Budgets are tough. It’s easy to want things and so much harder to say no. Saying no to yourself does get easier over time, but it helps if you leave enough room in your budget for the occasional indulgence. It’s like a diet. Everyone knows that eating lots of fruits, vegetables and fiber will keep you healthy, but the occasional chocolate bar does no harm and may offer some benefit as well. Similarly, treating yourself to a small spending indulgence or luxury once in a while keep you sane and keeps the process of saving enjoyable.
Don’t spend for the sake of spending, but pick something that will genuinely make you happy. I have two main areas that I like to splurge on once in a while.
Three to four times a year, I get my hair cut and coloured at my favourite salon with my favourite stylist. It costs me over $200 including tax and tip. Yikes! Over the course of the year, that’s at least half a mortgage payment! But there is little better than having your head massaged, your hair pampered, and coming out of the hair salon with picture perfect hair two hours later – at least for me! Ditto for the occasional facial or laser treatment.
Frugal hacks: You can get AMAZING haircuts from top salons for free, or almost free, simply by volunteering to be a hair model for their apprentices. These cuts usually include a head massage and styling. When I don’t feel like I have the money to splurge on cuts and colours, this is what I do. You can also get cheap massages and esthetic treatments from make-up and esthetic schools.
I don’t go to the coffee shop to get a daily fix, but I do like going there once a week or once every two weeks to enjoy a really good, well made latte or mocha. I can’t make these at home. Instead, going out for a latte with my friends lets me enjoy a decadent drink (one cup is more than I spend on food in a day!) while having quality social time with the people who are important to me.
Frugal hacks: First, many coffee places will give you free refills if you bring a mug or sign up for a membership. Take advantage of it to stretch out a lazy afternoon at the coffee shop with friends. Secondly – not so much a hack as a suggestion – It’s easy to spend too much, especially on alcohol, when out with friends. Focus on conversation and interaction rather than mindlessly sipping a drink while watching the overhead TV and chances are, you’ll spend much less.
Those are the two things I indulge in the most and I never regret either of them! Importantly, I don’t “steal” from my budget to indulge in these things. Coffees always come out of my pre-allocated spending money and hair cuts come out of my flex money, supplemented by money from my side jobs.
What do you indulge in?