Monday, July 7, 2008

My Economic Stimulus Check, and Why I'm Spending It

Recently, I posted a rant about how it was seeming like paying off my debt is a never-ending thing, how last month was my highest-earning month ever and how I wished I could just blow some of the largesse on frivolity.

It's money I won't miss. Yes, I know some people use the same argument for putting it towards debt or savings, but come on... It's also a matter of using the money for what it's meant for, instead of giving it to banks for them to make more money.

Instead, I've decided I'm going to spend most/all of my economic stimulus check. Next week, I'm going to visit a friend for a week (vacation...YAY!) and instead of taking nasty Greyhound, I'm splurging the extra $100 to fly. Even with dealing with the airport in Seattle it will still take less time.

Aside from the trip, I'm going to spend the money as I desire, with a time limit of the next two weeks or so. I figure I'll give myself that amount of time to have some fun and frivolity, and then I'll sock anything leftover into the savings accounts.

I'm not planning some blowout shopping spree (though there will be shopping), but I'm just going to give myself some freedom to not deny myself. After I decided this was to be my plan, I started to realize just how much I've denied myself since I started my debt eradication plan. I've bought very little in the way of brand new clothes (I love thrift shopping, don't get me wrong), I've not bought any art, and I've so frequently been a slave to my crack finance spreadsheet that I've forgotten about the little luxuries of life (Aveda shampoo and conditioner...sigh, real French cheese (the chevre at Trader Joe's...c'est mal)). Sometimes, it's just nice to pay full price and not worry about if I could've found a better deal.

While I drafted this post a while ago, I just found an interesting Wall Street Journal article on Yahoo. It postulates that the occasional splurge makes people happy in the long run. It seems like a fluff piece (especially since it's so brief), though I fully agree with it. What the commenters I read, and what everyone else, too, needs to remember is this: a splurge is an occasional thing. When you live life on a continual splurge, that's when the problems start. I've read about people complaining they couldn't go to lunch/drinks/whatever with new co-workers because of their budget, and then they say they feel isolated from other people. Isn't the occasional splurge then worth it? Besides, for an example like that, you're building rapport with co-workers, which is always a very useful thing. This goes back to something I've believed for a long time: it's better to regret something you've done than to regret something you haven't done -- obviously, within moderation. It all goes back to the balance I talk about.

Life costs money. It's just a matter of choosing what and how to spend the money. For me, I'm giving myself a little splurge time, and having made this decision, already I feel happier.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

The occasional splurge feels great, especially if it's planned into your budget. Give yourself some "fun" money. It's insurance for your well-being and you won't feel deprived. My wife loves thrift shopping, too, and our budget allowed for that. No guilt! Yes, indulging excessively leads to problems. No doubt about that.