The word splurge has some negative connotations to me. The web definition of it is “the act of spending money freely or extravagantly.” I guess it’s that “extravagantly” that gets me. That makes sound as if you’re spending money unnecessarily, and I often think of a true splurge as being on something that you don’t really need.
That said, I think there are things worth spending money on, but because of their quality, I don’t view spending more as an extravagance. So despite the slight difference in terms, I’ve crafted a list of things worth splurging on in response to Dave Ramsey’s list of the same!
I had a really hard time coming up with this list…a much harder time than I had coming up with my list of 7 things we don’t buy! I think some of that goes back to my taking issue with the word “splurge,” and some of it is because this is a really personal list. (For example, several things on Dave Ramsey’s list are not things I feel compelled to splurge on.) And also keep in mind that when I say “splurge,” that doesn’t mean I’m not still going to try to find a coupon, or a sale, or a free shipping deal. I’ll still do all of those things, but the splurge to me is that whether or not I can find a deal, the quality is worth spending more on. The main difference lies in whether something is inexpensive because it is cheaply made or whether it is inexpensive because I sought out a bargain.
Now, without further caveat or ado, the list:
- Haircuts This is definitely a personal choice I've made. Andy couldn't care less about the quality of his haircut. In fact, I cut his hair with clippers in our bathroom. But for me, a great haircut includes the whole sensory experience: the relaxing salon, the head massage while being shampooed, the encouraging stylist who has ideas of styles that would suit you. I look for Scoutmob or Living Social deals that allow me to have this type of experience for under retail price, but barring finding one of those I still wouldn't head over to Great Clips for my next do.
- Internet Andy, the financial maven in our household, couldn't quite corroborate this one for me, but maybe it's more of a mental thing than an actual dollar value thing. I keep hearing about these install-it-yourself free home internet plans that provide you with 200 MB of data. That's less than I have on my phone every month! Because my husband is a web application developer, and because I blog and clip online coupons, and because we don't have cable but rely on streaming for our entertainment, it is worth it to have unlimited, fast internet.
- Coffee After several experiences of buying multi-packs of whatever-brand coffee from Amazon for dirt-cheap, I realized that even I, who chiefly enjoys coffee for its ability to be a warm conduit of creamer and Splenda, expect more out of my grounds. Having a little grinder has made a difference, too, and allows Andy to grind more coarsely for his French press. We now make sure to buy whole beans that we can grind ourselves, and we typically support either our local coffee shop or the farmer's market in order to buy flavorful, responsibly-sourced coffee.
- Shoes (to an extent) Dave Ramsey had running shoes on his list, and I definitely agree with that. I have high arches (thanks, Mama!) and have always sought good, supportive shoes. Now, I definitely have and have had in the past plenty of ~$10 shoes from Payless and the like. I think those are great for fad-y shoes that you like right now but might not like next year, or for shoes that you need to wear only with a particular outfit. And I've had Payless shoes far outlive the life expectancy I mentally assigned them. But when it comes to every day basics, it's worth a splurge. I have a pair of black pumps and a pair of black flats that are my go-tos, and I'll potentially be wearing them to work for the long foreseeable future, because they're quality is that good! Some friends also suggested that men's shoes fall into this category, since men tend to wear only a small selection of shoes every day and wear them until they're coming apart at the seams.
- Cookware This has been a recent revelation. I don't think cookware is worth investing in if you don't enjoy cooking. It's not worth it for the display factor. But when you really do cook, having quality pieces makes a huge difference in the quality of your output and the ease with which you get to the endpoint. Don't take my saying to splurge on cookware to mean that you should go out and buy every gadget and gizmo at Bed Bath and Beyond. In fact, the best chefs in the world recommend having only a limited selection of items in your kitchen! The 4 that I've found super important and useful are my enameled cast-iron Dutch oven, a lidded saute pan, restaurant-grade rimmed baking sheets that don't warp, and good knives. I have enough to say on this that I might become it's own post, so I'll leave it there for now.
- (Some) Furniture As with shoes, I think there is some furniture that can be fun or space-specific and doesn't need to be a family heirloom. We have 3 end tables that I got at Bed Bath and Beyond because we had such limited space and they were the smallest ones I could find. Same with one of our bookshelves, which came from Target. But when it comes to the central pieces, quality of construction is worth it. I got out couch at a furniture consignment shop but paid more for it than I could have paid for a brand new one from a discount or warehouse furniture store. The shop proprietor assured me we would get a good 10 more years out of it, which is not true for even all new furniture. That's the only "investment" piece we have so far, but as our living area evolves that's the kind of thing I'll be keeping an eye out for.
- The Occassional Frivolous Purchase That Makes You Smile I know, I know. This seems to go against all my railing against a total, unnecessary splurge. But sometimes, your happiness is worth spending money on, even though it will be fleeting. Money can't buy happiness, I guess, but it can buy a smile, and at least a few minutes of glee. I think because of how I shop this one is especially true for me. If someone truly struggles with their budget and can't afford to drop any extra dimes, I would NOT recommend that they follow this bullet point. But if you have some wiggle-room in your budget, or especially if you have saved up for an item, buying it on a whim can feel great. I recently bought a $50+ Vera Bradley bag. I looked at it online almost daily for probably a month, and hemmed and hawed about whether or not it was "worth it." One day I finally took the plunge, and when it arrived in the mail I spent 5 minutes exclaiming, "It's HERE, it's HERE, it's HERE!!!" before I even opened it. I'd call that momentary joy worth the splurge.
So there you have it: my non-comprehensive list of things worth splurging on. Do you have any to add? Where do you seek quality over price?