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On a typical day I do my best to spend wisely. I try not to spend money on frivolous things or buy more than I need.
But sometimes I like to splurge. I like to stop at Dunkin Donuts on my way to work for a blueberry muffin. Sometimes I go to Target to pick up a prescription and come out with a new purse, and sometimes I will pay more for a little extra convenience.
There’s nothing wrong with any of this, I know. But as someone who is known for being frugal, who writes about it and gives advice others actually listen to, sometimes I feel like a fraud.
The thing is, there’s just as much of a lesson in this truth as there is in any advice I could give.
No one is perfect. And that’s okay.
In fact, spending money doesn’t make me a fraud. It makes me human. It makes me someone who knows the value of my money and what I’d like to spend it on.
Taken in small doses splurges can be good for your budget. Just as when you’re dieting, you have to allow for a few indulgences or the temptation becomes too great. It’s how we’re hard-wired. The challenge is splurging just a little; having a piece of cake, not the whole thing.
The key is to know the difference between good spending and bad, and that’s different for everyone.
Buying coffee is a luxury Mr. O gave up a few years ago when we decided to take control of our spending. Most days he brews a pot at home before heading on his way. However, when he has to get up for a weekend work event he plans to stop at Dunkin Donuts on his way. For him (and us), this small splurge makes his day better, and because it’s only an occasional happening, it’s not going to bust our budget.
On the other hand, I saw an ad the other day for a 32″ tv on sale. It was a great deal, really. And it would have gone great in our basement… where we already have a tv. Now, our tv is a beastly old tube tv that leaves much to be desired in terms of both design and picture quality. That said, I can count on one hand the number of times we turned that old relic on last year.
In this case, even a great deal is not a great deal.
Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you aren’t free to spend your money. It’s your money! Spending it doesn’t make you a frugal fraud, as long as you’re making thoughtful decisions.
Do you ever feel like a frugal fraud?