Beeminder Forum

Beeminding Value

A couple of months back the news from the Beesnest was that that:

We decided on a new family rule that any new equipment aquisitions should be backed by a beeminder goal.

This made loads of sense to me too and I’ve been bearing it in mind ever since. I’ve used it to justify the purchase of a new electric bike. It encouraged me to set a goal for using it that quantified Y in “Buy X in order to do Y” where before Y had been something like “have fun” or “you’ll find it useful”. Thinking through what Y was[1] really helped make the purchasing decision. And now I’m looking at every non-consumable purchase with an eye to what the Y is for that purchase.

Which led me to think about purchasing items for an already existing hobby[2] and how to beemind getting value out of them. I already set budgets on these but it’s not monetary value per se that I’m after, I want to make sure I’m buying stuff for things that I do rather than things that I just think I’d like to do. I realised that this is, more or less, the inverse of the situation above: “Do Y in order to buy X”. The question is how to beemind that.

I don’t necessarily want to beemind “doing more” of an existing hobby, just beemind only spending money on acquiring new things for it if I’m using what I already have. I think the thing to do is to set up a completely flat Beeminder goal that doesn’t require me to do anything, but basically acts as a savings account (units shoud be usage or time based) and workout an exchange rate between usage units and real world currency[3] and withdraw from the savings account when I buy new things. Have I missed anything more obvious? Am I just using the Beeminder hammer to bash at everything when there’s a better tool?

[1] I looked up what I’d paid for my 10 year old non-electric bike and found that it was 1/4 of the cost of the electric bikes I was looking at. I had records of the distances of most of the bike rides in the area around my home I’d taken on that bike. (It’s very hilly which is why I give up on the normal bike after a while and why a pedal assisted electric bike is a better plan. I excluded holidays as I’ve had some fab biking heavy holidays and I really want that enjoyment on an everyday basis near home.) I thought “hey what if I said I’d ride it 4 times as far in 1/4 of the time?” then laughed at myself for doing the 4 times thing twice. But I made myself do the sums and the weekly milage required on the electric bike to meet that target was perfectly reasonable if I kept using the bike regularly rather than used it for a bit and then forgot about it, which really was what I wanted to know. So I have the “use it 16 times as much” goal in use now. And the bike is utterly ace and I love it: fun, useful and quantified.

[2] I’ve written it in general terms but the example I’m currently wrangling is how I keep buying board games even though I already have loads of them. I’m playing less of them at the moment yet still aquiring them. I have justifications such as “support small businesses”, “be optimistic about there being a future where you can see your friends” etc but I wanted something more concrete to justify my purchases to myself.

[3] I’ve got an estimated exchange rate based on 2018, 2019 and 2020 figures for money spent and games played. I’ve spent much less money in 2020 but not enough less for the lower amounts I’ve played. I think I’m going to start my exchange rate off at the average rate across all three years of data I have and see how it goes.

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I sure am the wrong person to ask that question to! :slight_smile:

Anyway, I love everything about this post and can’t wait to hear updates!

And to repeat a thing I’ve been saying a lot lately, I really love beeminding recreation, like reading novels or watching TV shows.