Floor 16: Decide What Is Worthwhile to Blow $ On

Even though Mr. DebtFreeJD and I are serious about paying down my loans, we aren’t living a life of monastic asceticism. In fact, we still spend money on absolutely frivolous items. For me, the key is deciding in advance what I’ll splurge on – and what I won’t – and sticking to that plan.

For example, most mornings Dog DebtFreeJD and I walk to a local coffee shop. I get a coffee ($1.35) and Dog DebtFreeJD gets a dog biscuit (free from an adoring sales clerk).

Dog DebtFreeJD Using Her Dog Biscuit Extortion Expression

Dog DebtFreeJD Using Her Dog Biscuit Extortion Expression

Most of the personal finance blogs I read would probably consider getting frequent take-out coffee to be widely extravagant, and a bad habit that should be broken as soon as possible (including the always excellent Mr. Money Mustache).  Other people I know would think only spending a buck and change on coffee probably nets you some pretty awful coffee.  But, at the end of the day, I’m the one who gets to have a nice chat every morning with the same sales clerk, and Dog DebtFreeJD receives many pets from the same person (in addition to the free dog cookie . . . or three).  This is worth $9.35/week to me.

Likewise, last night Mr. DebtFreeJD and I went out with some friends to a local bar.  Several beers were consumed, as was a decedent amount of fried food.  I’d like to tell you that it worked out to a reasonable amount via some secret coupon we had or some great happy hour special.  But I can’t – it was definitely pricey.

The big thing is that I try to treat these things as luxuries.  We don’t go out to bars very often.  I get take-out coffee most days, but I don’t get expensive coffee and I try not to buy lunch out or other snacks throughout the day.  I totally admire the folks who can cut their frivolous spending to almost nothing (looking at you, Frugalwoods!)  But, alas, that doesn’t work well for me.  I like having my small luxuries – the key for me is deciding what they are, and then sticking to that plan!


4 thoughts on “Floor 16: Decide What Is Worthwhile to Blow $ On

  1. Judi

    This was one of the hardest parts when I first started paying off our debt like crazy. I was really ridgid about our spending on any luxury items and I got a bit burned out from no play money. One day I decided to sit down really think about where I was willing to cut spending because it wasn’t adding to the quality of life, verses little things that brought me real happiness. The things that bring happiness deserve the investment of time and money. It sounds like you had a great time with friends and have a nice real bond with the barista so I can see why you would want to keep them. Also it seems as if dog debtfreejd would have an issue with skipping the treats/snuggles and you would be fighting a loosing battle against the cute, rebellious looks! Judging by the face I can tell there is persistence behind the calm demeanor.

    1. DebtFreeJD Post author

      She is quite cute – and she knows it. As is Frugal Hound. Unlike Frugal Hound however, posing Dog DebtFreeJD with pumpkins is out of the question. She had to be forcibly removed from her attempts to chew an extra hole into our neighbor’s jack-o-lantern this morning.

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