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.