To start this off I will admit I like to spend money. I feel good doing it most of the time and I go out at times just to find something to spend money on. Although I am learning to curb this a bit…
I am not Frugal
I read a lot of blog posts where the blogger is constantly looking to save money. Coupons, buying the cheaper brands over name brands, holding off on something because its a want and not a need. On that last part is where I take exception to the most. I find being happy a need, and if buying something makes me happy then I see no problem with doing it. Take cable for instance, many will cancel to save a bit of money and go another route like hulu or netflix. Me I like having the ability to sit down and watch my favorite shows live. I typically watch cable shows on sci-fi, comedy central, or history and they are not always on these other outlets. So I dont mind paying the extra for cable.
Goes with other things like our pets. I know they will have a long term cost but they make me happy and I dont hesitate to buy them things. Same with the fish tank I just went and got all fixed up and stocking up, I enjoy watching my little fishes (Its relaxing) so I didnt hesitate when I went out and spent almost $200 on fixing it up, and I plan on buying another soon!
Some have had ‘no eat out months’ to save on money. I’m not into fast food more for health reasons but after picking up my daughter from school I have no problem running out to Jamba Juice to get us a couple smoothies and spend time together. Makes me happy!
These are all done to save money for our savings, retirement and debt payments or whatever. Thats all fine and well, but what is the point of doing all this hard work and saving if you cant enjoy life now and be happy in this moment. Dont get me wrong Im all for paying off debt and saving for the rainy day and retirement, I am doing all those things. Just dont go so hard at it that you are sacrificing enjoyment of life now.
On the other Hand
Now when I need to spend money on something and it dosent bring me a direct experience, I guess would be the way to put it, I do hesitate and do go the more frugal route. The best example I can think of is my face. Yes Like all men I need to shave (and should do so more often). Im always telling myself I need an electric razor (because im lazy). I do some research and have one picked out. I say I deserve the best and I’m tired of the cheapos that dont work right or for long. I go down to a store and see it then start to look at others, comparing… what features do I really need, do I really need this $200+ one. Then after about a half hour of contemplating I finally tell myself nawww I’ll stick to the disposables and save the money (I make those go a long way)
Be Smart Instead
I guess what I am trying to say is their are times to be frugal but dont make it a lifestyle to the point that your happiness suffers or even the happiness of your family. Now Im not saying run out and get lots of credit cards and debt to buy all the things that make you happy. You still need to exhibit some responsibility while spending if you really cant afford it, then dont. I just feel sometimes in this personel finance community that if Im not putting every cent to savings or a debt I have done some evil. You need to have a balance.
I read one blog (I think it was Andrea) where she made it work where she got an xbox or something for her son and she got ripped in comments because she was trying to justify it. She shouldn’t have to justify it to anyone but herself, it made her son happy and she was able to do it so why not?
I do budget, but not every penny. I do save and I do contribute to retirement accounts. But I also do spend when I WANT something that will make me or my family happy.
Are you an extreme frugal person? Do you skimp when it comes to things that make you happy?