Why You Should Splurge Sometimes

by Miranda Marquit · 5 comments

We often think of splurging as a bad thing. 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.

Without splurges, however, 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. Make sure you plan ahead, though, so that you have the money for them.

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. 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? How do you plan for it?

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  • fredjohnson says:

    Good ideas on splurging. I do almost exactly as you mentioned, except I set aside my “splurge” account in my head rather than another bank account. This year I splurged on a one month trip to the ocean by renting a house on the beach in the Padre Islands. Last year I traded in my 12 yr old car for a 2014 Jeep Wrangler because I really wanted a convertible again. You only go through life once, so if you have the discretionary money, then use it.

  • Alysha says:

    I loved your article about splurging. I think it is important to have fun, and live a little bit. I have 3 savings accounts set up. One is my fun account, one is travel and one is savings. This allows me to do all the things I love and save for each of them as well. Great blog!

  • wkr says:

    Not sure if this counts, because we’re saving for retirement instead of to get out of debt. But our splurges are almost all geared around vacation trips. I still remember a once in a lifetime trip I took in university and I didn’t have the cash for a t-shirt with the trip itinerary on it…. I’d put up with a lot, to make sure that doesn’t happen again!

    I know tour operators and tourism businesses operate around that principle – since you feel like you may never be back, you’re more likely to make that purchase, spend that money. But we have enough rules about such purchases – it has to fit INSIDE the luggage, it can’t be breakable under normal travel conditions, can’t make us go over the luggage weight limit, and I have to know exactly where I’m going to put it at home – that in fact most of our souvenirs consist of photos and postcards.

    Last summer, though… we got t-shirts with the travel itinerary on them 😀 20+ years later!

  • Prudence Debtfree says:

    I agree that a little splurging helps in preventing burnout. Here’s something I’ve noticed though: My husband and I have been on our journey out of debt for 21 months now, and at first, it was hard for us (for me in particular) not to overspend when it came to our discretionary funds. Lately, however, we’re choosing not to spend our discretionary funds on splurging as much – but to help meet unexpected expenses and to pay off the debt. Our idea of “treating ourselves” has become more modest too. Instead of dining out, for instance, we invite people over a bit more than we used to. Having the discretionary fund makes splurging an option – and it’s a good strategy to have it on hand. When we choose not to splurge though, I feel that we’re really making progress : )

  • Gousalya says:

    I do this occasionally – I think it is necessity. Otherwise I feel like I am saving all the time but what is the point if I can’t live alittle. I like your thoughts on having a special fund for it.

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