1. You spend your money on yourself. You're motivated to get the thing you want most at the best price. This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.Ok, that last paragraph was that guy's commentary. You could enter your own gripes about government into that paragraph.
2. You spend your money on other people. You still want a bargain, but you're less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse. This is why children get underwear at Christmas.
3. You spend other people's money on yourself. You get what you want but price no longer matters. The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.
4. You spend other people's money on other people. And in this case, who cares?
Most government spending falls into category four. Which is why the government keeps buying us Hoover Dams, B-1 bombers, raids on Waco cults, and 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Acts.
I think the "four ways" idea was first put forth by Milton and Rose Friedman.