I have come up with what, to me, is a revolutionary and completely brilliant approach to spending that is so simple it might seem too obvious even to outline but its simplicity is what is so brilliant about it and I am guessing it might be like those yoga positions that some in the class are saying "but how is that possible" about while others, already in position, are asking "where exactly are we supposed to feel the stretch?" so I present my spending theory here for anyone who wants to take it up. What you do is, if there is something you want to buy, or something you want to spend money on, you consider first if you want it which you can work out by asking yourself if you would take it (or do it) if it were free. Then, if you can afford to buy it (or undertake it/subscribe to it, enrol), you do. Simple as that! And yet, it is not how I have ever really approached spending till now. Spending has always been a source of guilt and anxiety, and any attempt to justify the spending in terms of need, or comparative value, or amount of use, or any other justification only adds to the anxiety and guilt about spending because beyond essentials, the difference between need and desire is often, always, ambiguous, and comparative values are so hard to measure across different sorts of items and between items and activities, and the amount of use you will get out of something can be so hard to anticipate, and these kinds of justifications don't answer the ethics of spending discretionary income rather than giving it away. And I can even feel anxiety and guilt about charitable donations as well, as another form of discretionary spending. This is solved most simply by determining a percentage you can afford to give - the higher the better - and setting it up in advance (Peter Singer's The Life You Can Save site even offers recommended percentages for different incomes), just as saving is also best decided on as a set amount to put aside, and you can have a contingency fund if you want, too, but once your contingency fund is topped up, if you have any money left over, then you don't have to think twice, ever again, about spending it, you only have to decide - and it is not really even a decision - if you want something, and it is yours.
These are paragraphs without essays or books to go in.