Guilty or Not Guilty?  Starring Judge Shari!

Today’s episode – The Case of the Killer Bike

The purchaser:  Stephen Reiches

The item:  All Carbon Gravel Bike

The question:  Should Stephen feel…  Guilty or Not Guilty?   Let’s enter the courtroom.

Bailiff:  All rise for Judge Shari.

Judge Shari:  You may be seated.  Mr. Reiches, today we are here to decide whether your recent purchase of a bicycle should cause remorse or satisfaction.  May I see the evidence?

Stephen:  Really, Shari?

Judge Shari:  You will refer to me as Judge Shari.

Stephen:  Yes Ma’am. (Shows picture of bike.)  100% carbon, disc brakes and Di2 shifters.

Judge Shari:  Gotta have those shifters.

Stephen:  I know!

Judge Shari:  I was being sarcastic.  Now, aren’t you forgetting something?  The receipt?

Stephen:  Here, your honor.  (Hands receipt to bailiff.)  It was a steal at $2,500.  It normally sells for -

Judge Shari:  Enough. I get it.  Now, how did you decide that it was ok to buy a new bike?

Stephen:  Well, for starters my cycling buddies told me there is a formula for optimal number of bikes to own.

Judge Shari:  Huh? A formula?

Stephen:  They said that the optimal number of bikes is x + 1, where x = my current number of bikes.

Judge Shari:  Really…? 

I am so close to declaring a guilty verdict, but I am going to give you one last chance, because, it is… a killer bike.  There are three things to consider when making purchases like this.

First, do you set a budget for spending?

Stephen:  Yes I do.  At the beginning of each year, I start by calculating our income, after taxes and after maximizing retirement accounts.  I take this amount and set up a budget, including discretionary items.

Judge ShariBudgeting!  That’s Step 1.  So far so good.  How do you know you are following your budget?

Stephen:  Well, it’s a little bit of work, but I download all of monthly spending into a spreadsheet, and make sure everything gets put in the right categories.  I can quickly see if we are over or under budget either monthly or on an annual basis.  And so far, we are right on track.

Judge Shari:  Tracking!  Excellent.  That’s Step 2.  But there’s one more consideration when we look at spending.   Step 3 is…

Stephen:  My Core Values!  I’m a big fan of your blog, Judge Shari, and just read about Core Values in “Your Life’s Grocery List”.  Excellent writing, by the way. 

Judge Shari:  I agree.

Stephen: I do try to align my spending with my values.  Family, Health and Fitness, and Adventure are high on my list.  Riding helps me achieve my fitness goals.  Plus it gives my lovely wife some alone time in the morning to achieve her Core Value of Inner Harmony.  Win, Win! 

Judge Shari:  Spare me.  I do have a verdict in the Case of the Killer Bike.  My decision as to whether you should feel Guilty or Not Guilty is…

Tune in next week for Judge Shari’s verdict.  How do you think she will rule?