shampoo. I love live music, but I never spend money on concerts, and I’m not sure why.

I suspect your buying patterns are the same combination of intentional and completely contradictory. What do you spend money on?