Sarah Deveau: Money Matters


When to Splurge

There is Room in Every Budget for Occasional Indulgence

When you write about money, you can be a bit of a mood killer at parties. People I talk to assume that just because I strive to be frugal and make smart choices with my money, that I never splurge on anything and only buy the lowest priced item available.

Someone will be talking about their vacation and then turn to me saying, “I’m sure I shouldn’t say this in front of you, but we’re staying right on the resort instead of going with a cheaper place,” or “We’re so bad – we still owe on our student loans but we’re buying a bigger house.” Or the friend that admitted he spent $80,000 on a brand new truck. I have to admit – my jaw dropped on that one (and I’m usually pretty good at hiding my opinion).

I’ve always tried to explain that there can be room for these things in every budget because the point isn’t to save every penny you make until you’re too old to enjoy it. The point is to be honest with yourself about your goals, and how your actions right now affect those goals.

So when a few weeks ago I read an article about how smart spending includes splurge and ‘frivolous’ items, I was thrilled! In this article they asked folks in the frugality and money-advice business what they splurge on, and what they would never buy.

Here’s a few of their answers: Jeff Yeager, author of The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door splurges on high-quality flower bulbs, Bontrager bicycle tires, Dewalt power tools and Philadelphia Cream Cheese. He wouldn’t buy a cell phone, bottled water, a gym membership and “green” household cleaners.

J.D. Roth, author of and the book Your Money: The Missing Manual splurges on a top-of-the-line Apple Mac laptop, his monthly Crossfit membership, and travel and travel gear. He doesn’t like spending on cars, clothes and recurring expenses.

Here’s just of few of my splurges and saves:


Glasses and sunglasses (they’re on your face – everyday!)
My hair


Kids clothing (because they wreck them)
My shoes (because I always seem to wreck them)
Groceries (I keep a spreadsheet to know a ‘stock up’ price when I see it)