Why My Thrifty Might Not Be Your Thrifty And That Is Okay


(post contains affiliate links: see disclosure)

I run into acquaintances all the time at Walmart or other stores and I can tell right away whether or not they read my blog. How?

why my thrifty might not be the same as your thrifty and that is okay

Those that have start making excuses for what they feel I would view as a “non-thrifty” purchase that is sitting in their cart. Truth is, they don’t have to explain to me that they only bought the Fruit Loops because it was Junior’s birthday and they got it on sale and are using a coupon and plan to upload the receipt to Receipt Hog the minute they get home.

Because I truly don’t care if they buy Fruit Loops. If it fits in their budget, they are reaching their financial goals at the rate they desire, and their daily bowl of fruit loops brings them daily joy then let them have fruit loops and let me have my bar of organic mint dark chocolate.

Gasp…Victoria…organic mint dark chocolate! That is much too expensive. Eh. Whatever. I have the cash to pay for it,  I am taking active steps to reach my financial goals, and to me a bar of expensive chocolate is 100% worth every penny I pay for it.

Do you see the common denominators in the above scenarios?

1. Your splurge fits in your cash only budget.

2. Your splurge doesn’t prevent you from reaching your financial goals at the rate you desire.

3. Your splurge brings you joy either short term or long term (although for these examples both offer short term joy)

Those are the three elements of a good thrifty splurge. What the splurge items are in each family are unique to that family. Some thrifty families might splurge on just short term splurges like favorite foods, others might splurge only on long term items like vacations, others–like our thrifty family–might do a mix of both.

5 Things Our Thrifty Family Splurges On

1. A backyard that is probably more fun than most city parks (for the kids)

My husband loves making the backyard a place where our kids and their friends want to hang out–no matter what their age. A few years back we gave it a teen makeover and added an above ground pool, a trampoline, a fire pit, and most recently an outdoor movie screening area.

These are not inexpensive items but we invest in them because seeing our children building friendships and memories right in their own backyard means a lot to us.

2. Good Running Shoes (for me)

I spend right around $500 a year in good, high quality,running and walking shoes. Yep! you read that right half a grand on just running shoes each and every year –and honestly that is a conservative number; it is probably more.

For me running is my stress relief, my creative juice, my friendship building time, and truly my go to source for energy to refuel my tanks.

That $500 is worth every single penny.

3. eBooks that are not free (for him)

Although I rarely buy a book beyond one found for a $1 at a yard sale, my husband buys several a month in Kindle format. The books he likes don’t ever show up on Free Kindle listings and often our library is slow to obtain them, so he gets his bookworm fix using my point earned Amazon gift cards from places like Swagbucks and InstGC to buy a few new books each month.

Reading is to him what running is to me so I think this splurge is worth every penny.

4. Store bought natural cleaners

At one time I did make my own cleaners and they really are super inexpensive and work well, but I just couldn’t convert my husband over to them. My husband actually likes to clean so I don’t want to do anything that would stop him from doing it. So we compromised on all natural cleaners.

I also gave up making my own laundry soap and started buying a natural brand.

We do save money on our natural cleaners  by buying them through either ePantry or Boxed.

(psst, use my referral link for ePantry and save $10 on your first order. Or use my referral code 3W8LE at Boxed during checkout and save $15 on your first order)

5. Paper Towels

It might seem strange, but to me this is the hardest splurge to admit to publicly because I am afraid I will get blacklisted from thrifty blogging. I notice that big name thrifty bloggers pretty much all see paper towels as a pure waste of money, which might be true in their homes but isn’t in ours.

If you read about our families number 4 splurge you would see that I said my husband likes to clean, however he is particular about what he will and won’t use to clean. If I stopped buying paper towels his particular self would stop cleaning areas of the home where he uses paper towel to clean and then…well…I would have to clean and that would mean less time blogging, which would decrease my income potential, so to me paper towels are less expensive than hours of work missed.

Other Articles Where Thrifty Bloggers Admit To Their Splurges

This article has been brewing in my mind for quite sometime thanks to the inspiration of other bloggers:

Crystal Paine’s 6 Thing Our Family Has Chosen To Splurge On

Andrea Dekker’s How I Decide When To Save Or Splurge

starbucks & dishcloth giveawayA Thrifty Challenge With A Giveaway

I want to know what your thrifty family splurges on. One splurge that didn’t make my list above was Starbucks. Sure, I am pretty thrifty about how I obtain my Starbucks but it is still a splurge.

I am betting some other thrifty people out there might share my Starbucks splurging habit so I am offering a $10 Starbucks gift card as a prize and  to sweeten the deal I am throwing in a stack of 3 hand knitted (by me) dishcloths.

To enter leave a comment below that shares something your thrifty family or self splurges on.

For an extra entry share this post on Facebook with your friends (use the Facebook share icons at the top or bottom of the post) or click here to share directly from Facebook and tell me that you shared it at the bottom of this post on the blog.

The winner is …..shelleyb (congrats!)

point reward program sidebar Point programs help fund our splurges! Find out how they can fund yours too by visiting my points program page.

(post linked to Frugal Fridays , Sharefest)

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  1. Thank you for sharing this! We as women feel guilty for way too much. I am careful with our money but there are things that I choose to buy that others would not find frugal and that’s okay, it works for my budget and my family!

    I once had a stranger go off on my for “wasting money” on avocado oil

  2. Corey Lesko says:

    Love this post! Ours is good quality toys. I would much rather buy our boys less toys but better quality. Also toys that will last multiple children. Some include wooden Thomas the tank trains, Legos, wooden toys, Melissa and Doug. Some people will say I would never spend that much money on a toy but it’s worth the money if it lasts. I also try to find them on sale or used or at garage sales. There is lots of ways to save money on them but you won’t always get them at rock bottom prices. But if you buy less toys it’s also less clutter!

    • Victoria says:

      We still have our children’s wooden train set. I parted with a few pieces of it but kept enough for a figure eight loop. Kids love it when they come over. It is almost 20 years old now and still looks good.

  3. Lisa Patrick says:

    I splurge on Nutella (that’s one splurge); I love it. I’m diabetic, so I don’t splurge as much as I’d like. Books and incense are a stress-relieving splurge. I also splurge on yarn. I love to knit and crochet. Some people think it’s a waste of time, but I enjoy it. When I’m done, someone will get a nice gift.

  4. I love this post! I’ve just started splurging on ePantry instead of making my own cleaners because I’ve discovered that when I have a fancy, pretty, good smelling cleaner that showed up like a present in a box on my porch, I actually WANT to clean. This is such a remarkable phenomenon that I think I’m going to have to keep going. The same with healthy snacking through Boxed (which I heard about through you!) instead of requiring myself to make my own snacks. The tradeoff of actually snacking healthily instead of realizing at the last minute that I forgot to make anything and have to hit the vending machines is completely worth the cost.

    • Victoria says:

      Great splurges! I often buy ready made granola bars and trail mix sleeves from Aldi when we go on day trips instead of making my own. Too busy packing up the family to bake but I figure the ready made ones are still significantly less than what we would buy on the road.

  5. I shared on Facebook!

  6. We go through a mass quantity of Ziploc bags! We keep all sizes on hand; gallon, quart, sandwich, and snack size. Ziploc bags appear in our lunches on a daily basis and they fill our freezer! We keep bags of individual sized frozen cooked chicken, hamburger, guacamole, etc. There are also bags filled with made from scratch pancakes, homemade pizza sauce, pizza dough, refried beans, vegetable scraps, etc. Mr. Crackin’ the Whip commented repeatedly about our excessive use of Ziploc bags. That is, until he froze some food in glass containers and I explained the merits of the plastic bags!

    • Victoria says:

      Yes! We too like ziploc bags recently I started using them to divide up snack foods the minute I get home from the grocery store. With teenagers in the house they were just helping themselves to a handful here and there and then suddenly a week’s worth of snacks would be gone in two days. Putting the snacks in ziploc sandwich bags saved me a ton on snacks as now they get one bags worth for a snack and then have to wait until dinner. Good for the waistline of the older folks (ie…me and the hubby) too!

  7. It’s really quite true. Every family has different saves and splurges. We use paper towels too. I try to use rags for some things but frankly, paper towels work better in a lot of instances.

    The splurge item we have that so many frugal living bloggers and people frown on is we pay for satellite TV. (I can hear the gasps from here! lol). We live in a mountain-y area so we get nothing with a rooftop antenna. Nothing. We decided that if we were going to have to pay for TV, we were going to pay for a package we will actually use. Doing Netflix, etc. wouldn’t work for us for a number of reasons. (scheduling a share on my blog’s Facebook page for Saturday morning. http://www.facebook.com/loggerswifeblog if you want to check. 😉 )

    • Victoria says:

      Whew! another person who used paper towels. I think TV is a great splurge especially if you have a person in your house who loves to watch sporting events. And thanks for sharing.

  8. Our biggest splurge is probably soda. Not that we drink it every day, and I only buy it on sale. But since soda is not a need, I consider it a splurge, and a very refreshing one at that 🙂

    • Victoria says:

      My husband like pop too and drinks coke regularly. Me I like cherry coke from the soda fountain at the local gas station and indulge in it about once a month.

  9. Diet Coke. Every day. And yes, I know it’s not good for me. 🙂

  10. shelleyb says:

    My splurge for the family- is pump foam soap from Bath and Body Works. I do wait for sales and combine with coupons (from email.) I try to bring cost to $2.50-2.80 per soap. It is still more than “soft-soap” or “dial” but I like the fun scents. I know my kids washed their hands when they leave the restroom due to the soap scent that lingers.

    • Victoria says:

      Congrats! Your comment was picked as the winner of the Starbucks card and dishcloths. I will email you soon for where to send it.

  11. Kelli Taylor says:

    K-cups for my Keurig would be one splurge of mine. And having my hair highlighted occasionally:).

  12. Kelli Taylor says:

    Shared on FB! Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. I’d definitely say my biggest splurge is my k cups. I love not having to make my own coffee!

  14. I shared on Facebook. 🙂

  15. Christine says:

    I have tried using cloth diapers and wipes, but found that they were time consuming and not cost effective because of needing to use hot water in our wash. So we use disposables and try to not feel guilty about the cost.

  16. My splurge is coffee. I enjoy Starbucks, but I usually end up at Dunkin Donuts because I’ve learned how to work their rewards system. I was given a $10 gift card in March, and I still have money on it. I rarely s spend more than 99 cents, and I try to get it when there’s an extra points deal with your purchase. May was a great month because every time the Braves won, I got a free coffee the next day. Right now, extra trips in my car are a splurge. (because of buying gas) I choose to splurge in that sense on trips to practices performances with my mountain dulcimer group. The friendships with people 30-60 years older than me is just as valuable as the musical experience. (also, I shared on Facebook)

  17. I splurge on good haircuts, keratin treatments, and salon-quality hair products. It cuts my styling time down to five minutes and my hair is always shiny and healthy. I don’t wear a lot of makeup or designer/trendy clothes, but I try to always have good-looking hair!

  18. My biggest splurge is one I get just for me. I spend a little extra for body wash, shampoo and conditioner that I love. Instead of buying the inexpensive store brand of these items I splurge on the ones I love. I am a stay-at-home mom so the time I get in the shower is some of the only time I have to myself all day. Lol. Enjoying the scents of the body wash and shampoo I love is a nice refresher for me so I don’t feel so bad about the splurge.

  19. I am thrifty so I can splurge on what I really want! Like good running shoes too!!

  20. Anne Curran says:

    I splurge on a Weight Watchers membership. In order to lose weight an keep the weight off, I joined Weight Watchers and plan to attend meetings FOREVER. Getting and staying healthy for my family is worth the splurge.

  21. Anne Curran says:

    I shared of Facebook. 🙂

  22. Stacy t. says:

    We splurge on good quality food. Real, whole foods we cook from scratch. Thanks!

  23. I splurge on an inexpensive Chinese lunch or breakfast out somewhere for myself each week. I don’t always enjoy cooking for just me, so it’s a treat for sure. Sometimes in life we have to be okay with a treat now and then. It makes life more fun, especially if one is frugal in so many areas (which I try to be).

  24. We splurge on family travel. Important memory maker but we save for it and try to do lots of free stuff mixed In With the pricy.

  25. I could so relate to this post! I feel like I have to justify to some people they why and how of particular splurges we choose to enjoy. It is great that your husband cleans, and you are so right — buy that man the best cleaners and paper towels his heart desires to keep him going! 🙂

    Our family’s favorite splurge is usually something like froyo dates, movies in the theaters, or dinners out. Our almost 20 year old daughter enjoys doing these things with us, and now that she is in college far away, we savor every moment with her. Worth every.single.penny! 🙂 #sitssharefest

  26. michelle says:

    We splurge on our hobby of showing animals, pigs and sheep. It is a great way to spend the weekend together as a family and the kids are responsible for the daily chores:)

  27. I always have a hard time with guilt in buying certain things and feeling I could be ‘thriftier’ in all aspects of life. At the same time, life is to be lived and I like the idea of thriftiness being subjective.

    btw organic mint dark chocolate is totally worth it 😀

  28. I know where you are coming from about choosing what to splurge on. And Honey, I would splurge for a gold toilet brush if I could get my husband to clean. He is so “old school” and I need to get him retrained somehow. Thanks for some good advice. And justification.

  29. I have 1 Splurge that is for me. I have very thick, long, curly hair. So I buy Paul Mitchell curls shampoo & conditioner. I buy the liter bottles. 1 liter of the shampoo lasts me 18 months and the 1 liter conditioner last me 9 months. So it actually works out to be pretty low per month. So worth it for me. I cut my own hair so I am saving $30 a month by doing that. S & C splurge costs much less than that.

  30. I shared on my facebook page.

  31. MomofTwoPreciousGirls says:

    Starbucks for me! It’s daily and I don’t care. It is my one little bit of calm before starting my crazy days and it makes me happy. I spend every moment I am not at work or asleep with my children. I don’t have expensive hobbies. I don’t go to the gym. I don’t get my hair and nails done constantly or buy clothes constantly. So COFFEE is my thing! It’s my me time

    Also, I do not buy used cars. The few times my husband has over the years have been awful experiences and crazy expensive. Even with his knowledge of vehicles and maintenance and the ability to do a lot of repairs himself. I need my car to get me and my family to work/school safely and dependently! I’m ok with having low interest car loans in exchange for that sense of security. I know MANY disagree but it works for us.

  32. Wine. I won’t drink it out of a box – or anything else too cheap. Nice wine – that’s my splurge! Loved your confession 🙂

  33. Julie nielsen says:

    i splurge in hair care produpacts fir myself always buying on sale and stocking up when they are..liter

  34. Our splurge is eating out as a family about once a week or every two weeks. I try to be frugal in other ways, so my husband is kind enough to give me a break from making dinner every now and then and so that we can spend time together as a family.

  35. Good quality flannel sheets! So nice to climb into bed on a cold winter night plus flannel sheets allow us to turn down the thermostat at night.

    Also good quality olive oil.

  36. Thanks for sharing! It’s so true!

  37. I only recently started using paper towels myself. We also splurge on good toilet paper and tea. (Not related to each other! haha)

  38. My splurge is buying better shampoo and conditioner at Sally’s. It makes my hair soft and shiny using the silicone and sulphate free variety rather than the cheaper stuff in the grocery store. I figure being I am saving hunderds of dollars a year by having my guy cut my hair for me, it is alright. I haven’t set foot in a salon to get a haircut in years and I do not miss the bad haircuts or expense.

  39. For the house, I splurge on paper towels and the cleaner DH prefers to use. He cleans part of the house, and will only use this one cleaner.

    For myself, I splurge on a name-brand shampoo from the hair salon. This formulation is specifically for thinning hair. A little goes a long way, and the expiration date is 3 years out.

  40. I love that you posted this in such a non-judgmental way. I live frugally, but there are things I splurge on like certain Brand name Paper towels (for homemade baby wipes). I have run into people in the store who read my blog and I always feel like they are looking into my cart and seeing if I follow my own rules.
    I think that part of being frugal is also buying quality things when needed, not always the cheapest brand that will break or wear out in two months.

    • Victoria says:

      YES! So true. Buying just what you need, and at level of quality that will last is more thrifty than buying the cheapest.

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