Have you been wondering when is it OK to splurge? I know you’ve been tempted to treat yo’ self. Because I have. We all have. We face all kinds of financial temptations and decisions every day. Want to know a secret? Denying yourself of any kind of financial splurges and pleasures does not equal a healthy financial life. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to splurge on things that you are going to regret. And I certainly don’t want you to splurge all the time. That also does not equal a happy healthy financial life. Rather, there should be a delicate balance between splurging and meeting other financial goals. So when is it OK to splurge? Let’s dive right in.
WHEN IS IT OK TO SPLURGE?
High quality items that will last years.
Quality items that will last for years are OK to splurge on. I once bought a pair of trendy pants for $7. They didn’t fit great, but they were in style and only $7! I felt like I HAD to get them because they were so cheap. Guess how many times I wore them? None. None times! Because they were low quality and didn’t fit well. After about a year, I ended up donating them with the tags still on. Now, contrast that to a high quality jacket that I bought for about $80. I bought it almost a decade ago and it is still one of my favorite pieces in my closet that I wear constantly in the winter. It’s held up well and is still really cute and classic. THAT’s the kind of piece that is OK to splurge on– items that will bring you joy/function for years.
Another area where I am A-OK with a splurge is when you encounter a once in a lifetime or a rare experience. This might be something like traveling abroad with family members or friends, a concert or play that doesn’t often come to town, meeting one of your heroes, or a weekend retreat somewhere. If it’s something you’ll regret not doing, then it’s something you should splurge on. The best way to know if it’s really worth it to you is if you are willing to work for it. Are you willing to work some extra hours to afford it? (or sell things online or do whatever it takes to afford it). If so, it’s worth the splurge! If not, it’s OK to let that rare experience pass you by. We have to be careful with justifying “rare” experiences because it’s easy to turn almost anything into a “rare” experience. Seek ways to off set the cost of whatever rare experience has presented itself. For example, perhaps you have an opportunity to travel abroad with a family member for an extended period of time. Could you teach English or sell another service to help you finance your travels?
When you have enough money to do it or have saved up for it.
If you have enough money to cough up on your splurge without financing it, that’s another time when I’d say go for it. If it’s not disrupting your financial goals (such as paying off debt or saving up for retirement) then it’s really not a problem. The goal of life is not to hoard up tons of money. If you have the money, you should enjoy it, in my humble opinion.
If it will offer long term pleasure.
It’s OK to splurge on things that offer long term pleasure, rather than things that are easily forgotten. Typically experiences fall under this category but it can also include high quality or meaningful items, such as a ring with your child’s birthstone on it. Avoid splurges that don’t bring lasting joy. For example, last weekend, we had a free coupon of 30 minutes of free play at an arcade. Our son had fun playing the arcade games, but as soon as one game was over, he was on to the next thing. A few days later, I asked him what his favorite game was and he couldn’t tell me. While playing the arcade games brought him joy in the moment, that joy was easily forgotten. That’s exactly the kind of splurge you should avoid.
Babysitting & child care.
Another time when the answer “when is it ok to splurge” is a resounding YES is when it comes to child care. That’s an area where I won’t skimp. We need to know that our kids are safe when we aren’t there. We need to know that they are engaging in positive activities when we aren’t there. I’ll pay top dollar for this peace of mind. That said, just because someone is charging a lot of money for child care, doesn’t mean that you are getting a high quality child care experience so be sure to do your research on what your getting from your child care provider. You can still find great child care that doesn’t have to cost an arm an a leg– I’m just saying if it does cost a lot, it’s worth it.
Another area where I am fine with a splurge is when it’s to protect your family, yourself, or your belongings. Go ahead and splurge on that security camera, privacy fence, strong doors, and or good locks. Not only is that peace of mind worth it, but these kinds of things could actually save your life or the life of a family member, and you can’t really put a price on that.
Another time when you should splurge vs. save is on preventative care. Things like dental cleanings, annual check ups with your doctor, a gym membership, can all keep you healthy which can actually save you thousands of dollars in the long run. So definitely shop around for a great deal, but go ahead and splurge on preventative care (plus if it’s health related, your insurance will probably help cover it… unless you are using a health care sharing ministry like us).
Self Improvement/Professional Improvement.
One of the best areas you can splurge in is for things that help you improve as a person or in your professional development. This might include things like self help books (a list of my favorite self help books here), or a continuing education course for your job. Some of these types of things can be really expensive so just make sure your investing in something that actually helps you improve and I’m all for it.
When it’s not that expensive.
I’m pretty OK with a splurge when it’s not an expensive splurge. You do have to be careful with these kind of splurges because of course they can add up. But I believe working some cheap splurges into your budget can actually help you stay committed to your other financial goals, since you won’t feel so deprived. So, if you’re dying for a Diet Coke this afternoon, it’s not the end of the world if you find yourself going through the drive-thru. Just make sure you’ve worked it into your budget.
When you are helping someone else.
The last area where I’m good with a splurge is if you are helping someone else. I believe in making the world a better place no matter what your financial circumstances are. So if you feel inclined to buy the bagel for the person behind you in line, or donate money to help with hurricane relief, give money to your church, whatever you want to do that helps other people, DO IT. I believe that when you give money away to help people, it has a way of finding you again.
Splurging can actually be an OK thing as long as you do it the right way. While you shouldn’t splurge on things that you are going to regret, it’s perfectly OK to splurge on things here and there and may actually improve your financial health (and quality of life for that matter). So go out there and treat yo’self without feeling guilty about it, but not too much and make sure to stay within the guidelines above.
What are some things that you splurge on? Drop a comment below!
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