5 Splurges You Can & Should Allow Yourself

by Vincent King · 3 comments

Heathy food

You work really hard to save money and get out of debt. Every year, when making your New Year’s resolutions, you vow that this will be the year you finally succeed and never look back.

You set your budget before December loses itself to January; you’ve planned how much you will put on each card, and you plan to say “no” to everything.

No more lattes from Starbuck’s drive-thru.
No more eating out with the guys.
No more weekly manicures.

At first, you’re so proud of yourself for doing well, but by now, you’re starting to regret and resent your plans.

Your coworkers are going out to dinner tonight and you really, really want to go. Chips with salsa and margaritas may as well be your kryptonite, especially when it comes to hanging with the gang and gossiping about the boss after hours.

You wrestle with your conscience and your goals.

Just one weekend won’t hurt. After all, I’ve been really great these last three (almost four!) months.

Off you go to your favorite Mexican restaurant to eat with the gang.

It feels so good to be free again.

You’re not thinking about the goals you established only a few weeks back; you’re thinking about how your debts aren’t going anywhere no matter what you do. If you can’t change your future, then why not enjoy your present?

Your plans fly out the window before you’ve even given them a fair chance to work.

The unrelenting pressure of your iron-fisted budget is coming down on you hard, and you can’t stand the thought of never spending another dime on yourself. Your inner rebel is screaming to get out.

So you surrender, and let the rebel win.

Goals? What goals?

Every year, it’s exactly the same thing.

It can be different. No, really, it can be.

Let Go

We often think of splurging as a bad thing. After all, spending money on something that wasn’t planned, or that isn’t needed (even if it is planned) is often looked down upon by savvy savers and financial experts alike.

However, allowing yourself a few guilty pleasures that won’t break your budget or wreck your route to success will give you a budget that’s livable and easier to swallow. No one wants to live life feeling deprived.

Without splurges, life wouldn’t be nearly as fun. Plus, with carefully considered splurges, you can actually improve your finances.

Here’s why you should splurge sometimes (and how to do it responsibly):

Occasional Splurges Can Prevent Bigger Problems

One of the issues with living deprivation-style for a long period of time is that it’s wearing. You get to the point where you’re tired of scrounging and sacrificing all the time. It’s a never-ending cycle that can be disheartening – and result in you giving up.

If you give up because you see your sacrifice as endless, you might just decide to throw it all away. Some people actually end up in worse shape in the long run, because they give up so spectacularly that they end up spending more and staying in debt.

A splurge can prevent this problem. Occasional splurges, even if small, can help you enjoy life as you go along and keep you from feeling so discouraged that you just give up. They’ll help you stay the course by preventing you from feeling deprived. You’ll be motivated to stick with your program, which will benefit you in the long run.

How to Plan for Splurges

That being said, you do need to plan for your splurges. Budgeting for non-essentials is a good way to keep your spending under control now and in the future.

You might plan for a splurge by looking ahead to a book you want to buy, or a video game that’s coming out soon. Perhaps you want to eat out at a nice restaurant or see a movie.

These are relatively simple splurges that can add a little spice to your life as well as keep your mind off deprivation and sacrifice while you get your finances in order. Here are five more you should allow yourself to indulge in.

1. A Gym Membership
Yes, there goes your excuse to not join the gym. Sorry! The fact is, the gym is a great place to be inspired to stay fit. With the low cost of many fitness centers, it’s easy to justify $39 a month to better your health. Though the biggest win is the excellent health habits you’ll develop, the relaxation that comes after a great workout is a massive bonus. This is one expenditure you should allow yourself – and feel good about!

2. A healthy Diet
Buying whole fruits, veggies, and meats eliminates many middlemen from the food preparation process. This means you’re getting nutrient-rich foods that will fill and fuel your body better than frozen, prepackaged, or processed foods. They may cost a little more, but YOU are well worth the investment.

3. A Retirement Fund
Allocate an amount that can be set aside each pay period for your retirement. Even if you already contribute to a 401K, you can increase the amount. The more you invest now, the closer you are to sitting on the front porch of life, rocking away and watching the sunset.

4. A Weekend Away
(Only do this if you can pay for it outright – no credit cards for this one!) You deserve a break once in a while. And though it may cost a bit more, a weekend away can really recharge your batteries, giving you a reason to continue on your journey of savings. Make sure to fully relax in your environment, so that when return, you’re ready to work hard and roar towards your financial goals.

5. A Special Reward
Maybe you’ve had your eye on a gorgeous new suit, but you have a hard time justifying the purchase with your looming debt. You longingly stare every time you pass by JoS Bros. Tuck away a little each week, so that you can get those dapper duds without breaking your budget. After all, you’ve been good and stuck to your goals, right?

By giving yourself permission to enjoy your money (within reason), you’ll be far more likely to stick with your budget and reach your goals.

Create a “Fun Fund”

Another thing I like to do is set up a “fun fund” that allows me to be more spontaneous in my splurges. The beauty of this fund is that I can use the money for whatever I fancy at the time with no questions asked. I regularly set aside money in this fund and when I want to do something spontaneous, I pull whatever money I need from it. This makes it possible to plan for splurges, while still keeping the spontaneous nature that often makes splurges so much fun.

The important thing is to make sure your splurges aren’t putting you further in debt. If you can earmark a relatively small amount of money each month for splurging, it can help you stick with your overall financial plans.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself a little. It doesn’t have to be big – just something you enjoy and don’t need for survival. A little splurge now and then will help you stay motivated as you work toward your other goals.

Do you splurge sometimes? What splurges do you allow yourself and how do you plan for them?

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  • Shane says:

    One thing I started splurging on was getting my produce and meat from the local farmers market, it is healthier and tastes better. It may be more expensive but I think in the long run it will save me in health costs.

  • PMSJL says:

    Every time I get any sort of windfall (tax refund, bonus, etc.), I take 5-10% and spend it on ME – it gives me a treat now and then and 90-95% goes toward savings and or debt…win/win!

  • Debbie D says:

    Not sure if this counts but several years ago I realized that I kept putting off vacations due to the amount of money even a thrifty one cost. But then I realized that it was an important part of quality of life. Just as important as whatever needed to be done at home ( new A/C, fixing dishwasher leak, etc). Began to put away a small amount each paycheck and now go on a budget friendly vacations. Has made me happier once I realized this was just as important as saving for big needed things for house, car, etc and as important as trying to pay off car/house early.

    Manicures, coffee at Starbucks, eating out most nights I can give up but feeding my Soul with a vacation is a good financial decision.

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