I started to name this post "How much is that doggy in the window," but decided that most people wouldn't get the point (that phrase is from a VERY old song - older than me).
One of my favorite Bible verses is Luke 14:28. Roughly it says you should "Count the Cost" before building a house. You need to know the cost of the house before you start, otherwise you'll run out of money partway through. Of course in today's world, you wouldn't run out, you'd just run down to the bank and take out a mortgage or you'd whip out your credit card.
It occurs to me that there are times when you don't count the cost. If you're in an accident, you don't shop around for the cheapest ambulance service, you call 911 and take the first one that gets there. After the bill comes, you figure out how to pay. If you have a heart attack, you don't ask the doctor ahead of time "How much is this going to cost?" or "do I have enough money in the bank?" If your roof is leaking, you may call around for the best price/service, but you will go ahead and get it fixed, regardless how much it costs (or at least you should).
Certainly you should have money saved up to cover these kinds of cost, but that's not the subject of this post (maybe a follow-up). My question is, what situations merit this type behavior? Maybe you need a new high-def TV, but not sure whether or not you can afford it. Ok, that's probably an extreme example, but suppose your car is failing. You need a car to get to work. And because of the kids, it has to be a safe car. Do you count the cost or just go out and buy a 2010 BMW. Those cars are safe and reliable.
So my question to you is, when do you count the cost and when do you just go out and do something? This could apply to items like cars, medical treatments, etc. and it could also apply to government.