Is It Okay To Splurge?

There is a common misconception that that being frugal means being cheap. This is not necessarily the case. Per Merriam-Webster, frugal is “characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources.” In other words, frugality is using your money efficiently or, simply put, making smart decisions with your money. I am here to tell you that being smart with your money does not mean you can never spend your money or splurge. It just requires you to put some thought into things before making purchases. For example, shopping around for the best price on an item (see 10 Apps To Save You Money) or getting multiple estimates for house renovations and choosing the one who is cheapest (but only if you are not sacrificing on quality).

Aside from using your finances efficiently, you can still live a normal life. You don’t want to be such a tyrant when it comes to spending money that people stop inviting you to hang out or that you no longer even allow yourself to have fun. Actually, that’s the whole reason it pays to be smart with your money, so that you have the money to spend on things you want to. Of course that doesn’t mean you should buy every single thing you want because that would put you back to square one, having no money. But I do encourage some splurging, or indulging. Think about money splurges the same way you have cheat days when you’re on a diet. A majority of the time you eat ONLY healthy foods and occasionally allow yourself a treat in order to avoid binging on the bad stuff.

I’ve got a couple indulgences that I allow myself. My favorites are: food, travel and clothes. Yes, I’m your stereotypical girl who loves shopping! The difference is that I’ve built a “clothing allowance” into my budget, so that I give myself a set amount to spend each month. A majority of the time, I spend under that amount (go me!), but I occasionally do spend the full amount and sometimes even go over, but it all balances out in the end. I also have a restaurant budget each month (separate from groceries) because my husband and I enjoy going out to eat and try new places.

Travel, on the other hand, isn’t necessarily a monthly expense, as in we don’t travel every month; however, we have an allotted amount that we put in an online savings account each month to help us save for travel. For example, we are planning to take a trip to Hawaii next year (as mentioned in my short-term goals post). In order to do that, we have been saving since our wedding last year. We treat this savings amount like a fixed cost in our budget like any other monthly bill we have, such as our mortgage. In order to determine how much to save, we estimated quotes for airfare and the hotel we want to stay at and divided that total amount by the number of months from then until the trip. See below for an example of how we calculated the amount to save each month:

Estimated Hawaii Trip Cost:    $7,000
Date of Estimate:   August 2016
Date of Trip:   May 2018
Number of Months to Save:  22 months
Amount to Save Each Month:   $8,000 / 22 = $318.18 ~ $320 per month

The point of all this is that you shouldn’t feel bad about splurging on yourself, as long as you’re smart about it. Plan things out as much as possible by budgeting for expenses and saving as far ahead as you can. Make sure that when you’re splurging on yourself, you’re not building up debt to do so. If we bring back the diet comparison from above, you don’t start eating desserts on day one of your diet before you’ve even made any progress. You get a cheat meal or cheat day as a reward for your hard work and dedication. The same should be true for your finances. You shouldn’t be focusing on treating yourself before you even have a savings account built up or before you contribute to your retirement account.

To prove that splurging is okay, I thought it would be interesting to find out what some of the other personal finance bloggers splurge on. I’ve gathered up the answers for you below.

Michelle of “Anything outdoors related – bikes, gear, RV stuff, etc.”
Alyssa of “Definitely Starbucks! And I’ll always splurge when it comes to music (whether it be Spotify or Apple).”
Bobby of “Gas for our boat”
Kevin of “Yes, food and cars”
Stefanie of “Travel, eating out & my biz”
J. Money of “I buy coffee every single morning, and old coins here and there for my collection”
Sam of “Splurges are usually house related. For example, splurged on two $500 HansBrohe kitchen faucets to replace perfectly fine ones. Why not.”
David of “Gas + tolls to visit my fiancée, and gifts for my family.”

As you can see, just because these bloggers are great with money, doesn’t mean they can’t spend a little extra on things that make them happy! They have all established themselves financially, first, and now have the freedom to splurge on the things that they want to. It’s all about balance and after some hard work and dedication, don’t we all deserve some sort of reward? 🙂

What are some things you like to splurge on? Do you plan out your splurges and, if so, how?

16 thoughts on “Is It Okay To Splurge?

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  1. Thanks for including me in your post! I was wondering what you were going to do with all of those responses.

    I like your views on frugality. There are definitely people who try to live on less and that is perfectly fine. In the end, live life how you want to, just make sure you have a plan to pay for it.

    1. Thank you! I love that way you worded that last part! The having a plan part is where people find themselves in trouble because people tend to be impulsive.

  2. I definitely like to spend money on quality food and travel. Although we haven’t been traveling as much do to the babies recently. But I’m definitely saving up when they are old enough so we can all travel 🙂

    1. Quality food and travel are the way to my heart! Haha

      I hear ya! We’re trying to get as much travel in as we can before growing our family, but definitely plan to take the years of less traveling to save up for when we CAN travel with the kids then too!

  3. I splurge pretty selectively. On a day to day basis, I save money on regular expenses. I avoid going to bars, eating out, going to the movie theaters, etc. But everything that I save goes into a ton of vacations every year.

  4. I like your view on splurging as people only look at it in a negative light instead of seeing the whole concept of efficient splurging. You said it perfectly when comparing to cheat days.

  5. Nothing wrong with splurging on whatever makes us happy. I like coffee drinks so every now and then I’ll get a frap from Starbucks. Apart from how expensive it is, I wouldn’t get it on a regular basis because of the high calories and I don’t think I’d enjoy the experience as much. That’s a small example, but for something big like your upcoming trip the anticipation of the trip is exciting as well and makes your more disciplined about saving for it!

    1. I agree! As long as you’re not putting yourself in debt to splurge, I think everyone needs a little bit of “free money” to keep them sane!

      Good point about the caloric impact on those Frapps. If it wasn’t for calories, I’d definitely drink them more too! lol

  6. For me, having clothes that reflect my personality have always been a must. Even when I was making $11 I found a way to buy $300 shoes. With that said, I think ALL purchases should be considered and align with one’s values. You wouldn’t believe the amount of research I do before buying anything.

    Also, I hope you can get that Hawaii trip via travel hacking. Then you could cut that out-of-pocket money in half and save it for the NEXT trip!

    1. I am right there with you about the clothes! As I mentioned, clothes are one of my splurge categories. My outfits are a part of my happiness. I am also a huge proponent of researching before buying, especially when you’re going to spend a little extra on something. No matter how cheap or expensive, though, I want to know that the thing I am buying is worth the money, whatever that price is.

      Yes! I definitely think that the hacking will help! We’ve been saving aggressively for Hawaii figuring that it’s better to have more than we need saved than to have too little. The Chase Sapphire Reserve has been a MAJOR help in accumulating points, so honestly our points alone will probably cut the costs in half!

  7. Moderated splurging is part of an effective financial plan. Similar to dieting, one must allow themselves to cheat now and then, so as to stay on track.

    It’s no fun being “good” all the time.

    Awesome on the trip to Hawaii. We went for our 20th, 17 years ago, and had a blast. Travel is also something we love to do, but we do most of it around Texas. We have a short motorcycle trip, to the Texas Hill Country, planned for next week. 🙂

    Totally agree with you on food. We love trying out “hole in the wall” places. Our coffee is something else that we spend a bit more on. We found a Texas roaster and buy nothing but their blends now.

    I’m enjoying a mug of Tree Frog Coffee’s as I type.

    1. That motorcycle trip sounds nice! We never go far on our motorcycle, just small rides within neighboring towns usually.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Hawaii! It’s been on our bucket list for a while and we figure now is a good time to go.

  8. Agreed! You only live once so you should do what you love. I think buying high quality bedding and towels but getting good deals is important because it will last longer so you do save money in the long run. I also value traveling. I want to see the world and don’t want to wait until I’m retired. So my husband and I are super frugal but we save for trips. We have done research so we get great travel deals. Is important to have a balanced lifestyle and to do the things you want! You are only guaranteed today, doesn’t mean you should spend impulsively but you need to enjoy life too!

    1. So true, Casey! That’s pretty much our outlook, too! We focus on spending on the things we feel are truly important and bring us a lot of joy and cut back on other things. We could have gotten a bigger house and had a higher mortgage payment, but we felt that we’d rather have that money to spend enjoying experiences!

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