Let “Freement” Reign! Spending Paralysis, Material Lust And Obsession

Freement is great! But what is freemen? For those of you who don't know, I'm a recovering car fanatic

Funny enough, the way I deal with my addiction is to go to the BMW dealer!  I also go to the Audi, Mercedes, Honda, Land Rover and Porsche dealers too, but only the BMW dealer is on my way home and has an easy parking lot to leave Moose unattended.  I wonder if they cut out the free popcorn and diet cokes because of me.  Hmmm.

Over the past 3 years, I must have visited the BMW dealer at least 65 times to the dismay of the sales people.  They must have a code word for my type, “cheap bastard” or “stop wasting my time you poor SOB” maybe, but I don't care.  Nothing thrills me more than sitting in a brand new, over-priced automobile and inhaling that unbeatable new car smell!  After every experience, I deftly try and avoid the salespeople and pick up a new brochure so I can extend the enjoyment at home.

In fact, as a joke I wrapped up the latest Land Rover LR4 brochure for Christmas and gave it to my wife.  I told her she should expect a nice shiny black on black beast when we get back to San Francisco.  She was kinda amused, not really.

If the salespeople insist on going for a test drive, who am I to argue?  But, I make it a point to only waste the time of the most eager of sales people beavers.  The fun of gunning a $80,000 BMW M3 every other month is such a thrill!  Besides, I hear they get a little commission for every test drive anyway.

Feement New Obsession

Ever since I spent $1,450 on an impulse buy at The Apple store this September, and subsequently returned the darn thing weeks later, I've been obsessed.  If we're in the mall, or some general shopping area, I must pay a visit, or 30+ visits since Sept more accurately! 

The Genius Bar is wonderful, and all the shiny toys for us to play with for free is such a joy.  Like “Moose”, my current iBook G4 is old and slow, but that's what makes each visit to that much more exciting!

Did you know that over 80% of the computers sold over $1,000 are from Apple?  It's not a surprise to me because their products and customer service rock.  Too bad they are just too smart for the US consumer. 

The current Macbook Pro is getting dated after the   the latest Macbook edition.  I'm patiently waiting until the latest MBP comes out next year.  Until then, more fun visits!

THE PROBLEM With Freement

It's not like I can't afford a new computer, it's just that I have spending paralysis on things I don't absolutely need.  I also have spending paralysis on myself.  If the gift is for my wife or my parents I'm all for it!  I often tease my wife that she always gets the new stuff, and I get her hand me downs, which I get for her in the first place.  It makes me happy though, and isn't that all that matters?

The question I've been thinking over and over is whether or not my frugality is being taken too far?  Why shouldn't I drive a nicer car that have car seat controls that actually work and brakes that aren't so squishee?  Why not produce prose on a speedier machine with a more eye-friendly monitor?  A $1,000 Macbook Pro just consumes 1% of the “Freedom Fund” but still, I cannot let them swipe my card.

Not Sure Of I Can Change My Freement Ways

The thrill of material things lies in the anticipation of buying, but not actually going through with the purchase.
I'm the type of person who is sometimes more excited a week before the vacation, than during the vacation because every day spent on the vacation is one less day of relaxation!  Buying material goods brings down my utility, because the brief feeling of happiness gets consumed by the permanent loss of money.

Sometimes I must have something, and go ahead and buy the darn thing, but return it before the return policy runs out (“Controlling The Urge To Splurge”).  Some say it's malicious to buy something with no intention of purchase.  Hak-fooey!  Why is there a return policy in the first place?  It's so the consumer can try before they buy or give us consumers a financial self-destruction insurance policy!

I never thought I'd be obsessed with another “freement” (free + enjoyment) store like the BMW dealer.  But, thanks to Apple I guess there is.  A special shout out to Brookstone for all those wonderful chair massages you've given, as well as props to Barnes & Nobles for the magazine experiences.  Let freement reign!

Related: The 1/10th Rule For Car Buying Everyone Should Follow

Readers, what are your material obsessions and how do you deal with your obsessions to prevent financial ruin? Freement reigns!

Why do women go crazy over shoes, clothing, and hand bags, while men tend to splurge on cars and electronics?  Is a $5,000 Hermes handbag more ridiculous than a $50,000 BMW?

Do you have spending paralysis on yourself?  How do you get out of it and return to center?


Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money's Mysteries”

40 thoughts on “Let “Freement” Reign! Spending Paralysis, Material Lust And Obsession”

  1. I was lucky enough to get a company car BMW 3.5 years ago, it was a 525i. I have to admit it wasn’t all that impressive, compared to what I expected it would be.

    My only guilty pleasure was getting it up to 120 MPH as there are very few speed traps here in Thailand. The downside is if you have an accident you have to pay to fix all damages and hospital bills!

    There is absolutely, no point getting a BMW in the US. Because in CA if you go over 100 MPH you risk losing your license for the first offense, and high end German cars are designed to go well in excess of 100 MPH. Unless you are in Thailand, Germany or maybe the middle east, you are wasting your time getting this car.

    Unlesss you are doing it for status. In that case get a BMW shell and put it around a Hyundai! You will be much better off.


  2. 1) Have I wanted this for less than 30 days?
    2) Have I managed to live without this so far?
    3) Would I ever want to upgrade this?
    4) Am I prepared to live with this purchase until it wears out?

    These questions will check all impulse buys and only allow buys that will increase quality of life.
    It may take a while but eventually one will end up with some really nice stuff. It’s a good thing too because proceeding this way is expensive too.

  3. Your reply button was not working for me. And it is Money Funk – I know, similar in names but we are two different people. ;)

    My husband works for parts distribution. We lease the 328i for about $200 a month ($330 but BMW gives you a lease credit) but that includes full coverage insurance and any & all car maintainence. The price is dependant on the model/features you get. it is a nice perk of the company.

    But like all companies they are scaling back and making it difficult to enjoy working there. Trust me, I hear it all the time.
    .-= Money Funk´s last blog ..Lump Sum Payment Planning =-.

    1. @ Money Funk – Did I write your name otherwise? I must apologize, and check.

      Ah yes, great lease rate for BMW employees I’ve heard. That’s 40% off, and exactly what my friend has! Cool.

  4. @admin You are correct. I always think in gross income. Our goal should be to minimize our taxes (legally of course).

    After taxes or AGI our savings would look even more impressive. To me those are just silly number games.

    Maybe you could write an article on the ideal amount of savings. There is such a thing as saving too much. Unfortunately most of our population is the reverse.
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..2010 Is Here! Where’s the Monolith? =-.

    1. @ IJ – Got it. I’ve got a post in the pipe-line regarding the “Savings Cycle Of Man”, where the goal is to smooth out savings AND spending over your lifetime, so as to not spend or save too much. What’s the point once you’re dead?

      Unfortunately, now have around 20+ posts in the pipeline, including yours, so i can’t get to a lot of mine anymore! :)

  5. I visited a couple on New Year’s Eve. I haven’t seen them for a while and wanted to say Happy New Year to them in person. While there, I learned that their daughter had purchased a property and planned to pay it up in eight years. I was surprised that she would be able to do so in such a short time. Susie has just graduated from college and worked for two years!

    My friends, the couple, explained to me that Susie used to shop more, for clothes, but not any more. She takes buses to work. She is living at home, helping her parents with a charity work – Susie does all their computer work. She doesn’t have much other expense and therefore is able to pay her own mortgage. They also explained to me the reason she wanted to pay up her mortgage in eight years. She wants to retire early and have more time to continue her current translation and editing (also volunteer) work at home!

    Susie also has a young sister, still in college. The sister is as bright as Susie, and has also been doing volunteer work at a local hospital. My friends began to search for the meaning of life years ago and seem to have found it . They must have taught their children right as they also seem to know what they want in life. Their home has an air that makes me feel very comfortable each time I visit.

    I don’t mean to say what is good or bad in life. I only want to say, it’s important to have a goal in life so that you can prepare for challenges.

  6. @admin mind you are typically not consumers… last year we saved 30% BEFORE taxes of our total income.

    Sports car eh? How about a Porsche Panamera Turbo? Porsche and 4 doors do not go together.
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..2010 Is Here! Where’s the Monolith? =-.

  7. @admin you may have your wish on Jan 24th. Though I believe you more qualify for the senior citizen discount than a student one ;-)

    Eh I look at computers (since that’s what I do) as a cost advantage. How much more productive or save time with it, than without. My latest MacBook Pro with Solid State HD boots in 10 seconds. My previous one took over one min.
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..2010 Is Here! Where’s the Monolith? =-.

    1. @ IJ – Yeah, hoping Apple will hurry the hell up and come up with a new MBP since they came out with a new MB 3 months ago!

      Panamera is uuuggggly, fuggetaboutit.

      When you say “saved 30% BEFORE taxes” the example would be saving actually $30,000 of a $100,000 salary, instead of $30,000 gross and then whatever is net after taxes right? I think a lot of people use the % they save in different ways, and I get confused.

  8. Investor Junkie

    @Credit Card Chaser Don’t get a Amazon Kindle then. You’ll be doomed! The ability to purchase books through it is almost effortless.
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..2010 Is Here! Where’s the Monolith? =-.

  9. Investor Junkie

    Oh my other weakness is AV equipment. I just bought a 65″ plasma for our entertainment room. Spent weeks look around at stores like Best Buy and online. Framed an outline via masking tape of the TV on the wall so I knew if was big enough or too big.

    I figure with these purchases, there is only so much savings you can do… It’s good to spend it on things you want once in awhile. After all you only live once, and could get hit by a truck tomorrow. What’s the point of saving, if you never spend?
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..2010 Is Here! Where’s the Monolith? =-.

  10. For me personally I HATE shopping and maybe the reason why I don’t spend that much money on things. When I do shop, I research the hell out of it before purchasing (if it’s a big ticket item or something that will affect me daily like my new Droid phone). If it’s not an important item, then I buy will little decision making process.

    I can say I also have the weakness for nice cars. It must be a guy thing. I like cars not to impress, but I really like them. If I were to witness a get-a-way car from a bank robbery, I would be able to detail the car down to how many were made that year.

    Nothing is better than oozing into a BMW seat and driving the interstate like it’s the autobahn.

    Three years ago, we traded in our 2002 BMW 530 Sport for get this…. a mini van! I of course said if we were to get a mini van, then my only choice would be a Honda Odyssey Touring edition. Having children just ruin the fun! I still miss that car. :-(

    We are due to replace our other car this year. I like to get a used Lexus GS, but I may loose battle as wifey wants to get another “big” car since baby #3 is on the way. I’ve even considered buying another 5 series 2003 BMW (don’t get me started on the “flame” design)
    .-= Investor Junkie´s last blog ..2010 Is Here! Where’s the Monolith? =-.

    1. @ IJ – WOW! You went from a 530 Sport to a MINIVAN?!?! I’m impressed! Unless I have 3+ kids, there’s no way in hell I’m getting a mini-van. Even if I did have 3+ kids, I’d get a sweet SUV with a 3rd row seat, like the new Land Rover LR4!

      Come on man, you gotta get a two door sports car to balance out that Minivan!!

      65″ Plasma is huge! I just saw the latest LED HDTV technology. I’m blown away. I may have to get me one of those.

      Kindles can’t replace the feel, small, and beauty of a nicely bound book!

  11. I really don’t have any spending obsessions. That probably just means I need to get a life. LOL

    I just bought the Honeybee a Macbook for Christmas and she is in heaven. :-)

    Apple is an amazing company. I’m listening to my iPod as I type this advertisement for the company.

    That’s our fifth Mac, by the way – I’ll never ever own a PC. It is amazing that Macs don’t have more market share. Then again, the small market share for Macs has other intangible benefits…


    Len Penzo dot Com
    .-= Len Penzo´s last blog ..The Best of the Best in Money and Personal Finance #10 =-.

    1. @ Len – No spending obsessions huh? I’m jealous! But, I also really love entertaining my obsessions. The more we enjoy, the more fun we have perhaps?

      I’m waiting for the the new Macbook Pro since the current one has been around for so long. Gonna use my student ID to save 10%! lol

  12. About spending paralysis, I remember reading in a self-help blog that one of the author’s resolutions is to be able to “spend out”. She said that too many times she would buy something new, and months later it would still be in the original wrapper. All that time she would continue using the old item that she had meant to replace in the first place.

    I wonder how many of us suffer from the same paralysis ;-)

    Love your blog, glad I found it :-)

    1. @ John – Spending out, I have that problem too. I’m thinking she is referring to her lack of spending out of shoes and bags probably! I understand buying new shoes and NOT wearing them at all b/c of the fear. I have found 1 yr old brand new shoes under my bed before!

      Glad you found my site. Hope to see you around more! Best, Sam

  13. Mine condition is more similar to spending bulemia. I buy nothing for 6 or 8 months. I finally break down and buy the stuff I need..but go overboard and buy other stuff too. I usually end up returning or regretting some of the purchases. This almost always happens at Christmas time when I am out at stores out of necessity. It’s kind of like the bag of chips or the box of cookies in the cupboard. If I don’t see it, I can usually avoid it.

    I am not wired in such a way that I enjoy window shopping..or shopping in general. Of all the steps associated with buying stuff, my favorite activity is planning and organizing purchases (vacations, comparing features, online price comparing, etc)

  14. Spending paralysis…. Love it! Embrace the frugality within you! When you are sitting back with millions in the bank, then you’ll not only go to the Beemer store but drive off with a new one you’ve paid cash for and enjoy it even more!

    My obsessions change from time to time, but there has always been and always will be need for more tools! I have finally controlled it by only spending what I can earn through selling pieces I create.
    .-= LeanLifeCoach´s last blog ..In Debt – Find Help Free =-.

  15. Don@MoneyReasons

    My car dealer kryptonite is Lexus. I use to go with a buddy of mine, to check their cars (and Toyotas too) but the trip is to far out of my way. Now, when my neighbor’s dad visits him in one, I just think… “That would be nice to own” for a fleeting second… and then continue mowing my lawn or shovelling my driveway…

    I’m sure my neighbor is envious of my 2003 Malibu. lol :D
    .-= Don@MoneyReasons´s last blog ..My 401k Is Still Under Water So I’m Using Dollar Cost Averaging To Bring It Back Up =-.

  16. @ Joel – At least when you go to B&N you’re just looking and reading right? If you want to get a lot of free books, I can introduce you to several publicists who’ve contacted me about free books. They’ve sent about 8 already, which is a little overwhelming, so I have to slow it down. Two book reviews coming up this month.

    @ Charlie – Will have to check Pandora. Wonder if you can record the music from them… doubt it without a fee. I never understand buying DVD’s, unless they are the all time classics like Good Fellas, The Matrix, LOTR etc. Renting them via BB or Netflix is so much more economical!

    @ RainyDaySaver – Oh wow, that still sounds like a great job! I am putting it on my list of new jobs to do when I retire! What are the requirements to do what you were doing? Was the pay OK? I’m happy to just make 30-40K in retirement if I can test drive cars and write reviews!!!

    In fact, I may have to introduce a car review page, and contact all my favorite dealers! Genius!

    @ John, yes, I suppose I am lucky to have spending paralysis on practically everything for me, but it’s not very balanced, or healthy. I don’t want to look back and say “aw schucks, why didn’t i enjoy my money more?”

  17. I wish it were something as flashy as working for Motortrend or Car & Driver, but alas, it was a little daily newspaper in Northern NJ. I was in charge of the real estate and automotive sections. About 6 months after I took over the position, the PR company in charge of allowing journalists to test-drive vehicles called looking for the old editor. When I told him I was the new editor, he replied, “Oh, so you’re doing the car reviews now?” The first words out of my mouth were “Yes — yes I am.” Luckily, I already knew how to drive stick ;) I published the reviews on Sundays in my Auto section.
    .-= RainyDaySaver´s last blog ..Looking Toward the Future =-.

  18. I shop a lot better now than I used to. I learned to stop buying things if I wasn’t 100% happy about them – cuz all the 80-99% happy stuff would always just end up in the goodwill bin a year later. I’m a bargain shopper and get the most thrill out of getting nice things for cheap so when I’m close to my budget for the month I have to stay away from the stores, esp. the sales racks!

    I also love music and love to have the latest hits on my ipod, but have been happy listening to Pandora instead of buying songs through itunes lately. (if only my employer didn’t block the site at work!!)

    I also used to go nuts buying dvds but ever since I started using a tivo that’s cut back my spending addiction and I like rewatching the dvds I already have. 2009 definitely helped me really think about something before going to the register.

  19. JOhn DeFlumeri Jr

    Having a spending paralysus on things you don’t need is a lucky “ailment”. I wish my wife would catch that one!

    John DeFlumeri Jr
    .-= JOhn DeFlumeri Jr´s last blog ..Podcast "President Obama, Anthrax, Biological Attacks" =-.

  20. Credit Card Chaser

    My biggest weakness is definitely books. My wife also complains if I mention I want to go to Borders or Barnes and Noble “just for a few minutes” because she knows that those few minutes can easily turn into a few hours. :)
    .-= Credit Card Chaser´s last blog ..Credit Card Case Study: Finding the Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Card =-.

  21. @ Neal – I’m just 500 miles north of you in sunny San Francisco! Just remember that the salespeople get a COMMISSION every time they take a customer out for a test drive! Then you’ll want to test drive everything!

    I’m impressed you have no material obsessions. You have reached partial nirvana!

  22. @ RainDaySaver – Your lack of interest in bags and shoes must make your significant other quite happy! :)

    Can you please share with me/us what job it was that allowed you to test drive a new car every 7 days and write a report? Was it being a car critic for Motortrend magazine or something? I think that would seriously be one of my dream jobs!

  23. @ Money Funk – I’m jealous your husband works at the BMW dealer!! I heard employees get great lease deals i.e. 40% off/month! Is that true?

    The thing is, once you have the money in your pocket book, do you think you will then start to spend freely, or become MORE paralyzed since you never had that much money in the first place?

  24. neal@wealthpilgrim


    Not sure if I have a financial obsession. I love music and drums. I have two sets and play them both. I don’t waste much time shopping because I have so little.

    I think my biggest obsession is my blog.

    Hey….where do u live…maybe you could take me w/you next time you take the ol’ BMW for a spin. I don’t think I have your moxy.

  25. I had a job where I got to test-drive new cars (new make/model every seven days, delivered to my workplace with a full tank of gas) and write reviews of them for our daily newspaper. After three years of it, I came to the conclusion that a car is just a way for me to get from point A to point B. Sure, some are base models and some have all the bells and whistles, but I don’t mind what I drive — as long as there’s A/C, a CD player, and power locks/windows.

    I always have spending paralysis, though. I only enjoy putting out money for items that will last years. Sure, I have an iPod, but it’s already 3 years old. And I plan to use it for another 3 years. I don’t have $5k purses or $500 shoes, because I don’t enjoy spending money on brand names. I’d rather have my black leather bag that will be in style for another 10 years. Big purchases, rare as they are, always give me a mini heart attack when I see teh money sucked out of my savings account!
    .-= RainyDaySaver´s last blog ..Looking Toward the Future =-.

  26. @ David, you may have a point. I just failed today though, as the new windshield wiper I bought from the auto parts store don’t fit! What a pain. The parts department store for my car is only open M-F until 5pm. Ummm, don’t they know people generally have to work until 5pm?!

    The most I do with Moose is to try and keep him clean, with working parts! :)

  27. David @ MBA briefs

    Glad to hear I’m not the only who seems to get as much or more enjoyment out of shopping for something as buying. Problem is I usually suffer from a bad case of buyer’s remorse unless I get some kind of awesome deal.

    My current material obsession is modifying my vehicles. I’d rather have a nice used vehicle and customize it to my liking. I waste time looking at dual exhaust kits, Halo LED headlights, performance kits, etc. for my Durango and Cirrus. I’ll treat myself to something about once every six months if I think its going to actually be useful. My headlights are kind of crappy and one was previously patched up, and the Halo replacement headlights are only about $40 more than the OEM ones so that will probably be my next purchase.

    Maybe you should be tricking out Moose to be more like a BMW. Get yourself some high performance brakes, repair or upgrade your seats, add some high tech electronics, or whatever else will make your ride better. I’d rather have a “sleeper” anyway, less likely to be stolen.
    .-= David @ MBA briefs´s last blog ..Forget about New Year’s resolutions for 2010 =-.

  28. @ Her Every Cent Counts – Hey there fellow spender, good to hear from you! What about just enjoying the mall, giving in to the temptation, and just returning it though? Is it too hard to return it? You mention the rush which you can achieve, and then the fade once you get home, so wouldn’t it be easy to return it?

    Regarding handbags, what about buying fake handbags? Since there are no moving parts, and its much easier to replicate, wouldn’t the value of having a fake one be much greater than spending on a ridiculously priced new one? Hard to fake a BMW! :)

  29. I like a lot of the ideas you have here, though I personally have anxiety over shopping when I don’t intend to buy. Still, I get the whole going to the Apple store to play with goodies concept. I’ve decided this year to avoid the mall because I’m one of those people who is addicted to the rush of spending money and buying something new, but who doesn’t really care once that something new gets home (or used after a few times.)

    I don’t think buying a $50k BMW is better than buying a $5k Hermes hand bag because I think both are ridiculous. Granted, a BMW will last a lot longer than a hand bag, but both are poor uses of money. There are plenty cars that drive just fine for less than that, and if you’re going to spend a lot on a car get a hybrid.

    I’ve never spend anywhere near $5k on a bag or anything else. The closest I’ve gotten was spending $450 on my current jacket after a $150 discount. That felt like a huge rush and I love that jacket. But I couldn’t go to the mall and resist temptation.

  30. I’m the type of person who is sometimes more excited a week before the vacation, than during the vacation because every day spent on the vacation is one less day of relaxation!

    This is me. My favorite day of vacation is the day before it begins.

    I would never test drive a computer before I was ready to buy. That would be like buying brownies while on a diet. I am not strong in the self-discipline department. So why test myself?

    .-= Rob Bennett´s last blog ..“Fixed Income Should Equal Age, BUT Adjusted Up or Down Depending on Valuations” =-.

    1. Rob – I have to admit part of the thrill of going to the Apple Store, and BMW is to actually STARE TEMPTATION IN THE FACE and walk away. It excites me to know end that I walk away from these stores and spend nothing, and gain so much pleasure. Maybe I’m weird.

      My wife always shakes her head when I ask if she’d like to experience some “freement” at her favorite stores. She says she’s too tempted.

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