After I paid off my final debt in December 2008, I really wanted to treat myself to a ginormous leather designer handbag. Reluctant to abandon the habits that led to debt freedom, I set a $500 cap* on this piece of shoulder art that’d accompany me for all of 2009.
After telling a friend of my purchase decision, I received a strange response.
“What?! You can spend $500 on a handbag, but you won’t pay someone to professionally do your hair?”
Mmkay. I tell another friend of my intentions.
“That’s crazy! You mean to tell me, you can’t buy a soda at a restaurant, but you can spend $500 on a purse?”
*Sigh* All of a sudden I felt a need to justify a decision that needed no justification. I was out of debt. I had a reasonably sized cash savings in the bank. And most important, I could afford it.
When you publicly proclaim your desire for financial stability and you mention part of acquiring that desire includes a heavy focus on limiting cash outflow, you’ll get a lot of judgmental stares when you decide to buy – well – anything. Perhaps that’s an overstatement. But saving money, unlike spending it, isn’t a recreational activity.
Presumably, you’re saving for a reason. And it’s okay if you don’t know what that reason is yet. When the mood strikes to buy something you want, you’ll enjoy/use, and you can afford, don’t feel guilty about what you spend your money on. Unless you want to do something dumb like “make it rain” in the club, go ahead and use that hard-earned and hard-saved cash for whatever disgusting, vain, or dorky product or service your heart desires.
To answer my friends’ questions…Yes. I am willing to forgo five professionally done hairdos or 250 overpriced and watered down restaurant sodas for an awesome handbag. I can do my own hair (I don’t anymore) and water is healthier anyway.
If you want to spend your money on clothes, home renovations, NASCAR memorabilia, or mountains of toys for your kids, then I applaud you. Hopefully, you’re deriving great satisfaction from these purchases. Isn’t that the point? What have you bought that others might consider frivolous? Is there anything you want, but wouldn’t buy because you think it’s too superficial.
*Not that I’m afraid of losing any frugal street cred, but I ended up buying a $40 purse I absolutely loved that lasted nine months. I had a price ceiling of $500. I never said anything about a floor.