Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Are We Saving For?

Last week, I almost bought a shirt online that I wanted. It was marked down from $44.50 to $9.99 and I had a coupon code for free shipping. I put it in my virtual shopping cart, but ultimately didn’t buy it, or anything else.

I’ve wanted a pair of those trendy sporty sandals that are a cross between Mary Janes and sneakers for more than a year. Chuk has agreed that I would get lots of use out of them and told me I should buy them, but I still haven’t.

Yesterday I was craving a burrito from California Tortilla at lunch time, but ate my PB&J and apple that I brought from home instead.

Lest you get the wrong idea, let me just admit I’m making myself sound more virtuous than I am. In another post, I excerpted some conversations Chuk and I have had when trying to decide whether we should buy something or not. Let me give you another snippet.

Me: I think we should go to Ireland for our anniversary.
Him: Ok.

I think even the most frugal of people have to stop and ask themselves every once in awhile, “What are we saving for?” It’s not that I never want to spend money; the point is I want to spend my money purposefully on things that I really want and not just passing whims. Because we say no to spending on so many little things, we can afford to spend on some big things.

For me, travel is an integral part of my life. Traveling is when I am most happy, confident, and fulfilled. It brings me joy in a way nothing else ever has. To me, it’s worth spending hundreds of dollars on plane tickets even though it’s not worth it to me to spend five bucks on lunch. Although both are fleeting experiences, I get more pleasure per dollar on the plane tickets than I do on the burrito.

It’s a question of value (“Am I getting maximum enjoyment from this money?”) and priorities (“Is my money enabling me to get the things that I want the most?”). The answers to these questions are going to be different for everyone, but I think it’s important that we keep asking them of ourselves.

What are your splurges?


  1. I think I'll use your phrase as my new little mantra as I contemplate purchases. "Maximum enjoyment from this money."
    Very smart.

    My splurges. . .usually food. Usually fresh local stuff, but sometimes restaurants too. I just love food.
    Sometimes books, but moving a couple of years in a row really broke me of that kind of splurging. Books are just so heavy and our public library is literally a block away.

  2. This is an excellent post. Thank you so much!! I really needed this because I tend to want little things here and there..and sometimes I get a lot of enjoyment out of them, but we have some purchases we'd like to make that would really get more for our money.


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