Reconciling Frugal Living and Unnecessary Splurges

splurging and frugality

source: Shoshanah


We all have them — things we’re willing to spend more money on even though we try to live a frugal lifestyle overall. For some it may be Starbucks, while for others it may be designer shoes, eating out as a family, a more expensive hair stylist or a trip to the most magical place on earth, Disney World.

Being responsible with our money, giving generously and planning for the future are all very important to our family. But while I balk at spending extra in the grocery store just for the cereal with the cartoon character shapes, our family loves to eat out — where the meal is served to us and cleaned up for us, so we really can just enjoy dinner as a family — and the pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks may be my favorite drink of all time. Disney World is one of our family’s favorite destinations, and there’s really nothing that compares to watching my girls eyes light up at seeing the princesses dance in front of the castle or meet their favorite character.

Those things may seem like silly splurges to you and your family, but I’m betting you have some of your own. So how can you reconcile these things with your frugal lifestyle?

Plan for Them

Tara from Deal Seeking Mom and I have been friends for a long time, and one thing she’s always said is that it’s easier to stick to a budget if you have something to look forward to. Some people give themselves allowances or blow money that can be spent any way they want, or if the splurge is a regular budgetary item (like eating out), you can just build it straight into your budget.

Look for Extra Income

You can also work extra for the splurges you don’t want to give up. For example, my husband loves building and flying remote-controlled airplanes, so he does some side work to pay for that hobby. I’ve also found that Swagbucks is a great way to be able to get the Donut Shop K-Cups for my Keurig Coffee Maker without having to pay for them out of pocket. I just use Swagbucks search throughout the day and a couple times a month I cash out for a $5 Amazon.com gift card. You could make things to sell on Etsy, have a yard sale or walk the neighbors’ dog each day. The possibilities are virtually limitless if you look for ways to add value to other people’s lives!

Watch for Deals on the Things You Love

Just because something’s a splurge doesn’t mean that you can’t look for the best possible deal for your money. There are shopping sites that offer discount prices on designer products, like Gilt Groupe, and restaurant clubs that reward you for being a loyal patron, like TGI Friday’s Give Me More Stripes Club. You can travel to Disney during the off-season for much less than you can during the summer. And at a place like a hair salon, you can always just ask for a discount!

Don’t Judge

In the frugal community, there can be a competition factor to see who can live the most frugally. I’m all for cutting our expenses and being wise with our money (and we do things like cutting everyone’s hair at home rather than paying for six hair cuts), but I don’t want to become so focused on that that we don’t leave room to spend money on the things we love.

If your family thinks Starbucks coffee is overpriced, prefers home-cooked meals and would rather go camping than to Disney World, that is awesome…for you. But if you start looking down at other people because of the decisions they make with their hard-earned money, you may want to take a step back and consider whether it’s really worth your time to worry about what other people are doing!

What splurges does your family enjoy?

Mandi Ehman is the blogger behind Life Your Way. She and her husband have four beautiful girls plus one baby boy, and together they live, work and homeschool on a little slice of heaven in wild, wonderful West Virginia. Mandi loves coffee, chocolate, easy meals, beautiful things and minimalist spaces.