Daily Archives: August 17, 2012

Startling Expenses: Splurging vs. Saving


Swistle wrote a fun post a while back about Startling Expenses that I just loved. The jist was that sometimes you just can’t fathom why people spend their money the way that they do, but that everyone makes financial decisions based on the things they value. It’s not a radical idea or anything, but I just loved the way she worded it (as usual.)

Anyway, it was fun to think about my own. The things we spend crazy money on and our reasons. But also, where we do not splurge at all. I thought it might be a fun little peek into the medicine cabinet of our budget.

Where We Splurge

*Our gym membership – So it’s $200 a month and the thought of paying that for a gym membership makes some people’s eyes roll back in their heads. I get it. But it’s totally worth it to us because A) Hi, results B) These people are like family and I never could say that about 24 hour fitness C) Personal Training style attention and guidance without the fees (when was the last time you saw a personal trainer being available to you 5 workouts per week for less than $25. Oh right, NEVER.) and D) Again, just because it’s worth repeating: results. Those things are important to me. But man, it’s a load of cash. I don’t fault anyone who wouldn’t prioritize that, but it works so well I’d give up cable before I gave up CrossFit. (Wait…no more Real Housewives? WHAT???)

*Groceries – I’ve mentioned a million times that our monthly grocery bill can sometimes hit $1000. CRAZY TOWN for just the two of us, I get it. But its not only 21 meals per week/84 meals per month, but it is also a huge part of our life: cooking is my favorite hobby. So is blogging and writing about food and my adventures with it. So it’s totally worth the price of admission.

*Fancy Coffee – I will not buy crappy coffee. Ever. Sorry. And while we’re at it, Sorry I’m Not Sorry. I am a Peet’s Coffee & Tea addict and at $17 a pound (and 2 lbs per week) it’s a pricey habit. Even with Garrett’s employee discount it’s expensive. But I will never ever ever EVER EVER change. I spent over 10 years working in coffee, I drink my coffee black, it’s got to be great. Period. Full Stop.

*Nice Bras – Ok, so truth be told Garrett doesn’t splurge on nice bras. 🙂 But I just cannot buy cheap bras. I sort of hate spending loads of dough on nice bras (especially because they aren’t even always all that fabulous) but I spent too many years wearing crappy bras and I have the embarrassing photo evidence to prove it. Sports bras, pretty bras, daily bras — I will shill out the cashola with no questions.

*Travel – Doing things, having experiences, seeing new places are all a major priority. I will find a way to finance and excursion even if it means having less stuff.

Where We Save

*Most Media – I have a serious library addiction. I’ve spent less than $75 on books, music, and general media in probably the last 3 years. I read A LOT but I get books almost exclusively at the library. Itunes? I never use it to buy music. If I am looking for a song I totally request the whole cd (I know — can you believe they still make cds?) And since Garrett and I go there about once a week together I always have time to thumb through magazines I might have previously splurged on. FOR FREE. I haven’t bought a dvd in maybe 5 years. If I can’t get request it at the library or stream it on netflix, I probably don’t want to watch it *THAT* bad. And we never go to the movie theater. I like doing that but I just feel like we never really have time, and it’s not something I try to *make* time for. I’ll just catch it on dvd.

*Dining Out – We just rarely do it. I love food and restaurants and chefs just as much as the next person, but (toot my own horn alert!) I cook pretty good food. No need to go out that often. When we do, it is usually because we are traveling, when it’s really inconvenient to cook at home, or when we want need Mexican food. This ends up being probably once every other month.

*We drive OOOOOOOLD completely paid for cars – Like really old. Mine is a 1999 with 150K miles. Garrett’s is a 1991 with 90K miles (it was his grandma’s and grandmas don’t drive anywhere OBVS) and it doesn’t even have air conditioning. What? But Holly, hasn’t it has been over 100 degrees for the last week in Sacramento? Yep, and we don’t even care. We just work around it, because did I mention: THEY ARE FREE. Also, the combined car insurance is less than $100 per month for crazy coverage.

Even though there have been times where we have had to fix things that seemed pricey at the time, they have cost us less money than a new car out right and WAAAAAAY less money than financing a car. We are looking into new cars for the future because they won’t last forever but right now and for the past 5 years, we’ve been super content to drive our old (FREE) cars. I like the feeling of all that cash in my pocket way more than all that Mad Baller Status that driving a Honda Accord would give me. 🙂

*Clothes on sale – First, you know me, I rarely buy clothes from stores fancier than Target/Gap etc. But more importantly I just don’t buy anything for full price really. There has to be a coupon, sale, deal or I will probably talk myself out of it. I spill things, my weight is changing, my style is fickle so expensive clothes just aren’t on my agenda. This could change in the future as our finances change (because I certainly ENJOY expensive clothes and shopping and expensive jewelry and all of it) but right now I am happy dressing myself up bargain basement style.

*Fancy Technology – Our TVs are small and not high tech. Our “nice” computer is 5 years old. I don’t own a Kindle, iPad or eReader. My laptop is TEN years old and hardly works. I’ve had an iPhone less than a year. Upgrading these things would all be super convenient, technology is a large part of my life and having fancy gadgets or better systems would totally be awesome. But it’s also a lot of cash and to us, right now, totally not worth it.


Have you ever thought about your startling expenses? What do you splurge/save on?

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