That's Not as Cheap as it Looks (Beware of Tangential Purchases)


Adding Machine

For those of you that have read The Wallet for a while, you’re probably well aware of the fact that Julie and I don’t own a TV. Neither of us owned one when we were single, and when we married, we just decided not to purchase one (we were busy…and needed a car).

About four months into our marriage, somebody felt bad for us and actually left an old TV, VCR, and even some VHS movies on our doorstep as a surprise. After I burned an entire Saturday afternoon watching The Abyss (with all of the commercial breaks, as this was before Tivo), we knew we had to be rid of the TV. Julie ended up selling it to someone we worked with and we went out for Chinese food.

(We would have refused the TV and returned it to whomever had been so generous, but to this day they remain anonymous!)

At any rate, since we didn’t purchase season tickets to the BYU football games this year (remember, we’re tightening the belt until launch), I’m having a very strong desire to finally purchase a TV — just for football season!

Sports are the only thing that keep people from ditching cable completely, I know that.

But do you know what’s kind of squelched my desire? Tangential purchases. Sure, a TV isn’t that expensive, but then we need the monthly cable cost…and I know I don’t want to watch commercials, so I’d need a DVR or Tivo…and then we’d need a piece of furniture on which to place the TV…and since BYU doesn’t show on ESPN every week, I’d need to make sure our cable package showed The Mountain (what, you’ve never heard of that channel?)…

At the beginning of the summer I purchased a very, very sweet Weber gas grill. It is a phenomenal grill. I love it. But I’ve needed to be very careful about the other purchases that creep in as a result of the grill purchase (a manly apron, some grilling books, a grilling tool set perhaps…a grill cover, etc.).

Most every purchase of significance comes with tangential purchases attached. The BMW? Premium gasoline. The golf clubs? Don’t even get me started there (it ends with a golf simulator in your basement).

I remember when I heard that the Junior/Senior prom tickets were $35 a pop. I was floored. Little did I know that the $70 for tickets was just a drop in the bucket: dinner, car, corsage, tux, pictures…

Porter’s now playing flag football. Guess who needed to bring corn-filled treats to the game last Saturday ($15 later)? That’s a tangential purchase.

I suppose the bigger the purchase, the greater danger you have with these tangential purchases. Think about your house for a moment…

I think I made my point 🙂