What’s Your Spending Limit?

Do you have mental spending limits for the things you typically buy? I do. Back when my then-husband and I were newly married, I used to save all week so that I could splurge on something I really enjoyed.

My splurge?

Getting a chicken sandwich at Dairy Queen. I never got a drink or fries to go with it, and only occasionally had enough to add a sundae too, so my total was usually something like $2.12 for the meal. Even today, I hardly ever spend more than $5 when getting fast food for myself.

That’s my limit in that area, because anything more than that seems horrifically expensive. Even though I recently paid $155 for a custom-made pair of jeans. (Ouch, but oh how nice it is to have pants that fit correctly for a change.)

I know that my giant gap in spending limits is illogical, but how we feel about money is rarely logical. Maybe it makes sense in an absurd kind of way.

The point is, we all have limits that we don’t like to go beyond when it comes to buying things. There are stages too, ranging from “I wouldn’t give it a second thought” to “you’re crazy if you think I’m spending that much!”. Taken together though, they make up the way we spend our money.

So what are your spending limits when it comes to common items like cars, mortgage/rent, jeans, and quick lunches out? Are they as based on your financial history as mine are, or do they reflect more of your current situation?


  • Sounds pretty similar to my thinking on spending :)

  • I don’t think I have artificial limits regarding clothes, since I keep everything forever. I would not spend more $20 for a T shirt, but I have spent $400 for shoes. My cars are old (16 & 14), but I am reluctant to even think about replacing them. I don’t want payments and the cars are perfectly good. I think this is a question of your value system. I saw value in spending $400 on a pair of shoes because I will keep them 20-30 years.

    • Hm, maybe it’s more a question of what the item is worth to you? (Meaning how difficult it is for you to find what you’re looking for or to get something that lasts?) T-shirts are everywhere, after all, but a good pair of shoes is much harder to find.

  • I don’t have mental spending limits. However, when I do my research I figure a base line price and if another vendor offers the same product for cheaper I usually stop researching and just go with them.

    • I should do more research when buying things. I tend to only do so on really big purchases or on things I can check super-fast — like for something on Amazon.

  • I think the way you do. I purchased one fast food meal last month…but I had to use my $1 off coupon. Who wants to take money out of the “jeans’ fund? I don’t!