I was chatting with a fellow new-homeowner this weekend about splurging. She and her husband are using up some flight credits and going on a trip in a few weeks. It’s a spur of the moment thing, and she’s feeling guilty about it since they just bought the house and we have been ranting about the unemployed friend who has been squandering her money (the money she doesn’t have).
I reminded her that there’s a difference – they’re splurging and they can afford it. Sure, they could put the money towards the house, but this is a trip they want to take (and they would lose the flight credits if they don’t use them). It will be a fun, worthwhile trip. And they’ll have money later to put towards the house. They’re paying their bills, they aren’t in debt to anyone (except the mortgage company, of course), so why not have a little fun?
I think we all need to splurge a little. Even if you’re trying to dig yourself out of debt, if you keep yourself to a strict budget and don’t leave room for any fun, you’ll end up angry and bitter, or worse, you’ll end up splurging way beyond your means. How much to splurge depends on you and your situation. Maybe you get a Netflix subscription, maybe you buy a new book every month, maybe you take one frugal trip a year.
Life is all about balance. You just have to remember to keep that balance.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.