Everyday Cheapskate: How to Splurge on a Budget
I got the biggest shock of my life the day I realized that living on a budget wasn't the straitjacket or rigid "diet" I assumed it would be. It was my life as a credit card junkie that put me in financial bondage.
Living on a budget saved my life because it allowed me to get out of debt. It gave me my freedom. Want to know my secret for staying on a budget for so many years? I splurge. Seriously. And I do not feel guilty. I love nice things, and I love to travel.
Even while I was getting out of debt, I didn't banish all of these things from my life. In fact, my occasional guilt-free splurges are what helped me stay on a budget. Since I didn't feel deprived, I found it a lot easier to stick to my plan.
Calculated splurging is not difficult. In fact, I think you'll find it makes a lot of sense. And the bigger payoff is the financial maturity that comes with delayed gratification. Planning and waiting really does make you more appreciative.
MAKE A LIST
This is the fun part. Think about your splurges of choice. A haircut and color at a great salon? A luxe lipstick? A big-ticket item like a new laptop? Write down all the things you want. Get specific, but don't worry if you can't think of everything right now. You'll be changing this list often in the future. The point is that slowly, one at a time, you will find a way to work these splurges into your budget.
OPEN AN ACCOUNT
Whether it's a savings account at a bank, a credit union or SmartyPig (a totally trustworthy and legit online piggy bank), you need a place to save for your splurges. Make it a place that you won't be tempted to dip into yet is still convenient enough for you to make deposits.
REVIEW YOUR HABITS
Sure, you've always used that pricey salon shampoo, but it's important to ask yourself whether that's a meaningful splurge or just an old habit. Check the drugstore: You'll find great brands for a lot less money. Same goes for the grocery store. Do you need a specific brand of canned veggies, flour or cereal? Probably not, so go for the cheapest. Here's a good rule of thumb: Say no to say yes. In other words, cut back where it doesn't matter so you can buy the things that do.