None of them have been anything particularly exciting, like a new purse. All of these expensive purchases have been for my kids.
Still, every time I make an pricy purchase, I have to go through this exhaustive list of questions in my mind: Do I really need this? Will this make my life easier? What is the cost-per-use?
It’s gotten to the point where I really can’t buy a pack of gum without asking myself if it’s worth it.
My mind jumps to my budget and how each purchase will impact it. I know what it’s like to not have enough money in the bank, and I never want to go back there again. So, I find myself being extra careful with my purchases, even though I know I’m in a much better financial position than I was back then.
Over time, I’ve developed some rules for when it’s okay to purchase something expensive.
Here are some examples:
1. Special Occasions
My husband turned 30 this year, which is a big milestone. We haven’t gone out to properly celebrate it yet because he’s been studying for a big test, but when we do, I know we’ll spend a little bit more than usual on a nice meal out. We rarely go out to eat and have nice meals, but it will be a fun thing to do before our twins arrive in just a few weeks.
2. After I’ve Saved
There have been many times when I’ve saved up for a specific purchase over the course of several months. I’ve saved up for a new laptop, a nice anniversary vacation, and lots of other things. In fact, I saved $10,000 for expenses for my twins, and I’m glad I did since our medical bills have been substantially higher than we thought they would be. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have had that type of savings, but I’m so glad I do now.
3. For Daily Use
It might not be the most exciting or the most expensive purchase known to man, but over Christmas I bought myself a Keurig. Now, did I need a coffee pot that cost $85? No, I didn’t. But, I bought it as a gift to myself, and I have used it multiple times a day since then. I’d much rather have this electronic than a pair of $85 earrings that I might only wear once a week. Cost-per-use is an important factor for me with any purchase, so if I’m going to get enjoyment from it every single day, it’s much more worth it to me.
Ultimately, every single person is going to have a different threshold of what they are comfortable spending. As long as you can afford it and the purchase doesn’t plunge you further into debt or cause your family strife then I think it’s okay to splurge every now and then. I even think it’s okay to splurge often on something that makes your life infinitely better, like a cleaning service, as long as you take away and sacrifice on other parts of your budget.
Essentially, it’s all a give and take, but I’ve had luck by following the rules I’ve listed above.