Do You Splurge?

Do you splurge?A person new to HowToSaveMoney.ca might think that I’m a tight fisted miser who bends down to pick up every penny - or should I say nickel? - off the street and then goes home to curl up in bed and snuggle with my piggy bank while laying on my mattress stuffed with cash.

As enticing as that sounds, it simply isn’t so!

My goal in life is to save as much money on everything I can so I have more money left over to live a good life and to splurge on the things I enjoy! No, I don’t believe we need oodles of money to be happy, but I do definitely enjoy spending it on some things and I’d be lying if I said it never brings a smile to my face. I’m human like the rest of you, and we all like to spoil ourselves from time to time.

My Favourite Splurges

I’m a pretty frugal guy but I’ve come to value time a lot more than money over the years as I’ve been trying to run this site while balancing a full time job and family with two kids. Thankfully this is my full time job now which has given me some breathing room, but keeping things going around here is still like several full time jobs all rolled into one, so time is always at a premium.

That said, many of my splurges involve either buying back time or spending money to maximize whatever free time I do have. Then, there are several more related to rewarding myself for working hard and a job well done. Rewards for good work was ingrained in me at a young age and I haven’t been able to shake it since.

1) Healthy Food

After many years of “negotiation” with my wife, she convinced me that trying to count pennies when it comes to food doesn’t make a whole lot of cents (pun intended), because there is nothing more valuable than our health. I used to be a extreme couponing wannabe that shopped at 4 or more grocery stores always buying the loss leaders and applying a coupon whenever possible.

The simple fact is that whole natural (often organic) food doesn’t usually go on sale and there are almost never any applicable coupons. Who knew?!

Fortunately, with the introduction of the Loblaws PC Plus rewards program, I have been able to earn some points even on healthy food. One time I earned $80 worth of points on a $150 purchase, which definitely put a grin on my face reminding me of the good ol’ days.

When we’re at the grocery store I just close my eyes and put the healthiest (read ‘expensive’) ingredients in my cart while barely glancing at the price to prevent myself from throwing up in the grocery aisle.

2) Travel

There’s just something mystical about traveling and seeing the world. I didn’t use to be a huge fan but over the years have grown to love it for the culture, the experience, and the relaxation (hello Caribbean!).

We’ve been fortunate enough to travel across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia. It has slowed down a lot since we’ve had kids, but we hope to gradually increase our travel time again as the kids get older.

Related: Tips For A Better Travel Experience

Thankfully, due to all the money saving techniques I am aware of, many of the costly travel expenses like airfare and accommodations have been purchased at drastically reduced prices or even free. However, once we arrive at our destination, the purse strings open and we just focus on having a good time for the short time we are there.

I look forward to sharing lots of travel tips with you all in the near future.

3) Heat

It’s cold here in Canada - duh, eh?

That said, it’s always warm in our house as we almost never skimp on heat. I’ve started to turn down the thermostat some and try to wear warmer clothes but for years it wouldn’t be uncommon to see someone walking around our house in shorts, even in the dead of winter.

Related: New Clothes Can Be Cheaper Than Second Hand

Life’s too short to spend your days freezing in your own home, at least that’s my thinking. It doesn’t hurt that my wife is from a southern climate and that I have young kids to keep warm either.

This was fine when we lived in an efficient newer house but since we’ve moved to a much older and bigger house, it gets incredibly expensive in the winter time. I’m trying to curb the expense and we’ll definitely be looking for maximum heating efficiency in the next house we purchase.

4) Eating Out

With the busyness of life and the never-ending chores and work it seems to entail (especially when always preparing healthy meals from the most basic ingredients), we just love eating out. No shopping, no cooking, no cleanup, and very relaxing - what’s not to love?

This is our way of taking a break from the mundane and from super healthy eating. In some of our busiest months, I can barely fathom how much money we’ve spent on restaurants. I try to lower this cost by using entertainment coupon books and looking for other creative ways to save money, but it is still uber expensive - but totally worth it.

5) House

We didn’t get the dream house right out of university or anything, but I do dream of having a relatively large well-appointed house someday. It’s materialistic, I know, but I spend so much time at home that I want to love my living space from top to bottom. Someday...

6) Car

I think it’s well known by now that I don’t drive old clunkers, at least not at first anyway. I have a system that keeps my car expenses super low on an annual basis, but I still do buy a new car every so often which is considered to be a mortal sin by some personal finance gurus. There's plenty of advantages to be had by doing this though and it actually doesn't end up costing a whole lot more than regularly buying used.

7) Technology

I’m a techy through and through. Technology is my job and technology is my life. I always wait for deals on technology and really hold back on buying the latest and great gadgets, but I still own a lot of technology.

Related: THE Big List Of Canadian Technology Stores

We currently have 9 computing devices in the house when you count desktops, home theater PCs, tablets, and cell phones and they are all well-used. I dream of having a full high-end surround sound system and a fully automated home, but I’m a long way off from that. I’ve never actually owned a home theatre system and I think my newest stereo system is almost 10 years old cost less than $100 (I got it for free from Shoppers Drug Mart with points).

8) Making Memories

When it comes to making memories, the sky is almost the limit when it comes to spending money. Travel and eating out are the biggest expense in this category, but I also don’t shy away from going to the movies, visiting local attractions like water parks and the zoo, or even booking a helicopter to fly over Los Angeles. If you only have one chance in a lifetime to do it, then do it I say (within reason)!

9) Preserving Memories

Speaking of memories, I will pretty much ‘OK’ any expense related to preserving those memories for the future on our walls or in photo books. I try to find deals and coupons to lessen the cost, but I just can’t say no to lovely photo enhancements of our smiling children enjoying life. Things might not always be this good, so I want to capture the good times while they last!

Related: Don’t Overpay For Computer Memory Upgrades

10) Hired Help

Labour and services are among the most expensive things you can buy because the cost is ongoing and people are among the most costly resources there is. That said, we gladly shell out for a house cleaner to give us a few extra hours a week of family and personal time. Otherwise, we might never relax.

I’ll also gladly pay someone to help me with running this site to free up my time so I can focus on what’s important. I’ve paid developers, graphic artists, and other hired help and will continue to do so as long as I can afford it.

What Do You Splurge On?

Whew! This article might as well have been called “The Top 10 Ways I Splurge” - but the last thing this world needs is another “top 10” article, am I right? I honestly didn’t expect to come up with so many but fortunately our financial savvy and hard work has made it all possible without sacrificing our future.

I know I’m not alone in this either. Let me know in the comments your favourite things to splurge on and look out for my latest top 10 article next week! I’m only (partially) joking.

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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Comments

Barry @ Moneywehave's picture

It should be no surprise that I like to splurge on travel. Travel is a life experience and I'm happy to spend money on experiences vs. physical things. The other thing I like to splurge on is a good haircut. Something about a perfect cut makes me feel great.

March 04, 2015 @ 6:12 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I can tell by your profile picture Barry that you are a man that loves a good haircut - you're looking sharp! I often only go get mine cut once every 3 months and I admit that sometimes it is a disaster. The reason I don't is mostly because I have a hard time squeezing in the time to go do it, there's always something I would rather do.

March 05, 2015 @ 11:14 am
Jill
Jill's picture

I'm with you - save where you can so you can splurge on the things that will save you time or bring great pleasure. Here is an example from my life this week. I have the great pleasure to be renting a house in Mexico this winter and I have been arranging the travel for our adult kids to join us next week. I have spent a lot of time finding flights and hotels enroute that save money without safricing time - using points where possible, and cash when it makes more sense. So here is the splurge - we like entertaining and have 8 people we want to invite to dinner when the kids are visiting. But we don't want to spend valuable time shopping, cooking and cleaning while our kids are here. So we have hired a caterer - a French chef to make a meal in our own home. It's a splurge for sure, but it will cost much less than if we were to do so at home in Canada. For about $45 a head we will have a 5 course meal, prepared and served by a pro, in the open air under a beautiful Mexican sky. A special night with friends and family. For $500 we will have a night to remember - a splurge to remember.

March 04, 2015 @ 7:08 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's fantastic Jill - you paint a wonderful picture for sure. The only time I've ever hired a caterer was for my wedding, but when you're in Mexico and you have the opportunity to do something like that for a reduced cost, I would definitely consider it. I think you could easily spend $1,000 on a 5 course meal for 8-10 people at a moderately fancy restaurant here in Canada even without ordering drinks. So, paying $500 for an all-out meal in your home under the stars where the atmosphere is bound to be better than any restaurant is totally worth it!

March 05, 2015 @ 11:17 am
Frugal Guy with Balance
Frugal Guy with Balance 's picture

I am also with you.. I am considered frugal perhaps I would pickup pennies up off the street.
My family would agree with those comments but I am very comfortable in my own skin.

I am able to spend a couple of months in Mexico each year and was able to fly both kids and spouses down to visit for a vacation. I am going to make this an annual holiday after all you said it yourself preserving memories.

It also gives me the ability to give back because a lot of those pennies go to food banks, shelters, Sally Ann etc.

March 04, 2015 @ 11:22 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Don't worry, I've been known to pick pennies and nickels up off the street myself and probably still would if I saw one - no judgment here!

Congrats on turning your frugal ways into fantastic memories by being able to afford a lovely trip to Mexico for you and your family. I think it's great when people use their savings to donate to charity as well - a great use of the extra funds.

March 05, 2015 @ 11:19 am
My Own Advisor's picture

Healthy food, travel and some nice dinners out - I'm with you there. You gotta live!

We buy new cars every 15 years, so I've only owned a few of them :)

Mark

March 05, 2015 @ 10:06 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

15 years is about my target timeline for new cars as well Mark but I've really only ironed out the fine details of my car buying and maintenance system in the last few years and life changes forced me to upgrade to a bigger vehicle with more room for car seats and baggage.

Here's to living!

March 05, 2015 @ 11:21 am
Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist's picture

One thing I'm generous with is presents for loved ones. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be in the great financial position that I'm in now.

March 07, 2015 @ 7:58 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's a good one Sean. Sometimes we do the same as well. There is nothing better than family and giving them the appreciation they deserve.

March 11, 2015 @ 9:00 am
Kay
Kay's picture

Like you, we save where we can on most things that we buy (needs); so we can splurge on other things (wants). When our home needed new windows, we definitely wanted a quality product and something that would be maintenance free; but we did not want vinyl windows. We chose window/door products that had a fibreglass exterior but that had a wood interior that could be stained or painted. We also had the interior parts of the windows/doors professionally stained & varnished which bumped up the price. It took us a bit to save up the funds to purchase them; but now that they are in... we know it was a splurge, but well worth the higher cost.

March 13, 2015 @ 12:52 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Buying the right quality products that will last you a lifetime is often the best decision. If you end up buying something inferiour, you will often be tempted to replace it later at a much higher cost and you'll have fewer years to enjoy it. Of course, this only makes sense if you can afford it.

March 13, 2015 @ 2:36 pm
Chantal
Chantal's picture

The splurging on getting the stain/varnish done with your new windows - totally think that is/was a good idea!

My parents chose to not get the optional finishes (stain/varnish/paint) around the inside windows and door frames, figuring they would save a chunk of money by doing it themselves. Which they will save money, and they will do it themselves.....it just might take them 20 years to get around to it!!!!

LOL :D

.....well....It was over 6 years ago they got the doors//windows done and still there is wood (or looks like wood) exposed on the inside frames...tsk tsk.

My opinion:
In this situation - pay the extra and get it done, especially if you aren't going to get around to it or it would cause a lot of stress or anxiety over it...life's too short!

August 24, 2015 @ 7:48 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Yes, life is definitely too short. Save where you can but spend when it is too inefficient to do it yourself for sure.

August 27, 2015 @ 11:02 pm

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