The hubby and I are paying off $117,000 of student loan debt in three years on entry-level salaries. This forces us to live an extremely frugal lifestyle. People often ask me if there is anything I do splurge on. I rarely splurge, but there are a few things I still spend extra money on. Here are three things I splurge on even while paying off debt.
I could save money (in the short-term) by buying junk food and processed snacks, but it’s not worth it to me. I recently lost 35 pounds, and I’m trying to reach a goal of losing 15 more. I eat a whole food, vegan diet – it’s not super cheap, but I feel it’s worth splurging on.
I spend about $80/week on my whole food diet – I keep the cost reasonable by not buying organic, not shopping at expensive grocery stores like Whole Foods, and only buying what I will actually use. I could save more money by using coupons and only purchasing foods that I have coupons for, but I’m an extremely picky eater and I prefer to eat the same foods every week.
I personally believe that no matter how frugal you are, the safety of yourself and your family should be your number one priority. That does not mean that everyone should buy a brand new “safe” car or an expensive house that’s way more than they can afford just because it’s in a “nice” neighborhood. Here are some safety-related items I “splurge” on.
–Salt for the icy driveway/sidewalk – this is actually pretty cheap, but when you live in Minnesota, you end up using a ton of it in the winter. Still, it’s not worth slipping on ice and breaking your neck just to save a few bucks.
-A warm coat – I live in a place where -25 degree temperatures happen once in a while (I’m not talking about wind chill here; I mean ACTUAL temps). If you also live in the northern part of the U.S., having a warm coat is important. If your car were to break down when it’s -25 degrees out, frostbite could occur within a few minutes.
–Decent shoes – cheap shoes may save you money in the short-term, but if you trip and break an ankle, they could end up costing you a bundle in ER fees.
–Car repairs – I don’t need a fancy new car (I drive a 16 year old car), but I don’t want to be driving with brakes that don’t work properly, bald tires, or an airbag that won’t deploy in case of an accident.
A few years ago, my phone (which wasn’t a Smartphone) broke and I bought a Windows 8 phone. Anyone who has used Windows 8 knows how much it sucks. With a pay as you go plan, the phone was $100 and the plan was $65/month. It was incredibly frustrating to be paying that much for something that was not at all user-friendly.
My husband mentioned this to my mother-in-law, and she suggested that I join their family plan. Because there are so many people on their plan and they’ve had Verizon forever, I was able to get an iPhone 5c for $100 with a $45/month plan.
(*Side note: Part of that $45/month total was essentially paying to finance some of the other phones on the plan – my in-laws’ phones – so the monthly cost recently went down. I now pay just $22 per month for my iPhone.)
I returned the Windows 8 phone and got my $100 back, which I used to pay for the iPhone. It’s definitely worth it to pay a lot less per month and have a much faster, easier to use phone. Because I resisted the smart phone trend for so long and used an old, slow phone up until a couple years ago, I appreciate all of the conveniences that go along with having an iPhone.
I am trying to pay off mountains of student loan debt in a short time-frame, so I live a frugal lifestyle. I don’t take a moderate approach to frugality, and I don’t splurge on much. But I feel that “splurging” on healthy food and safety is a necessity. My one guilty pleasure splurge is my iPhone.
What items do you splurge on? What things do you feel are worth spending extra money on?
*Side note: I wrote this post before I adopted my pug, Herbie. He is the best and most worthwhile splurge ever :)
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