Guilt-Free Spending: 3 Non-Essentials I Budget For

by Alexa Mason · 6 comments

If you spend a considerable amount of time reading up on personal finance, you may feel guilty about spending money on yourself. It’s as if you’re a failure for spending money on something you enjoy — but which others may deem frivolous. When it comes to money, however, there should be an equal balance.

Money is a tool. It’s meant to help you build a better life. And, while saving and investing are certainly important, so is enjoying your life now.

With that being said, here are three things I allow myself to spend money on guilt free:

1. Home Improvements

Walking into a room I love puts my mind at ease. Not only do I I feel more calm and collected, but I can work better and enjoy family more. I’m also more likely to keep a room I love clean. And, I’ve found keeping a clean house is a great way to improve mental energy.

Taking all this into consideration, I’ll spend money on reasonable home improvements. I buy quality items that I know I’ll be able to enjoy for a long time.

2. Making Memories

Another area I have no problem spending on — within reason of course — is making memories. Family is extremely important to me, and I want my kids to have good childhood memories.

Not every memory-making experience costs a bundle. Sometimes, all I have to spend is gas money to get to our destination. For example, the girls and I love to go fishing at my dad’s pond in the summer, take walks through the woods, or go sledding at my mom’s house during the winter months.

When we decide to splurge, it may be $40 on a trip to Chuck E. Cheese (which they think is the best thing in the world), or a trip to the aquarium. When they get older, the trips we take might get slightly more extravagant, but the memories will be worth the price.

3. My Hobbies

I have a few different hobbies: books, home improvement projects, and websites. Luckily, most of them are pretty inexpensive.

I recently bought a couple cans of stain and went crazy refinishing almost every piece of wood furniture I owned. This was a cheap way to feed my home improvement hobby. In the end, the project turned out wonderful, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Double win.


What’s important to me may not be important to you. I know many people who allow themselves to spend money guilt-free on food, while I strive to keep my food budget low. The same people think my decorating habits are a waste of money, while I truly feel they enhance my life. The point is to do what feels right for you — and always strive for balance.

You should think about tomorrow, but you need to live for today, too. Use your money as a tool to enhance your life. There are many budget-friendly ways you can spend money on yourself while simultaneously working toward your big financial goals.

What items do you make extra room in your budget for?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • lana says:

    The way we have guilt free spending is to first tithe, then save roughly 40% and pay off all our bills. Money left over is used for fun or just rolled over.

  • Mark Ross says:

    Nice post! I also have my hobbies included in my budget. Unfortunately, I don’t budget for memories, but I’m going to include it now. 🙂

  • Steve says:

    Great short and to-the-point article! I recently just bought my first home with my new wife and we’ve torn out all the carpets, refinished all the floors, hung flat-screen TVs, and so much more…on the cheap too. It was tough but but the home looks so much better now and it’s much more enjoyable!

  • Alex @ Credit Card XPO says:

    I couldn’t agree more on your 1st thing (home improvement). My wife and I recently spent may be a little too much money redecorating our home. But after the makeover is completed, we both think it’s worth the money making our home more comfortable and it really does improve mental energy!

  • John @ Frugal Rules says:

    I think this is incredibly important to do, as long as it’s within balance of course, as you plan your spending/saving. We tend heavily towards #2 and #3 ourselves in our family and focus heavily on travel as we love to travel.

  • Adam Kamerer says:

    My wife and I have been enjoying spending more in order to buy high quality goods that will last for years. After breaking a bunch of glasses, we bought some stainless steel ones that look gorgeous — and you’d have to run them over with a truck to hurt them. They were more expensive than glass, but given how often my wife and I tend to drop them, they’ll last much much longer.

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