What Do You Splurge On? - Live Like a Mensch
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What Do You Splurge On?

Photo of a food that was surely first eaten as a dare courtesy of THOR.

As much as saving money is important, it's also good to remember that we earn money specifically so that we can use it. And one good use of money is to occasionally splurge on ourselves.

For me and J, our splurges tend to be very modest or rather enormous--either a hunk of brie at Trader Joe's, or a big vacation to Seattle. We don't do middlin' splurges.

This is problematic because I currently have $200 birthday check burning a hole in my pocket. It's enough to buy me brie every week for several months, but not nearly enough to vacation on. And because I tend to either go large or small with my splurges, I'm really stymied as to what I should spend it on.

So I was wondering what The Dollar Stretcher community considers a good splurge. I'd love to hear from you all. Not only might this give me some ideas, but I also find it interesting to know what constitutes money well spent for other people.

Here's hoping I'll have figured it out before my next birthday rolls around.



anneb10 said:

As a big reader, my big splurge is on books. If I can't find what I want at the used book store, I will hit up the retail places - if I have a coupon or other type of discount to hand.  

February 12, 2013 8:14 PM

haverwench said:

Here's what psychologists have learned about how spending contributes to happiness:

1) Money spent on experiences is more likely to make us happy than money spent on stuff. (Hence, your choice to splurge on vacations is likely a sound one.)

2) Small indulgences that occur on a regular basis bring more happiness than big one-time splurges--e.g., a coffee and Danish every Sunday as opposed to a gourmet meal at a fancy restaurant once a year on your anniversary. (Thus, you're also on the right track with the Brie.)

3) Money spent on others, whether in the form of charitable donations or gifts to family and friends, brings more happiness than money spent on yourself.

Of course, there are some grey areas. For example, buying books, as anneb10 suggests, is really buying the experience of reading them. And buying something for yourself could also be a way of giving pleasure to others (e.g., fancy underwear that you think your husband will really like). So there's a bit of wiggle room.

So if you want to spend this $200 in a way that will maximize your enjoyment of it, what I would suggest is splitting it up into $20 increments and giving yourself an extra $20 of "mad money" to spend every month for the next ten months. And then, to double the impact, look for ways to spend that $20 each month on an experience, like a movie night or a coffee date. Or a hunk of Brie every week. Or a gift for a friend. That way, instead of enjoying your birthday gift just once, you get to keep enjoying it throughout the year.

February 13, 2013 9:11 AM

PamH said:

Our family just splurged on tickets to see Disney's Lion King for Broadway. It's coming to city near us in May and we are so excited! I would say that's a middlin' splurge with tickets for the four of us about the same amount as your birthday check. I like the fact that we'll be making memories, but it's close enough that we won't have to spend large amounts on food and lodging as well.

February 13, 2013 10:28 AM

Juneflower said:

You can get double or triple the pleasure out of a book splurge if you buy something a friend would love, lend the book to that person, and then discuss it.  It's like going out to dinner, far more fun to share with a companion.  

Second splurge is an upgrade on a decorator item, so you can enjoy it every day.  

Third:  a day trip, well documented.

February 19, 2013 11:32 AM

Live Like a Mensch said:

As I've mentioned previously , I'm a big believer in aiming for a modest (under $500) tax refund

April 16, 2013 5:34 PM

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