While the geek lifestyle can be criticized for being pretty materialistic, in general Rick and I are into pinching pennies wherever we can, from making our own cleaners to my beauty routine. However, in this post I thought I’d take a minute to talk about where Rick and I have decided it’s okay to spend a little more. I think building splurges into your budget is important to making sure you can stick to it. A frugal life is great, but sometimes you need to just enjoy life, you know?
You might not agree with all of our choices for where we splurge, but really it’s about deciding what your priorities are and designing your budget accordingly.
Coffee – Rick and I like our coffee, but because we really only drink it on the weekends (I’m up to a cup or two a day during the week, but Rick usually waits until he gets to work for his morning fix) it’s still worth it for us to shell out for the good stuff. We usually go with something Fair Trade from our local bulk health food store and we recently made the switch to buying whole beans and grinding them at home. Because it’s something we enjoy, not just something we need to survive, getting the good stuff just makes mornings that little bit easier.
Sugar – I made the switch to Fair Trade Organic sugar a while ago, partly for moral reasons and partly to encourage both of us to use less of it. It costs a little more, but the peace of mind it brings me makes it taste even sweeter.
Brunch – Rick and I don’t eat out nearly as much as we used to, but we still make an effort to get out to brunch a couple of times a month. Sure, brunch is easy and cheap to make at home, but once and a while we still like to indulge in a meal out just for a change of pace. Going for brunch is cheaper than going out for dinner but we still get the novelty of not having to clean up after ourselves afterwards. Bonus: A promise of brunch guarantees Rick will get out of bed on the weekends and be up for adventuring afterwards.
Toilet Paper – Okay, this could verge into TMI territory for some people, but life’s too short for cheap toilet paper. We buy recycled when we can and we usually go for what’s on sale, but we never, ever go bargain bin. It’s never worth it.
Netflix – We don’t have cable and we rarely go out to watch movies, but we do spend $8 for Netflix streaming. Sure, $8 seems like a lot when you’re watching every penny, but the selection and convenience work for us and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than renting each title separately. There are many full TV series included now, as well as TED talks.
Video Games – Rick usually gets 5 or 6 major video game releases a year at full price (aprx $60), which seems like a lot on the surface, but when you average out the time he spends playing each one, it usually works out to about $1 per hour of entertainment (even less for something like Skyrim, which he’s sunk at least 170 hrs into). It’s also he’s only real hobby, and one that he can do at home, which helps to keep costs down.
I’d say that our number one indulgence these days is still food, but less meat and a commitment to eating the majority of our meals at home means that we can enjoy good food without breaking the bank. We buy organic when we can, but price is still more important for us. But the biggest thing we get from making food at home is more time spent together, learning skills and challenging ourselves. And who can put a price on that?