I recently had someone tell me that I need to loosen up and splurge a little more. I found this to be quite hilarious since I feel like the queen of Starbucks and take out. Sure, I don’t buy expensive clothes, have a fancy purse or go on lavish vacations. However, it isn’t entirely because I’m cheap. I don’t have nice clothes or purses because I’m a mom whose toddler somehow manages to ruin anything nice that I own. I don’t take lavish vacations because, well, have you ever traveled with a needy toddler? If you have a perfect traveling toddler, I’m going to pretend you don’t exist. After our Charleston vacation, Tom and I both decided we wouldn’t be traveling for a very long time.
Even without fancy splurges, I never feel deprived. In fact, I feel grateful that we don’t live paycheck to paycheck. We could live paycheck to paycheck if we wanted to. If we had a nicer house, new cars, and more debt, we would most certainly be living paycheck to paycheck. I feel privileged to be in the minority of millennials who has savings. A recent study just found that only 38% of Americans have $500 on hand for an emergency. For me, that kind of cash in savings is my big splurge. If you’ve ever had to pay $500-1,000 for an emergency purchase, you know that the peace of mind that comes with having that cash on hand is priceless.
Savings, investments and loan payments are our big splurges, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have simple splurges. I can’t stress enough that everyone needs to have a few simple splurges. Even though I’ve never been a dieter, I equate simple splurges with food “cheat days”. People who do cheat days swear that it allows them to get all their cravings out in one day and some even say it boosts their metabolism. Simple splurges are just like that, it you limit your splurges to 1-2 splurges a week you won’t ever feel deprived.
My simple splurges include coffee, wine (when I’m not pregnant), and take out. Once upon a time we preferred to eat out and now that we have a toddler, we’ve changed it to take out. When I do Starbucks and take out I limit myself to once a week. Sometimes we don’t do either and sometimes we go over the limit. The bottom line is, I don’t go to an extreme and do it everyday or cut myself off entirely. Although I am cutting out Starbucks until the new baby is born. It seems silly for me to keep going for decaf. That being said, if I really wanted it, I wouldn’t stop myself entirely, I’m just making an effort to not go weekly.
Find your simple splurges. You may decide to do something bigger than mine and do them once a month or twice a year. I know many people who travel as their splurge and don’t spend on other items throughout the year. You have to find what works best for you and stick with it. The main goal is to find something simple that makes you happy so that you don’t feel sad when 10% or more of your paycheck goes to savings each month. I promise that when you have to use those savings for something you need, you’ll feel so relieved to know that you are financially prepared. I’m telling you, that peace of mind is absolutely priceless!