small splurges http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14596/all en-US Frugality and the Myth of Self-Denial http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-and-the-myth-of-self-denial <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugality-and-the-myth-of-self-denial" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-5121076-small.jpg" alt="man with scarf" title="man with scarf" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few Christmases ago, I splurged and bought myself a new scarf. Granted, it was expensive by my standards (around $18.00 for a scarf that was little more than a long strip of gray jersey material). Not my wisest purchase, but splurges are seldom wise.</p> <p>A few days after I bought it, I wore the scarf to a holiday dinner. A relative who knows of my writing on the topics of personal finance, simple-living, and frugality asked about my new scarf and chuckled when I told her where I bought it. She said, &ldquo;See, I knew you couldn&rsquo;t be as frugal as you claim. It&rsquo;s ridiculous to buy such a simple thing that you could have easily made yourself!&rdquo; She was right. I could have made the scarf for much less, and I knew it. But her comment illustrated a larger truth; people mistakenly think that we frugal folks operate in a perpetual state of self-denial, that we always make the most sensible purchases, and that we are never, ever extravagant.</p> <p>This misconception does two disservices to frugal folks and aspiring savers alike. First, it implies that the only way to live simply and be debt-free is to deny yourself everything (conveniently, this serves as a perfect rationale for people to skip the whole thing and just stick with their current behavior). Second, it oversimplifies the experience and true goal of frugality, which is to consciously limit our expenditures on <i>most</i> things so we can, from time-to-time, indulge on a <i>few</i> things or achieve one or two major goals.</p> <p>Simply put, frugality isn&rsquo;t about self-denial &mdash; at least not entirely. It&rsquo;s about logically and purposely directing where our resources go to accomplish specific ends. When frugal folks indulge in a weekly $4 coffee, it&rsquo;s a momentary motivator and rare reward that keeps us focused &mdash; keeps us driving that 14-year old car (happily paying for liability insurance only, thank you very much), keeps us shopping at thrift stores (scoring jeans for $3.59), lets us continue to skip cable TV (saving about $80 per month), etc.</p> <p>Instead of being at odds with my frugality, that $18 scarf reinforced it. It did exactly what I meant for it to do; it made me feel indulgent and uncharacteristically footloose. Peppering my frugal life with little luxuries, as long as those luxuries don&rsquo;t derail me from my journey, is absolutely OK. In fact, I recommend it.</p> <p>People approach frugality in myriad ways, and everyone&rsquo;s story and style is unique. Frugality isn&rsquo;t a one-size-fits-all lifestyle; it&rsquo;s customizable. What works for me may not work (and indeed, may not be able to work) for everyone. But on some level, we&rsquo;re all trying to be more conscious of where our money goes, better understand the connection between labor and time and between time and money, and to reach our goals through a combination of mindful spending and disciplined saving. If the rare $18 scarf or random $4.00 cup of coffee keeps you going&hellip;well, more power to you.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Have you encountered misconceptions about frugal living? What's the one thing you wish people better understood about your lifestyle? What little luxuries help keep your saving on-track?</em></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-and-the-myth-of-self-denial">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-allow-yourself-splurges">Why You Should Allow Yourself Splurges</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-online-dating-first-date-get-a-drink">The Online Dating First Date: Get a Drink</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-refillable-things-that-will-save-you-cash">10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-truths-that-arent-always-obvious">5 Money Truths That Aren&#039;t Always Obvious</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle achieving goals coffee small splurges Thu, 27 Jun 2013 09:48:32 +0000 Kentin Waits 980187 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Allow Yourself Splurges http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-allow-yourself-splurges <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-allow-yourself-splurges" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/322225370_a42ed13cba_z.jpg" alt="sushi boat" title="sushi boat" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you feel guilty when you spend money? Do you sacrifice things you enjoy in order to save as much as possible? If you are well on your way to reaching your savings goals, then you are seemingly in control of your budget and finances...or are your finances in control of you? An occasional splurge is not necessarily a bad thing. Here's why. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-frugal-ways-to-reward-yourself-right-now">21 Frugal Ways to&nbsp;Reward Yourself Right Now</a>)</p> <h2>Positive Reinforcement</h2> <p>When you are already cutting down debt and meeting your savings goals, you should give yourself some positive reinforcement. Being responsible with your money should be fun, too. When you let yourself have that massage or video game you wanted, you may become even more motivated to earn and save more. If saving money becomes hard labor for you, then you are probably less happy than you might otherwise be, but that does not have to be how you live.</p> <h2>Break Your Routine</h2> <p>Most of us have a daily routine that is fairly set in stone and that can sometimes make life quite monotonous. When you allow yourself to spend a little money on something that you normally wouldn't, your life might just get more interesting for that day. I have found that the non-routine days are usually more memorable, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-money-really-can-buy-happiness">having those memories is definitely worth the money spent</a>.</p> <h2>Some Splurges Have Long-Term Benefits</h2> <p>Some splurges can benefit your life for the long-term. For example, I have found that some more expensive brands of handbags and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-case-for-expensive-shoes">shoes</a> simply last longer than the cheap ones under $15. Other examples of splurges with long-term benefits include an upgraded mattress or better window blinds. There are many things that you could splurge on and use for years to come.</p> <h2>Price and Availability Are Never Constant</h2> <p>A few years ago my husband and I took a trip to China, and it cost around $900 per person. Now a similar trip costs $1,600 to $2,000 per person due to the rapid inflation of everything in China.</p> <p>It is hard to predict how fast the prices of things you want will go up, so sometimes it is actually cheaper to enjoy what you want today. Worse, the product you want can completely go out of stock when you wait too long, and that defeats the purpose of saving and enjoying the fruits of your labor.</p> <p>Ultimately, the money you make is meant to be spent. As long as you are not falling deeper into debt and hurting your savings goals, it is completely OK to enjoy your paydays and treat yourself a bit. I think everyone should have a &quot;fun fund&quot; to spend without guilt. I love to splurge on good food and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-inexpensive-weekend-getaways-anyone-can-take">short-term trips</a> because I think having those experiences makes my paycheck more real than just a number in a savings passbook.</p> <p><em>Have you splurged recently? How did you feel about it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-allow-yourself-splurges">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-hobbies-you-can-take-up-for-free">10 Fun Hobbies You Can Take Up for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-old-school-things-that-make-summer-summer">10 Old-School Things That Make Summer SUMMER!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-entertain-kids-for-an-afternoon">15 Free Ways to Entertain Kids for an Afternoon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle cheap fun savings goals small splurges Thu, 14 Feb 2013 11:24:32 +0000 Xin Lu 967599 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Little Luxuries That Go a Long Way http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/donuts_2.jpg" alt="Girls with donuts" title="Girls with donuts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s not always easy being thrifty. For me, it means not indulging my purse obsession as much as I&rsquo;d like, forgoing the pricey bottles of wine, and decorating my house with thrift-store finds. I usually don&rsquo;t mind, but sometimes, a little encouragement is in order. Here are a few of my favorite luxuries that are worth a modest splurge &mdash; they help me to persevere, encouraging me to take a long view of the frugal life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-choosing-and-defending-your-luxuries">On Choosing and Defending Your Luxuries</a>)</p> <h2>1. A Good Showerhead</h2> <p>Sure, you could shower every day with your apartment&rsquo;s original showerhead that sprays as much air as water and takes twenty minutes to wash shampoo out of your hair, but why suffer? A new showerhead will set you back $20 and is completely worth the investment for better water pressure, even spray, and perhaps even different spray settings. When I lived in China, I had to make do with some less-than-optimal apartments, but the one non-negotiable was that there had to be a clean, spacious shower with a good showerhead. It went a long way towards keeping me sane.</p> <p>Along the same lines, many old apartments don&rsquo;t have an aerator on the kitchen faucet, which means that the water splashes up whenever you turn it on. Invest the $2 in an aerator attachment from Walmart. The difference is amazing.</p> <h2>2. Quality Bed Sheets</h2> <p>Life is too short to spend it lying on pill-y, bad-quality bed sheets. You spend up to a third of your life in bed, so why not make your bed sheets good ones? They&rsquo;ll last longer anyway, so in the long run, they might save you money. Look for combed Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets with a thread-count of at least 300 (higher thread-count isn&rsquo;t always better &mdash; I always get a little skeptical when it comes to 1,000 thread-count or higher). Look for a well-known brand with good reviews. I&rsquo;ve heard good things about Costco&rsquo;s Kirkland Signature Pima Cotton sheets, which are top-quality but not too pricey.</p> <h2>3. Soft Toilet Paper</h2> <p>I used to buy whatever toilet paper was on sale at Walmart, and I ended up with coarse, crumbly toilet paper that chafed. Not fun. Now I&rsquo;ve found a brand I love, and I buy it in bulk when it&rsquo;s on sale or when there&rsquo;s a coupon, even though it&rsquo;s marginally more expensive than the cheaper brands.</p> <h2>4. Certain Food Products</h2> <p>For my family, buying milk from cows that haven&rsquo;t been treated with growth hormones, Omega-3 eggs, decent extra-virgin olive oil, and a few other food items is a priority, even though these food products may cost a little more. I believe that the investment in our health is definitely worth it in the long run. I make up for the extra cost by buying seasonal fresh produce on sale at our local market, eating meat less often, and cooking from scratch instead of using more expensive jarred and packaged goods.&nbsp;</p> <h2>5. A Sharp Knife</h2> <p>I have one sharp santoku knife that I use for most cutting and chopping purposes. I have a few other slicing and paring knives, but the one I splurged on was the large santoku, which I use as a chef&rsquo;s knife. A sharp knife with a good weight is safer and makes cooking a breeze. It doesn&rsquo;t have to be super-expensive. Victorinox makes good-quality chef knives that won&rsquo;t break the bank. Trust me, buying ONE good sharp chef&rsquo;s knife is better than buying a whole block of cheap knives. Keep a sharpener on hand to hone the edge.</p> <h2>6. A Good Can Opener</h2> <p>For a year, I struggled with a dull can opener that gave my hands a workout every time I tried to use it. I refused to get a new one because my can opener WAS new. It just sucked. Finally, I caved and bought one at Marshalls for $5. It makes me happy every time I use it now. The smoothness of the mechanism and the sharpness of the cutter just make my heart soar.</p> <h2>7. Scented Hand Soap</h2> <p>Hand soap from Bath and Body Works is another item that I brought overseas with me when I lived in China. When on sale, these bottles of soap cost $3-4 each and went a long way towards making my apartment feel like home. Especially when you have guests over, a nice bottle of hand soap makes your bathroom feel more luxurious and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spa-bathrooms-on-the-cheap">spa-like</a>.</p> <h2>8. Date Night</h2> <p>Sure, you can&rsquo;t afford to eat caviar and truffles every week, but that doesn&rsquo;t mean you can&rsquo;t have an evening to enjoy yourself, away from everyday responsibilities. Schedule a babysitter and plan a date night for you and your significant other, even if it&rsquo;s just a few hours at Starbucks or a leisurely meal at Burger King. It&rsquo;s the time away and the extra focus you have for each other that count. Try to make it a regular ritual that has special significance. It&rsquo;s a treat that you can look forward to every week or two.</p> <p>Little purchases can add up over time, so it&rsquo;s important to keep track of what you&rsquo;re spending for these small luxuries. You might find it helpful to give yourself an &ldquo;allowance&rdquo; to keep your spending in check. This means that you can spend your allowance money guilt-free, but you&rsquo;re not allowed to go over budget!</p> <p><em>What little luxuries do you think are worth the splurge? How do you keep them to a limit?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-little-luxuries-that-go-a-long-way">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-add-luxury-to-your-life-without-paying-luxury-prices">10 Ways to Add Luxury to Your Life Without Paying Luxury Prices</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-americans-spent-their-money-in-the-1950s">This Is How Americans Spent Their Money in the 1950s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-fun-things-to-buy-for-under-5">15 Fun Things to Buy for Under $5</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-limits-to-just-not-buying">The Limits to Just Not Buying</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/replace-these-8-luxury-buys-with-their-cheaper-better-alternatives">Replace These 8 Luxury Buys With Their Cheaper, Better Alternatives</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle Shopping cheap treats luxury small splurges Thu, 25 Aug 2011 10:36:20 +0000 Camilla Cheung 678230 at http://www.wisebread.com