A couple years ago, I decided to take the word “broke” out of my vocabulary. It’s not that we didn’t sometimes have times where money was tight. But I wanted to shift my language away from talking about money negatively, and to begin looking at the ways that I choose to spend my money. Because the reality is: when I’m able to afford a cell phone, cable bills, and an Internet connection… I’m not truly broke. I’m just choosing to spend my money in ways that don’t leave money for other things. For me, using this language and acknowledging the choices I make about money helped me be more accountable in the ways that I am spending, and also the ways that my spending affects my overall budget. It has also helped me be cognizant of the areas where I am willing to splurge, and the areas where I am not willing to spend money. Not because I’m broke, but because there are certain things that I don’t value spending money on.
Here are some of the things that I am willing to splurge on:
Theater tickets. I am a huge musical theater dork, and admittedly, theater tickets ain’t cheap. However, it is something that brings me a lot of joy. Because of this, I am willing to splurge on theater tickets even if it means that I have to scrimp and other ways. Lucky for me, I have a husband who is on board with this plan.
Travel. My husband and I love to travel. In fact, a love of adventure and travel was one of the first things we bonded over. So as the kids came, and our travel expenses mounted as a family of six, we were really feeling frustrated that we weren’t able to travel as much. Because it’s important to us, last year we had a sit-down and decided that we would start a travel account. Now, we take money out of our paycheck every month before it even goes into our bank account. It’s something we value, so it’s something that we want to budget in before we spend on anything else.
Shoes. Another area in my life that I am willing to spend big is my shoes. I am pretty frugal when it comes to my clothing, but the physical consequences of wearing bad shoes are just not worth saving money. As I’ve gotten older, I have noticed that when I wear cheap shoes, my feet and back started hurting pretty quickly. Also, cheap shoes just don’t last. I could go through several pairs of Target or Payless shoes in the course of the year, but a well-made pair of shoes could last several years. I am willing to spend a lot of money on shoes, however I do try to stick to neutral and timeless styles so that they aren’t going out of style in a few months.
On the other hand, here are the areas where we scrimp:
Drinks. My husband and I are big water drinkers. We don’t order soda when we go out to eat, and we don’t have drinks other than water in our home at any given time. We have extended this to the kids, so that we also save money on things like juice boxes and soda. The only time we really buy a drink other than water would be a special occasion. If we go out to eat, or when we send the kids to school with a packed lunch, it’s water all the way for this family.
Clothes. While I am willing to spend some money on shoes, I don’t extend the same philosophy to clothing. I have found that the quality of clothing doesn’t usually reflect the price you spend. I have a few pieces from Old Navy that had lasted well through the years, and I have also dropped a pretty penny on things from Anthropologie that barely lasted one wash. I find that the durability of clothing is unpredictable, and I typically try to buy clothing that isn’t very expensive. This goes for the kids too, especially since the boys are liable to rip a hole in the knee of any jeans I buy them.
Cars. My husband and I have never spent much money on our cars. Both of us drive cars that are over five years old, and we have never bought a new car. We don’t spend a whole lot of time in our cars, and to me it’s just not something I want to be spending money on. We do call my husband’s 10-year-old Civic the “humility car”. But while we joke about it, the state of our cars reflects our value system, and we just don’t value driving fancy cars.
How about you? What are the items or experiences you are willing to splurge on? Where do you save money?
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