I had some time off of work, it was Mother’s Day, and it was also a few days before my birthday.
While I hadn’t planned on seeing my family until the holiday season, I really missed them, and I wanted to go.
Plane tickets to my hometown are pretty expensive, and there are always other costs involved in seeing my family, including meals in the airports, gas, etc. Yet, sometimes, even someone as frugal as myself just can’t help but swipe the credit card. Some things are more important than saving money.
Yet, this mindset can also lead to financial problems. If we weighed every situation with the mindset that we’ve “earned” a splurge, it can lead to credit card debt and set us back from achieving our goals.
So, how do you know when it’s a good time to splurge? Here’s how I decide:
1. When Did You Splurge Last?
I consider a “splurge” anything outside my normal budget. So, if it’s not meals, rent, utilities, or the budgeted money for small “extras,” it’s definitely a splurge. Other people might have different definitions. When I am considering splurging on something, I always ask myself, “When’s the last time you splurged?” For me, I looked back and realized I hadn’t even bought a new piece of clothing in 10 months. We live very frugally, and I knew that it had been a long time since I allowed myself to have a little something extra.
2. How Far Will It Set You Back?
Whenever you make a large purchase of any kind, it’s good to know how far it will set you back. Is it just a small portion of your savings or will you have to empty your entire emergency fund? In my case, although the plane ticket was expensive, I could afford it. I had the money in my savings account, and I had no plans to use it for anything else.
3. Does The Emotional Cost Outweigh the Financial Cost?
Sometimes, you have to weigh the emotional cost of purchases. For example, parents might spend extra money to travel to see their child graduate. Or, you might want to see a sick parent or grandparent before they pass away. These are the types of situations where you don’t want to regret not spending the money in the future. For me, although my mom would have completely understood if I didn’t fly to see her, I knew she would like seeing me for Mother’s Day. I knew it would really make her week, and I didn’t mind making the trip to see her happy.
As stated, asking myself these questions is just what works for me. Others might have different ways of deciding whether or not to splurge on something big. Either way, what’s important is that you think through your large purchases instead of mindlessly swiping your card. As long as you are thoughtful, weigh the risks, and can afford it, splurging is definitely okay every now and then.