We appreciate an extravagant purchase as much as the next guy, but even we can admit when superfluous spending goes too far.
Something about the word “splurge” sounds inherently decadent and unbridled. Hear it and you immediately get visions of gold supercars and coats made of unicorn fur dancing through your head.
But a splurge doesn’t have to be reckless. A money-minded man can learn to be mindful about his mindless spending, and indulge in the occasional treat without going into debt. Here’s how to splurge strategically and get the biggest bang from your hard-earned bucks.
Ugh, planning. So boring, right? And totally antithetical to splurging in the first place.
Wrong. In may not be the most exciting way to use your money, but it’s undoubtedly one of the smartest. Create a fund specifically for your splurges, whether it’s a separate savings or checking account, or just a wad of cash stuffed under your mattress. Put some aside every month just like you would for a retirement account or an emergency fund.
When you do feel the urge to indulge, you know exactly where the money is coming from and how much you can afford to spend, and you’re not taking it away from important things like rent or the electricity bill.
How you use your splurge money is up to you, so if you don’t want buyer’s remorse, you have to really understand who that You is. A jeans-and-tees guy would see no value in shelling out for a pricey custom suit, but to a sartorial man that suit could fulfill a life-long dream.
A first class flight might be wasted on a homebody who hates to travel. Or that ticket could be exactly what a homebody needs to minimise the pain of an experience he already considers agony.
You get the picture. Know thyself – get absolutely clear on what kind of spending brings you the most joy, and allocate your cash accordingly. Likewise, notice if an item of discretionary spending that doesn’t bring you sufficient happiness is taking up more than its fair share. Every dollar you spend there is a dollar taken away from something you actually love.
Align With Your Hours
A easy way to organise your spending – even your splurges – is to assess the usefulness of the purchase.
Let’s go back to that sartorial man. He has a wedding coming up and he’s tempted to buy his first tuxedo. He also needs a new suit for the office. Is the tux a worthy purchase? If his financial life is in order and he has no reason to restrict his discretionary spending, he’s free to achieve that milestone of manhood.
If he has to watch his splurging, however, the tux has to stay on his bucket list for a very simple reason: time. Put your money towards the purchases you’ll get the most hours out of. In this case, that’s the work suit. If he worked from home in sweatpants and went to weddings every weekend, the tux could be the winner.
Ask The Hard Questions
The hard thing about adulthood (well, one of them) is that you have to be hard on yourself. There’s no parent or teacher looking over your shoulder to prevent you from making stupid decisions. Your stupidity is yours to own.
That means asking yourself the tough questions when the occasion calls for it. You could try “Do I really need this?” but its power is limited. We’re experts at lying to ourselves.
A better option is “What if I don’t?” As in, “What if I don’t make this purchase? What else could I do with the money?” You may find no ideas that are equally or more appealing, in which case you’re free to splurge to your heart’s content. But you may find instead that you’d rather pay off your student loans, or upgrade your ancient laptop, or take a trip, or donate to a meaningful cause.
The unicorn fur can wait. Another idea? Splurge on experiences, not things.