Love and Splurging

by David Ning · 15 comments

My children are the best and nothing else suffice. I love them and will do anything to give them what they deserve.

By now, you’ve read so many articles about spending control that you can probably write your own book on the subject. Appreciate the big picture, delay gratification, 30 day rules, and the list goes on.

But what if you aren’t spending money for yourself? How do you control your spending when most of it go towards your loved ones?

Remember the Wii Resort that I purchased? Well, it wasn’t for me. Emma tried out the game one night and really loved it. She wanted to buy it, but we ended up walking away. The next day, I was at Costco and they happened to highlight the game (this is when they move all the inventory and stick it in the middle of the walkway). It was hard to resist. All I could think of was the joy on Emma’s face when she was trying to beat the computer opponent. I started walking back and forth, to the extent that I think I annoyed the worker who was closed by giving out free food samples. Eventually, emotions won, I picked up a copy and lined up at the checkout line (not forgetting my bag of frozen chicken wings of course, which was what I originally went there for).

When you are already living paycheck to paycheck and have no money to spend, the decision is easy. But what is a responsible person who already have some savings to do? Telling them to be more selfish is not exactly sound advice, but here are a few ways to help.

  • Set a Monthly Limit – Whether you have a full blown budget or not, it’s a good idea to set a limit on splurges, for yourself or others. If you focus on the monthly amount spent instead of trying to decide every single instance, it’s much easier to control the long term outcome of your actions.
  • Pay Yourself First – To help with that, stick all the money after necessities into your retirement and savings account. Artificial sacristy works quite well here too.
  • Humans are Clever Creatures – There’s a reason why so many people practice tough love. The more you give, the more people want from you. If you want to teach your loved ones to fight for what they want instead of believing that everything just falls out of the sky, don’t always say yes.
  • Only the Strong Can Help – Understand that you must save yourself before you can save others. If you aren’t financially healthy, you will never be able to continually give. You are already willing, so it’s much more beneficial to your loved ones if you fix and build your finances first so you are able to give again and again. Otherwise, you can give now but may never be able to in the future.

If you think self control is hard when you see something you want, try to resist buying something your love ones really crave. Take the steps to build a solid financial future, so that you can give when the time comes.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Andrew @ Financial Services says:

    Hmm, that sounds like me. It’s not like I starve myself or deprive myself of fast cash or anything, but I am quite extravagant when me and the wife go out. Mostly we spend it on good food on the weekends. Making my wife happy makes me happy so I guess I’m buying a bit of happiness for the both of us? Good bargain eh?

  • kenyantykoon says:

    it is always really hard not to fight the temptation of not buying something that would put a smile on a loved ones face. i still haven’t found a way to fight this temptation. i think that is why i work so hard; to get a truckload of cash so that i never have to contend with whether or not to buy something for my family

  • Emily says:

    How true. I always spend more money on my hubby than myself. Everyone says I’m crazy but I just think they are jealous that I have such a good husband.

    • MoneyNing says:

      I hear that the best marriages are the ones where the husband thinks the wife works harder on the relationship while the wife thinks the husband does.

      It sounds like you have a relationship similar to that. Congratulations.

  • I tell ya, I hardly spend any money on myself. My current Macbook G4 was purchased 5 years ago for my wife. It’s now a hand me down b/c I bought another Macbook for her last year.

    I have the junky snowboard, and bought her the fancier high-end one from Ride.

    She has the Canon EOS SLR that I got for her birthday, and I have the old kodak hand held.

    You kow what? I just love making my wife happy and buying her things she wouldn’t have bought for herself. She appreciates things MUCH MORE than I do, which is ironically why I get her more, and don’t buy myself a lot.

    If it wasn’t for my wife…. I would easily bore with the savings i have and waste it away.

  • Sam says:

    I often find that tough love is more like an excuse that some parents use to be selfish. I know it sounds bad, but not every parent actually is selfless for their kids.

    There are always exceptions.

    • MoneyNing says:

      I’m not sure whether it’s an excuse or it’s done on purpose. I can see that it’s a convenient way to say no, but I think most parents in the world love their kids more than their money.

  • BANKMODE.com says:

    Money management is key in situations like these. Splurges here and there can be pretty dangerous if you don’t limit yourself.

    Allowing yourself to make a miscellaneous purchase once every 2 months is acceptable, but you have to make sure you save a certain amount of money.

    My advice is to limit yourself to a splurge once every 2 months or so. Make sure to set a limit on your splurges as well. Use this as a treat for your good behavior.

    As in this case, you could have probably given your kids a few money management tips. But nothing says ‘I love you’ like a surprise gift.

  • dandy44 says:

    You bring up a point that no one ever talks about and though it’s a great thing that you can’t resist buying for others, it’s a roadblock on the path to financial freedom. When do you draw the line?

  • Daniel @ Sweating The Big Stuff says:

    There’s a difference between being comfortable and having billions. Once all of the appropriate funds have been taken care of, it should be ok to “splurge,” and by that I don’t mean throwing money at “stuff” but at relatively small things that will make the people around you happy.

    • MoneyNing says:

      When I was young, I never really figured out why those rich people keep pushing themselves and their business when they seem to have all the money they need.

      I see so many people stressed out even though they already made their fortunes. In a way, that’s unfortunate and I wished they would just start working on their happiness instead.

  • Daniel @ Sweating The Big Stuff says:

    When the decision is between just saving money and making someone you love happy, it’s almost impossible to keep the money in your pocket.

    I think setting a monthly limit works best. I have a hard time convincing myself that buying thing things that will make others happy is a bad idea. I’ve even splurged on a KitchenAid for my girlfriend.

    In your post, you almost make this sound like a bad thing, like you should be doing even more, even if you had no concrete goals in mind. Like you said, it’s not a problem for people living paycheck to paycheck. But isn’t the point to build up savings so that you can be comfortable and not have to worry about being able to make these types of purchases.

    This seems like exactly the situation I would like to be in.

    • MoneyNing says:

      Unless you have billions, I believe that you have to worry about money no matter how much of it you have. Even if you have a couple million dollars in the bank, it can go quickly if you start blowing money left and right.

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