We have recently decided to refinance our home and get rid of our debt/make home improvements. In doing this it has reminding me of several times in my life where I have either been rich, at least in my sense when you have more than five digits in my bank account. OR been eating ramen for weeks and pinching every penny to make rent. Most of the time I find myself in between where I can’t spend a fortune on the finer things but not poor enough that I can’t enjoy life at all.
And then one day, I read a post about splurging from this incredible blog- Single Dad Laughing
Dan talks about a friend who went and got a facial when they were too tight on money and he asked her how her could afford to spend money on it… His friend was honest and to quote her she said- “I can’t. But I just started this thing where I’m forcing myself not to live like a poor person every once in a while so that I don’t forget what I’m working toward.”
And her words made sense to me. In the middle of my penny pinching, I had somehow began living life as a poor woman, and completely forgot how I wanted to be living. Now don’t get me wrong if I had a million dollars and never had to worry about money again I would be set. But this is reality. Using all of your energy and time focused into making it possible to pay down debt, bills, etc. whatever the case may be and not into making things better for yourself or myself.
So I decided to follow their lead and make a list for myself. Things that I enjoyed when I was barely able to afford it. Things I’d just toss money toward any time I had the chance. The promised myself that I would find a way to do each of those things.
10 Things I Make Myself Splurge On At Least Once a Year
1. A expensive pair of jeans. You know what I’m talking about. You go to Wal-mart and grab a cheap pair of jeans and fix okay but you need to get a new pair because you current jean selection consist of holes and rips. Having a pair of jeans that actually fits you makes you feel sexy and comfortable. And the difference having a good pair of jeans makes on those tough days is insane. This is a must spend at least $50 or more on these jeans.
2. A nice meal. And I don’t mean head to Olive Garden and get the soup/salad combo and a nice glass of wine and expect that to count. I’m talking about your plate alone is $50 of steak and potatoes or a fancy piece of fish… Food is usually the first thing we start trying to save money on when we’re pinching pennies, and after being neglected, your body and your tastebuds really need some love. Yeah, get that kind of meal and remind your palate that the Top Ramen and spam is only temporary.
3. A mani/pedi. Ladies, most of us already know how essential a mani/pedi is when life drags you down. But this one is for the guys as well. Having someone else work on your hands and feet has to be one of the most soothing and calming things you can do. Besides, this one isn’t really that much money anyways.
4. A maid. This one is for everyone. I know that sometimes life just gets in the way and your dishes pile up, or the floor just keeps getting dirtier. And if you’re a parent you know that despite your best efforts, sometimes the house gets so out of control that you want to sit down and cry. There are times after I have had a crazy schedule for work/school/writing and Josh is the same that when I sit and look at the state of my house is just too much, and there isn’t a way I can get on top of it.This is when you grin and bear the call for a maid and ask them to deep clean for you. Even if its just a room. I promise you’ll come home and not want to touch anything. It will be so clean. So what I needed to see that day. Sometimes, I don’t know what it was about it, but that clean house gives you the oomph to jump back into everything else at full speed again.
5. An amazing dessert. For the dessert, pick a really fancy restaurant. Go sit at the bar. Don’t order any other food at all, then pick the best, most delicious looking dessert on the menu. It’ll probably cost you $10-$20. Who cares. You know that in real life you’re never going to order that kind of thing (let alone go out to eat), so go do it all by itself on a night that you need a win and do it for yourself.
6. A nice pair of underwear. Now this one is directly from Dan’s blog post but the way he says it is so perfect that I’m going to cheat and et you red his words.
“Have you ever spent $25-$35 on a single pair of underwear? Neither had I until I finally did (go figure). And I didn’t know what I was missing out on. The way it forms to your body, the way you don’t sweat and stink in it, the way you feel cool and fresh all day? It’s worth its weight in gold. And you really need only one really nice pair because you don’t need a really nice pair every day. Make them your special occasion underwear and wear them when you need them. Wear them on the days when you need good things to happen. It’s almost as if you can’t go wrong when you pull on a fresh, nice pair of undies.” – Single Dad Laughing
7. A nice pair of sunglasses. Now this one is usually hard for me cause I lose them or i don’t use them. But if you’re a sunglasses junkie this can end up paying for themselves. When you know you paid decent money for shades, you usually don’t lose them (unless you’re me). When you know you paid a dollar, you lose them pretty much weekly (totally me). This of course, can be a once every several years purchase if you can keep them around long enough.
8. Nice shampoo. NOW this one I 100% support. If your hair never feels nice, you are never going to feel nice. At least once a year, you should spend roughly $45 on a bottle of shampoo. The best part is, it lasts quite while (if your hair isn’t crazy thick or long)because you need way less of it to get the job done. That, and you don’t need to wash your hair every day because it stays clean so much longer. The more I used the cheap $1 bottle shampoo, the grosser I always felt my hair was. It was tough, and rough, and heavy, and fuzzy, and not nice to touch at all. Switching to nicer stuff ultimately saved me money but it also saved me from a lot more bad hair days, which will make your days pinching pennies feel a little bit easier.
9. A good laugh. Unnecessary entertainment is also one of the first things to go when money gets really tight. But every once in awhile, you have to get out and laugh. It makes life so much more bearable and more fun. It makes not having money be nowhere near as bad as it should be. So it makes sense, to make sure that once each year, no matter how poor I am or how many pennies I’m counting to pay for bills, that I find a way to buy a halirious movie or perhaps tickets to a stand-up comedy show. Sometimes, laughter really is our best medicine and I believe that filling that hole is a good thing.
10. A fun night out. This one is much like #9, but slightly different. A fun night out me could be bowling, or mini golf, heck last night we went to see Ed Sheeran at Red Rocks and let me tell you it was worth every single penny I will have to pinch to make up for it. Every in and out of life can seem awful and never changing but planning one fun night out and letting go of your worries for just one night can be fantastic. It can be just the thing you need to kick that everyday feeling in the butt, and get that skip back in your step.
And that was my list. But note guys, non of these things should be done on the same days you do the other things.
Actually doing these things have affected me so much that I’m going to continue to do them. No matter what odd things I have to do to make them happen.
What’s funny is, when you start focusing on making sure you can have a taste of the finer things every once in a while, my finances and life started turning around and got better and better until I could keep my list, add to my list, and even repeat things on my list without hurting at all. Sometimes just writing it down and putting somewhere you can see it and follow it makes it happen.
Which is why, if you’re struggling with money, I would challenge you to make a list of your own. And keep it, no matter what you have to do to make it happen.
Except murder for hire or dealing drugs. Don’t do that. I’ve seen enough TV shows to know that that never ends well for anyone.
There is just one life for each of us: our own.
p.s. Comments, please! What’d you think of the things on my list? What would you add to your list?