Today we are all about spending money here at Luke1428. I know that’s quite a departure from what you might expect from a website devoted to guiding people towards financial freedom. Practicing frugality with our budget will help us pay off debt and create wealth over the long-term. However, are there times when it’s OK to splurge, to spend more money on an item than we otherwise could?
From my own experience I know there are times when expenses need to be slashed in order to make the budget work. Doing so means great sacrifice, usually at the cost of us missing out on certain things we would enjoy. Although I’m conscientious about our spending plan, I’ve come to realize over the years, through trial and error, that there are certain purchases I absolutely won’t skimp on.
“Skimp on.” That’s a funny phrase. When used as a financial term, it basically means to cut back, to economize on or to be stingy with. In other words, spend less than we could in a given circumstance. I’m a “skimper” in many situations, just not on these five items.
I Will Not Skimp On These…
Three years ago, my first running shoes were a pair of $35 Asics. I think Asics is among the top tier of running shoe brands out there but this cheaper pair didn’t do it for me. I was able to complete my first 5K with them but as my distance increased, upgrades were definitely in order.
One might think I would gradually progress upward in price, testing out pairs from the $50 – $75 range first. I was headed that route until, on a whim, I tried on a pair of $90 Saucony’s. Wow…what a difference! I ran my first marathon in those and loved them. Then last fall after the first marathon, I tested out the Brooks Glycerin. It was by far the most comfortable shoe I’d ever had on my foot. Price tag – $120. I’m now on my third pair of Brooks Glycerins, the current model coming in at $140.
For me the price is worth it. The technology and materials companies pour into these high end shoes help protect the feet and allow for a positive experience on the course. Running has become a passion of mine and I’m more than happy to pay up to enjoy this hobby.
Tires for the Car
Are you sensing a theme here at least with my first two items? Both contact the ground. The quality varies based on design and materials. The higher end product will be durable and provide a smooth ride. And both are involved with safety.
That last issue – safety – is a big deal for me. I haul four wonderful kids around almost every day in our van. The last thing I want to worry about is a tire issue. So I’ll gladly pay for a tire of higher quality. I’m certainly not going to a used tire store to make any purchases. (No offense meant to used tire stores or those who purchase from them.)
Well, Mrs. Luke1428 is butting her way into this one. It was originally just entitled “soap”, as I hate cheap soaps that leave a film on my body after a shower. You know – the kind in the bathrooms of every hotel chain. Call me a pretty boy if you like. I want quality soap that won’t dry my skin or make me feel like a sticky note when I’m done.
My wife echoes those feelings when it comes to her cosmetics. She has tried to skimp before by buying cheaper brands. These have often caused her face to break out, the result of some ingredient in the makeup not agreeing with her skin. So it’s either pay up for the higher quality cosmetics or wear nothing at all (the latter generally not being an option in public. Am I right ladies? How come I get the feeling I’m walking on thin ice here?)
This category covers the gamut of sleeping necessities – mattress, pillows, sheets with a high thread count and soft blankets and comforters. I spend 25-30% of each day in direct bodily contact with these items, so I might as well enjoy it, right? And it might cost a bit more to make that experience happen.
We found this out several years ago when we went mattress shopping. Our original mattress wasn’t anything special. The first one married couples purchase usually isn’t. After almost a decade, ours wasn’t cutting it anymore, especially for me as I was constantly waking up with lower back pain.
The minute I laid down on that Select Comfort bed in the showroom I was hooked (until I saw the price tag. Yikes!) It greatly stretched our budget at the time, but the reviews of the product and the quality of the item greatly impressed us. So we took the plunge.
It ended up being one of the best purchases we have every made. Our quality of sleep has improved and my back pain is nonexistent. Plus, the king size allows for a certain 5-year old boy to have some space in the middle on those nights when a thunderstorm pops up at 3:00 am.
I love vacations and the memories they produce. I know and have written about how memories can be created on the cheap. And we need to budget and save appropriately so that vacations don’t lead us into debt. I still look for vacation deals but generally speaking, I don’t mind paying for a quality trip that allows my family to experience unique people, places and events.
I shared last week with Tonya from Budget and the Beach how about a year before my wife and I were married, a friend of ours gave us a solid piece of advice. He said, “Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the honeymoon.” Most soon-to-be-married couples do skimp, worried about how they will pay the bills once they return home from the trip. So to save money, they settle for a second-rate trip they don’t enjoy and end up regretting it years later.
Taking his advice, we decided to go all out and spent a week in St. Croix. It was an incredible personal and cultural experience, well worth the money we put into it. Could we have had a great start to our marriage without such a trip? Sure. But I felt it bonded us in a special way and created some great memories that we have relived in our minds through the years.
As you can see, there are not many areas of my life where I splurge. I’m a fairly frugal person. Just not on these purchases.
And one final note: Don’t go into debt to pay up for an item. That move is financially counterproductive.
Questions: What item will you never skimp on and why? Have you ever been burned because you chose to skimp on an item?
Next Post: I’m Running Naked
Prior Post: That Moment When You Question Your Goals