Yet another holiday invented to make you spend money! Just what we need, right? But I’m sorta-kinda okay with National Splurge Day, as long as the splurges are done frugally.
In fact, I think you should splurge on something today – but that you should do so in as cost-effective a way as possible, and with an eye toward postponing future splurges.
Does that mean you can never have nice things? Not at all. In fact, what it means is that you can likely get those nice things faster – but only if you’re willing to grow up, wise up and stop ignoring future goals in favor of fun-right-now stuff.
You can buy yourself a manicure each week, or you can learn to do your own nails and put an extra $100 or so a month into retirement. Bonus points if you do this while you’re young, when compound interest is your bestest buddy.
You can have a beer with your pals after work every night, or you can cut it back to one or two nights out of five and then put the difference toward student loans.
You and spouse/partner can eat in restaurants/pick up takeout four or five times a week, or you can make cooking at home a fun project and dinners out a Friday-night treat. While chopping onions or stirring the sauce, keep in mind how much faster the “down payment on a home of our own” is growing.
Walking my talk
I’ve been avoiding a lot of extras myself lately, with an eye toward two upcoming trips:
- Phoenix and Austin at the end of July (mostly on business, but a little visiting and tourism as well)
- New Orleans in September, to attend (and speak at) the Financial Blogger Conference
Thus I’ve been talking myself down when I want food outside the home or some other treat: Sure, you COULD have this if you really want it. But every dollar you spend now is a dollar that won’t go toward, say, buying iced tea in Austin or beignets in the Big Easy.
Happy to say that it mostly worked. And the one time it didn’t? The treat didn’t taste as good, somehow. Later I realized it was because I’d bought it in a spirit of defiance, which is pretty funny when you think about it.
Basically: Me telling me, “You’re not the boss of me!” Which is unfortunately true sometimes.
But will I splurge today?
Yet I haven’t given up fun entirely. Tonight DF and I are attending the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcast of “Rigoletto.” The tickets aren’t cheap; I think they’re $20 each. (Splurge!)
This somewhat-pricey treat meets the criteria above:
- It’s as frugal as possible because I’m paying with discounted gift cards.
- It’s being done with an eye toward future goals, i.e., to enjoy those trips while still meeting daily expenses plus retirement saving.
Movies are about to change for me anyway. Linda and I both have decided to back off on the midnight screenings for now, to save a little money. Instead we’ll be seeing films on Tuesdays, when tickets are $5.25 all day. (Why does that still sound like a lot?)
We’ve also decided not to have any more movie snacks for a while. As much as I love this theater’s kettle corn – I think the “salt and sugar” they make it with is actually crack – going without for a while will help me in my current weight-loss goal as well as conserve those discounted gift cards.
I’ll be taking my $3-refill cup along (it’s a long-ish opera) so DF and I will have something to sip. Will we get popcorn with the weekly Cinemark coupon? Not sure yet. But if I decide to do it, I won’t feel guilty. It’s National Splurge Day.