Personal finance experts often warn against “keeping up with Joneses” or splurging on unnecessary items.
And though this is good advice, what about the other side of the equation?
Do you ever feel guilty for spending money on yourself — even when you have your financial house in order?
When Should You Splurge?
When It’s Something You Really Want…
I’m now at the point where I have absolutely zero debt, fully-funded emergency savings, and an automatic (albeit small) contribution going into an IRA.
Yet, I still don’t feel comfortable allowing myself to spend money.
You see: I’d been wanting a new camera for months. I constantly talked about it, I price shopped, and I probably read a hundred reviews. I finally settled on a mid-range model with rave reviews. It cost about $500.
$500 — for a camera?! That’s what went through my head over and over. How in the world could I spend that much money on a camera?
Because it’s what I really, truly wanted.
We all have our own passions. For some, it’s traveling the world. For others, it’s fast cars and big houses. Me? I just wanted that darn camera.
To make a long story short, I couldn’t bring myself to order the camera. Knowing this, my boyfriend ordered it for me. And you know what? The day that camera came in, I took over 1,000 pictures — and have probably taken at least a hundred a day since then.
I’m ecstatic with my purchase — and am so glad I had someone there to push me to do something for myself. It made me realize that spending money isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, sometimes it’s desperately needed.
When You Do It Intentionally…
Money is meant to be used as a tool. Just because you’re pinching pennies to pay off debt, add to savings, or pad your retirement account doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself once in a while.
Freedom is the whole reason you work on your financial situation: freedom to spend time with those you love, to do what you want, and to live your life without worrying about money.
If you amass a ton of debt on frivolous items and can’t make ends meet, you’ll be miserable. Money will always be on your mind. At the same time, if you improve your financial situation but continue to live like a pauper, you’re not going to be happy either.
This can be a hard concept for the frugal minded, but there has to be a balance. The truth is you’re not guaranteed tomorrow.
So plan for tomorrow, but live for today.
While I’m definitely not suggesting you take on additional debt to buy yourself something, I do think you should allow yourself to occasionally splurge on life’s little pleasures. And to think: I learned all this from a camera!
When do you allow yourself to spend money?
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