As I told Mrs Traineeinvestor before we got married, all men have vices. The question is not whether a man has vices, but which vices he has. In my case, it's a reasonably long list with being a little bit too fond of good wine close to the top. This week my passion for wine wrecked havoc with my simplistic (and rather pathetic) approach to budgeting.
About five years ago, I decided that the easiest approach to budgeting for "completely unnecessary luxuries" was to allow myself a vice budget of a fixed amount each year - and no more. For the last four years I have been sufficiently disciplined to spend less than the budgeted amount. This year I let things get out of control. With the 2005 en primeur season now underway, I purchased a couple of cases of ridiculously over priced claret. This is consistent with my practice for the last few years. So far so good. I then noticed that the prices of the 2004 wines were starting to edge up, but that not all merchants had increased their prices. So, you guessed it, I went and ordered a couple of cases of 2004 which broke this year's budget. Add in the art purchased on our holiday last month and I have spent about twice the allocated vice budget for 2006 already.
I could claim that the wine is an investment (it does have some prospects of appreciating in value) but this is a bit hard to reconcile with the intention of drinking at least some of it when it matures.
Back to budgeting school and an austerity regime for me.