Crystal of Money Saving Mom recently shared a list of things her family splurges on (as well as the things they don’t). Although there are a few similarities on our lists, I had to laugh that a few of Crystal’s “don’t splurge” items are on our splurge list (and vice versa). It just goes to show that each of our families is unique and we need to do what’s right for us, not what someone else does!
Splurging doesn’t mean that we spend money without thought; we still look for deals and ways to save money, but these are clearly non-necessities that we choose to spend money on.
1. Eating out.
I know that eating out costs so much more money than eating at home, and if I was looking at it purely from a grocery budget perspective, it wouldn’t make any sense. But eating out is something we really enjoy doing as a family. Maybe it’s because I don’t really like to cook; maybe it’s because someone else does the cooking, serving and cleaning up; maybe it’s because there are no distractions and we do better at lingering over our meal and enjoying the conversation. Whatever the reason, it’s something that we all look forward to, whether it’s Ledo Pizza after church on Sunday, ice cream cones at the local ice cream shop, or dinner out to celebrate a birthday.
2. Family movie dates.
Similarly, we love to go to the movies together. Our theater does unlimited popcorn for $8 and occasionally has $3 movies too, so it’s not always a huge expense for us, but we go to the movies as a family once every month or so, even when that means paying full price for tickets to see a new release. Some of our best inside jokes come from movies we’ve seen together in the theater and, like eating out, we tend to enjoy them more than movies at home because there are fewer distractions.
3. Quality clothing.
This is a new one for me. I’ve always been a “how little can I spend on my clothes?” kind of girl, and much of my wardrobe has come from hand-me-downs from my mom and sister. However, with my discovery of StitchFix earlier this year, I’m learning the benefits of paying more for my clothes upfront. I send a lot of the clothes they send me back, but so far I have gotten an amazing pair of jeans (just in time to get pregnant and grow out of them) as well as the skirt above, which I practically live in these days because it’s so soft and comfortable, never wrinkles and hangs just right!
Last year our girls fell in love with skiing. Because of their enthusiasm, we made it a point to go multiple times rather than just once like we had in previous years, and it was amazing to watch their skills blossom (including two of our girls tackling their first double black diamond). For the upcoming year, our plan is to make skiing a priority from both a time and money perspective. We’ll probably ask for ski equipment as a family for Christmas to help offset some of the cost, and we’ve decided that instead of going to Snowshoe Resort for a few days, we’ll use that money to go weekly at our local resort (which offers a great locals discount), but there’s no denying that this is still a fairly expensive sport, especially with 5-6 skiers in the upcoming season!
Oh, books. Books also show up on my list of “things I don’t declutter,” and my ultimate goal is to have a children’s library not only for my own kids but also to eventually share with my nieces, nephews and grandkids. We do buy a lot of our children’s books used, but only so I can buy even more of them! I personally prefer reading on the Kindle, so splurging on books also includes buying ebooks for myself. Although I search my wishlist for deals to support my reading habit, I do buy one or two full-priced books each month as well.
You won’t find us staying in 4-star hotels or flying first class, and thus far we’ve stayed in the United States, but our family loves to travel—whether it’s a weekend away, a week at the beach or a few weeks visiting family—and we hope to do even more of that, including a trip out west that we’ve been talking about for years, in the coming years. I have friends who do this so much better than us—exploring every nook and cranny of each city they visit—and I’d love to start a fun tradition like visiting the library in every city we visit or taking photos of a family mascot at each landmark, but even without those things, there’s nothing we love more than a good road trip!
I don’t talk a lot about giving or even give publicly very often, preferring anonymous donations over ones associated with my name, but one thing Sean and I have always agreed on is giving generously and without reservation when we feel led. Sometimes that means committing to regular sponsorship, sometimes it means giving in emergent situations, and sometimes it means investing our time instead of just money. Although we give generously now, I have a (not so) secret goal of one day giving away 50% of our income. I don’t know how realistic that really is with 6 kids and on a single income (um, and a list of splurges), but it’s worth working toward!
How about you? What are your family’s splurges?