A few weeks ago my wife and I went to the AT&T store to replace one of our phones that broke. As the customer service rep was helping us set up the new iPhone he asked if we would be interested in a new deal Apple was offering: for just $99 we could buy any iPad we wanted with the purchase of our new phone.
Excited, I quickly ran over to my wife to sell her on the deal. How cool would it be to get a brand new iPad for only $99?! Imagine the clarity on the bigger, new screen? Imagine how much faster it’ll be? And for ONLY $99!!!
But as I thought about it more I realized taking this deal right now wouldn’t be a good idea.
We already have two iPads at home and we really only use one of them. We could get a new one, but the one we use isn’t that old.
Also, we didn’t have any room in our budget for it, so buying it would make things tougher for us financially. Our family just got out of debt, so the idea of going over our budget went against all the work we put into getting rid of our debt and how much we enjoy not having any debt.
And we’ve been working hard to embrace minimalism and get rid of all the things we don’t need or want from our home, so adding another thing to our house didn’t feel right either.
In the end we decided not to take the deal.
Reflecting back on this experience I realized that sometimes good deals can distract us from our ideals.
Deals are all around us. People spend a lot time searching for the best deal possible. There’s nothing wrong with looking for and getting a good deal. Our resources are limited so it only make sense to think carefully about how we use them.
But there is only so much we should allow ourselves to do to get something and save money. The most important things in life aren’t things. And when we forget that we miss out on experiencing a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Here is a tip that is helping me when I’m torn between saving money and sticking to my principles:
Never take a deal that doesn’t line up with your ideals.
Our family has worked hard to simplify our home and lives, but we still have a long way to go. Buying another thing, as nice as it is, would only add to the clutter and hurt our budget. Plus, I want my kids to see that their dad walks his talk, even when it’s hard.
There is so much more joy we have right now eliminating debt and simplifying our lives. We spent WAY too much time buying things. They were great for a while, but the euphoria always wore off pretty quickly and we were left with something we had to make payments on that we didn’t care a lot about and that was taking up valuable space in our home.
Now we’re spending more time together and doing things we love because we’re not spending so much time working to buy things and then take care of those things.
It’s hard to pass on a great deal, but when you remember how letting it go will help you live better, you’ll be glad you did.
Just because something is a good deal doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Focus on what matters most, not on who (or what) can give you the most.