Today's guest post is from Heather at A Mother's Calling. She is sharing "the importance of a splurge" with us.
Some live frugally by choice and some live frugally out of necessity. Whatever the reason for frugal living, having a little splurge here and there can make it easier. These splurges help keep us going without feeling deprived. They help prevent the spirit of poverty from setting in. Why is that?
If you are at all like me, splurging can feel like failure; like I just can’t control myself. Splurging financially can create the same kind emotions in the frugally minded that binging does for those on a diet. The guilt! The frustration! And even hopelessness. That’s why many nutrition experts recommend planning in a treat now and then for those trying to make dietary changes. Feelings of being deprived can lead to indulgences that really do frustrate our plans. However, planned splurges can satisfy some of the desires without breaking the bank, so to speak.
I used to get frustrated with my husband for “indulging” and buying wine when the budget was so tight. Didn’t he know what I could buy with that money? He did not buy a lot of wine, but it still annoyed me. I went without the things I desired and I resented his “self-indulgence.” Never mind all the sacrifices we were making. This one splurge helped him say no to a hundred other things that he would have liked to have or do.
Once I finally realized that it was o.k. to give myself a little gift now and then, it really did ease the tension. And it didn’t take all that much. I really enjoy dark chocolate. Buying a dark chocolate bar now and then made me feel rich somehow. One quiet hour with a cup of tea and dark chocolate seems to sooth and restore my soul, and enables me to be CHEERFULLY frugal rather than resentful.
We are all different and our frugal living looks different as well. For some, frugal living means eating out only once a week, for others it means eating out once a month. And for others, they literally never eat out. Likewise, splurges will look different for each individual and family. We live on a very tight budget, so my splurges are small. Because of this, I make sure they really count. If I am going to cut into my budget to get something special for myself I am going to make sure that it is something that I really want and will thoroughly enjoy.
Beyond personal splurges, there are splurges that make your cooking, homemaking or family life much easier or enjoyable. These should be chosen wisely as we can often justify our wants as needs. Some things make living the frugal life much easier. If you are cooking all your meals at home but never fix anything special for your family, they are likely to end up resenting your frugal lifestyle. In our home we try to make one special meal a week that the family can look forward to. The rest of the week it might be beans and rice but everyone knows that they can look forward to a great weekend meal. It might be homemade pizza , lasagna, or chicken fettucini. Whatever it is, it will be something the whole family enjoys.
Here are some possible splurges that can help give life a little more zing:
- Dark chocolate and a quiet afternoon.
- A nice glass of wine now and then.
- A date night out, even if it is just for fast food or splitting a meal.
- Good quality coffee.
- Getting a Starbuck’s now and then.
- Going out to a movie.
- Bringing pizza home for the whole family.
- Buy a pretty scarf to jazz up an older wardrobe.
These are just a few examples of some splurges that can help ease the tension that builds up while living the frugal life. Frugality doesn’t have to feel like punishment, and rewarding ourselves for a job well done goes a long way. I encourage you to find those little splurges that feed your soul and bring joy to the journey.
Heather Anderson is a wife, and mother to seven children, and is trying to create a life of beauty and purpose at home. She knows that a mother’s duties covers just about every area of life, and that can be overwhelming. That is why she tries to encourage women in the vital role of mother over at A Mother’s Calling.