License to Splurge

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a couple of my girlfriends, plus my husband and maybe mom to give me the go-ahead to spend on myself. There is all this advice that we should stop drinking coffee or eating avocados because those tiny expenditures will add up to a million bucks and before you know it you just missed out on being a millionaire. Crazy, I know!

What is the point of life and working hard if we can’t give ourselves little pleasures? I also learned that if we do not spend on ourselves, we become bitter. There was a time when it felt like every other phone call that I got from home was about bad news death, illness, broken down vehicles, etc. – and all of these things required money. A lot of the way I think about money is informed by my own experience living away from home at a very young age and doing so at a time when the Zimbabwean economy was in free fall. A friend of mine came up with a suggestion- she said for every western union trip we made we should buy ourselves something nice, ice cream or a dress.

So how do we splurge responsibly? Ladies and gents, I know you want to get your hair done, nails, get those nice running shoes, yoga pants, nice phone, bigger TV the list is endless. We all have things that we want. Here are a few ways that you can work towards splurging responsibly in a way that is in line with your goals and doing so without breaking the bank or diving into the emergency fund. I know that sometimes getting your hair done feels like an emergency, but it is not an emergency fund worth crisis, so don’t even think about it.

1. Make a list of your wants
2. Get a sense of how much you spend on your desires per month. I would suggest printing out your bank and or credit card statements from the last year and highlighting all the wants. If you use online banking, you can request these nice-looking graphs for your expenses. I did this exercise at the beginning of the year, and the results shocked me. I had not realized just how much I was spending on traveling.

You can break down to the merchant, which is nice. Doing this small exercise forced me to be very honest with myself about what kind of things I spend my money on and how I can make adjustments to those expenditures.

3. Set up a small budget for your splurge!  Yes, budget it in. If you know that you spend $20/week on coffee, then add $20 to your weekly food budget. Consider how your numbers change when you add in all these small things. If you suddenly find yourself over budget, then look through your budget and find places to make cuts. For example, if you are paying $26 for a gym membership that you have only used once but you ride your bike more then maybe consider canceling the membership and adding to your bike maintenance budget.
4. Save over time for bigger or costlier splurges like a vacation. Vacations are fantastic, but you do not need a vacation every month. I will write in a separate post on how to budget for holidays more productively.
5. Enjoy life a little 🙂