Last week I published a post called 7 Things We Rarely Spend Money On that explained what items my husband and I have chosen to forego during this season of life as we pursue other financial goals. Today I want to share the follow-up post, a counterpoint: 5 Things We Choose to Splurge On. I’d love to hear what items you would have on your list!
I am a very frugal person. My husband and I budget every dollar that we earn, and we make choices about where that money goes. There are certain items that we have decided not to spend money on at this time in our lives (gym memberships, haircuts, etc.). However, there are other items that we have decided are worth a little extra money.
For the sake of this post, I will consider every item that is not absolutely necessary a “splurge”. These are things that we could do without but have included in our budget simply because we want to.
Let’s dig right in!
5 Things We Choose to Splurge On
1. High-quality Local Food
We have a pretty strict $70 a week grocery budget. But, I know that if I wanted to, I could get my budget down to $50 a week. (By the way, if you are looking for ways to squeeze more out of your grocery budget, be sure to check out Grocery University–an audio course taught by Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom. It will change your life. Seriously.)
We have decided, however, that we will happily spend an extra $20 a week on high-quality, local food. Each week the kids and I go to our local farmer’s market or food stand in search of in season, organic produce. It’s like a treasure hunt! I bring my $20 in cash, a cloth bag, and find the best deals on the freshest food. We buy eggs, fruits, vegetables, and honey almost exclusively at our farmer’s market, and I am happy to support our local economy this way.
After reading 100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan this summer, I know that this small investment spent on good food will reap many health rewards for our family over the years. Plus it just tastes better!
2. Kids’ Sports and Other Activities
Our children are quite young right now (6, 3, and 1), so they aren’t heavily involved in sports or other activities, but we want to allow them the opportunity as they get older. Our plan is to let each child choose two activities per year that they would like to explore. This could include music lessons, dance, art, photography, sports, etc. We know that there will be a cost associated with these lessons, but we believe that they payoff shows in skills, team-building, and self-confidence.
This year our six-year-old son is playing baseball and taking swimming lessons. He is having a blast doing so! It is so much fun to watch him mature as he tries new things and develops patience when learning a new skill.
3. Family Outings
One of my goals for 2015 is to have a family outing each month. So far we have been to museums, gone strawberry picking, camped with extended family, and gone on hikes. In October we are looking forward to apple picking and attending a fall harvest festival and a nearby farm. Most of these outings are fairly frugal ($10-$50), but added up over the course of the year the expense totals a few hundred dollars.
We know that the memories made during these outings far outweighs the cost. In fact, our outings are probably the splurge which brings the most fun!
4. Eating Out
We budget $50 a month on eating out. Since this is a fairly small amount, we tend to eat at smaller, less expensive restaurants. We love our local Mexican restaurant and frequent it several times a year. My husband and I also enjoy getting Chinese takeout every so often on a Friday night. We watch a movie and have an instant in-house date night!
5. Elite Blog Academy
Two weeks ago I spent a significant amount of money on a course called Elite Blog Academy. Created and run by Ruth Soukup (of Living Well, Spending Less), this is an intense blogging course. It’s pretty much like taking a graduate class in blogging.
Because of the steep price tag, I was extremely nervous about approaching the subject with my husband. Could I justify the expense? Would he think it was a frivolous idea? After I explained the course to him and let him know that it was open only to a limited number of students to purchase over a two day period, I sat breathless, waiting to hear his response.
“If you think this is the best way to build your business, then I trust your judgement.” Talk about a great husband! I am really enjoying the experience of Elite Blog Academy so far and have already seen a huge difference in the way I view my blog.
One Important Word
Now, my splurges may seem like everyday business to many of you. To others who are going through a difficult financial time, they might seem like extravagances you can’t imagine.
The important thing is to remember to budget for your splurges. Knowing where every dollar in your budget goes allows you the freedom to enjoy your extras guilt-free. You won’t be wondering if you can afford something or questioning your decision to buy a certain item. It may seem counter-intuitive, but budgeting provides freedom.
Tonight I challenge you to sit down and think about what splurges you currently make or would like to make. Talk with your spouse if you are married so that you are on the same page. Look into your budget to see if your ideas are realistic. If they are, and if they line up with your priorities, enjoy your splurges guilt-free.
I know that I do!
What do you splurge on?
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