Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

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Justus
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Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby Justus » Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:14 am

I'm pretty frugal and I know most of you are too. So when is it okay to let loose and splurge a little? Maybe buy the higher quality of more exotic produce at the market instead of the cheaper one? Or maybe going out to dinner with friends and sharing a nice bottle of wine. Where do you draw the line?

catchingup
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby catchingup » Fri Feb 08, 2013 10:59 am

I debate this all the time (with myself). For small things it generally boils down to "I have the money, I really really want it and I've been good lately, so why not?". Not the best logic but I live well below my means and see no reason not to treat myself once in a while.

These are my splurge rules:

It has to be something I really really want. For a big purchase this could mean some time for deliberation before determining that yes, I'm going to spend the extra money and how much. For a nicer than usual dinner, I allow myself 3-4 each year - and usually use one.

It has to be a one time thing, otherwise it isn't "just" a splurge. If I've been splurging a lot lately it's time to stop, if it commits to higher regular expenses it isn't a splurge and needs more consideration.

It has to be affordable, of course, with a clear understanding of where the money is coming from.

It can't be something that will go to waste. If it's something I've always wanted to do but I'm just not in the mood that day, would I enjoy it? There's no sense buying ingredients for a recipe if I won't have time to cook it before the food goes bad.

And finally, it has to be worth it - worth the cost of earning the money, worth the lost opportunity cost, etc. I don't want to regret spending the money after it's gone.

Mario
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby Mario » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:30 pm

I decide what's important to me way ahead of time -- say, an annual trip to Mexico -- so that getting the regular produce doesn't feel like skimping, but rather, getting me a little closer to a vacation.
http://debtblag.com

Track my fiscal fitness with $0.5 million in debt: http://getrichslowly.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=61052 Latest update: As of April 16, I've paid off $21,400 in credit card debt this year (after starting with $35k)

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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby Bichon Frise » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:01 am

Would you be happy if you reached all your financial goals and then died the next day? There should be a point to saving. For some, it may just be the amount of cash in their accounts. For others, they want to use that cash for experiences/things.

For us, we've booked the Aman resorts for our trip to Bali this summer. A bit of a splurge some might say.
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby VinTek » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:39 pm

Money is for spending, either now or later. Only you can determine the appropriate balance for yourself.

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bejki
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby bejki » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:13 pm

Good question. I'm sure we all have our own "rules" we go by.

We don't eat out often, so when we do eat out I will splurge some. If I am paying somebody to cook my dinner for me then I want to really enjoy it. To me it is wasting money to go out for a mediocre meal.

I am not frugal for the sake of "not wasting money." I don't only watch my money so that I can save money for emergencies; I also manage my money well so that I can afford to buy the things that I value in the present.

There's always a tradeoff. When I make a purchase I have to determine if the price of it justifies the value it has to me. My wife and I like to see and experience things, so that means we don't spend as much money on "things." Another person might rather have an ipad, iphone, and a 3D television; but since I don't value those things for their cost I don't buy them.
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bejki
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby bejki » Sat Feb 09, 2013 5:19 pm

catchingup wrote: And finally, it has to be worth it - worth the cost of earning the money, worth the lost opportunity cost, etc. I don't want to regret spending the money after it's gone.


You bring up a good point. One thing that I often do before buying is to ask myself how many hours do I have to work to purchase it. The asset we probably all value most is time. So this approach can often help put things into perspective.
"I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you play or not."
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Don't be passive about your finances: http://thefinancialreader.com

Justus
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby Justus » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:38 pm

VinTek wrote:Money is for spending, either now or later. Only you can determine the appropriate balance for yourself.


Absolutely. It's fun to share and read about how other people find that balance, though.

Cely
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby Cely » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:52 pm

Like everything, splurge is relative. One man's everyday might be another's splurge!

My husband and I love to eat out, so we allocate a signifiant portion of our budget to that. But there are restaurants that I consider a splurge, and will only go to once or maybe twice a year.

It's similar with vacations. We have one annual trip that is not inexpensive, but we plan far in advance and use miles or whatever discounts we can find for air travel, then wait until our hotel of choice has a good deal, and pounce. With that much planning I don't consider it a splurge. But we are dreaming of some other "splurge" trips, like the British Virgin Islands and a return trip to Paris.

I am planning to go to Tokyo to see my brother, who has lived there for a few years, but despite the high cost of airfare I don't consider that a splurge trip. I know that may sound strange but the BVI and Paris trips are frivolous, so I put them in the splurge category, whereas Tokyo (while an amazing trip I'm sure) is to see my one and only brother, so it carries more weight.

My system might only make sense to me but it's working so far. ;)

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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby bejki » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:56 pm

Cely, I see what you mean about visiting your brother in Tokyo. My wife is European, so we have been trying to go there every other year to visit her family. I don't consider this a splurge either. Family is something that is very important to us.

But that is also a good example of why we do manage are money well. So that we can spend it on the things that we really do value, instead of just mindlessly spending it on everything we want at any given moment.

Justus, you do bring up a good topic. "Splurging" is somewhat subjective, so it is interesting to read other peoples views and definitions of it.

I know a person who only likes to buy brand new cars. For me, spending "too much" on a car is a waste of money; I just want a practical, reliable, and decent looking vehicle that gets me to point A to point b. Who's right or who's wrong.... in this case nobody. This person also manages her money responsibly and is a saver, so if she see's value in paying a premium for a brand new car, then more power to her. A key to financial freedom is to be a "deliberate" spender. That means you know what you value and you deliberately spend your money on the things that you do value most, but cut back on the things that don't mean so much to you.
"I figure you have the same chance of winning the lottery whether you play or not."
Fran Lebowitz

Don't be passive about your finances: http://thefinancialreader.com

Mario
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby Mario » Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:55 pm

Ok. I'm starting to change my mind. I think that it's very possible to adjust what you feel like you "need" to spend on.
http://debtblag.com

Track my fiscal fitness with $0.5 million in debt: http://getrichslowly.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=61052 Latest update: As of April 16, I've paid off $21,400 in credit card debt this year (after starting with $35k)

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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby RayinPenn » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:34 am

You absolutely need to splurge once and a while. The wife and I have lived frugally for many years and it has paid off: no debt and a huge pile. The unbelievable downside is that I have a very hard time spending money- for anything!

Although I rarely buy electronics I bought the first iPad 3 years ago and use it every day. I love the thing - I am typing on it right now. Well I took it with me on a college visit for my daughter - dropped it and dented it by the off button (on top) now I really have to struggle to turn it off. When I bought it I thought if I get three years out of it that would be cool. Now I just cant pull the trigger on a new iPad. So I sit here busting my fingernails turning this sucker off!
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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby LeRainDrop » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:03 am

RayinPenn wrote:Although I rarely buy electronics I bought the first iPad 3 years ago and use it every day. I love the thing - I am typing on it right now. Well I took it with me on a college visit for my daughter - dropped it and dented it by the off button (on top) now I really have to struggle to turn it off. When I bought it I thought if I get three years out of it that would be cool. Now I just cant pull the trigger on a new iPad. So I sit here busting my fingernails turning this sucker off!

Ray, you sound like my Dad! He bought the iPhone3 over three years ago, and for the last two years, the "home" buttton (the round one at the bottom center) has not worked at all. Every time he wants to exit a section/application (e.g., get out of a the web browser to place a call, get out of music to text someone), he literally has to shut off the phone and then restart it so that it goes back to the home/default view. A couple weeks ago, though, the on/off button fell off the phone such that he has to use a paperclip to power it off/on, so he is finally considering replacing it. :-)

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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby jaiko » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:45 pm

I'm a spender. DH is a spender. Needless to say, we had a hard time saving money throughout our careers! However, in my varied career I worked for several companies, large and small, in the financial svc industry. Got interested in financial planning, and applied that to our spendthrifty lives.

Did we stop splurging? Nope. But we gradually worked our debt down. Made a few bad financial decisions. Made some really, really good ones, to offset it. Learned to ask ourselves, "What are the BAD things that might happen to us?" instead of just assuming everything would turn out well in the end. Learned to judge risk and relative return, seen through the personal lens of "What are the things most important to us?"

We both retired early, and live on a comfortable income. In a few years I'll be getting SocSecurity, which helps offset that inflation bite. A couple of small annuities from companies I vested at will also provide some 'wiggle room'. A retirement budget needs to be flexible!

We have a moderate-sized portfolio, but don't have to take any distributions from it. It's our emergency fund. Our house is paid for, has a small second on it but nothing much. No debt otherwise; we pay our cards off every month.

Our splurges are on our hobbies: gardening, gaming, reading, dining out. We have old clunky cellphones, for example, because we'd rather have a netbook (me, for my fiction writing, since I type over 100 wpm on a standard keyboard) and a tablet (DH, for surfing his wargame discussion boards). We prefer to read e-books on our Kindles, which are so much easier on aging eyes than squinting at LCD screens in the sun.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, not dining out would be positively an-American [grin]. We eat out 3-4x week, from hole-in-the-wall taquerias to five-star nationally renowned restaurants. I come from a family of foodies – my mother taught cooking and ran a kitchenwares shop – so dining out is one of my favorite activities.

We're currently planning a two-day Napa trip this month and a six-day Mendocino/Sonoma trip next month, and the list of restaurants I reserved has us drooling already! We don't drink, so it's all about the food to us. We eat well at home (I've been running a household since I was 11) so I love places that make what I won't cook, whether it's Ethiopian injera or Monkfish in Armoricaine sauce.

We both liked our jobs, but that's all they were. We were happy to retire and enjoy our hobbies full-time. My DH had a severe stroke at age 50. I was lucky not to lose him, and it was why I urged him to stop working and take early retirement. He has a shortened life expectancy although he recovered very well--few people can tell he had a stroke; even our new doctor was pleasantly shocked when she met him.

He could have worked a few more years and gotten a more generous pension, but I didn't think it was worth the stress on his health. We discussed it several times and I convinced him to retire at age 56. Now, three years later, he's very happy in retirement, and we've had a fabulous time.

So that, in a way, was our biggest 'splurge': deciding it was time to leave the company he'd worked for, after 37 long years. The additional money wasn't worth the risk to his health and the potential loss of our time together, in the end.

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Re: Do you think it's right or wrong to splurge?

Postby TroyFissan » Mon Apr 08, 2013 1:45 pm

When it comes to splurging it's really about the vocabulary. A splurge makes it sound "wrong" even if it's just a purchase that's a bit beyond your means.

Typically, the financial experts we deal with urge people to live "under their means" and splurge only when necessary. You can "earn" a splurge by saving 90% of the time. Even if you don't need to in order to get by, clip coupons, buy generic, make purchases in bulk, and pay all bills on time in full. Then, when it comes time to make a big item purchase that qualifies as a "splurge" you've essentially saved up for it by cutting costs on a variety of other transactions along the way.


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