I was talking to a friend this week who lamented that it’s finally time for her to buy a nice purse. She’s a very frugal girl who puts any extra money toward her two passions: travel and sports.
After tearing through tons of cheap Target purses, she said she finally needed to cough up the money for a nice bag. The thought of possibly spending the equivalent of a plane ticket on one, however, made her cringe. It’s funny because I went through the exact same thing just a few years ago and could empathize with the difficulty of getting over that hump.
Sometimes, when you are so frugal, it’s hard to rationalize any major purchase (especially ones that aren’t essential). As I’ve grown older, however, I’ve seen how there is often a long-term payoff. I also used to buy all my bags at Target, too. Who can pass up a cute purse for only $30? The problem is that they are made of plastic and get ripped and wear out quickly. I went through tons of Target purses until one day, my dad told me it was time to spend a little money on a quality purse that would actually last. I learned that spending a higher sum on a well-made leather bag made far more sense in the long run than having to buy cheap bags over and over .
When you’re trying to be extra frugal to save or pay off debt, it’s easy to think you have to cut back on everything. But remember that sometimes, it’s actually more frugal to buy something more expensive up front so that it lasts longer and saves you money in the long run. You just have to decide what is and isn’t worth it. For example, I’ve decided that I won’t compromise on food. I will spend extra on groceries to buy grass-fed beef, organic vegetables, etc., because I value my health and want to maintain it. On the flip side, I am frugal with things where I don’t feel the quality is compromised much if any, such as buying generic over-the-counter medication or used books.
Where do you draw the line between being frugal versus being practical? Let me know what you think in the comments section. Be sure to read on for my roundup of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week.
1. Studenomics offers tips to help you prevent overspending when you go to the grocery store.
2. From Shopping to Saving provides a fun list of basic personal finance lessons you can learn from the popular television show “Breaking Bad.”
3. When reflecting on her past, So Over Debt confesses what was the dumbest thing she ever put on a credit card.
4. Summer is a popular month for weddings, and if you’re in your 20s or 30s, you can end up blowing your budget on being in a wedding party. Give Me Back My Five Bucks explains how to budget for being a bridesmaid.
5. Married (with Debt) discusses a new product, the Wallaby card, which helps you consolidate and make the most of your credit and debit card rewards programs.
6. Along for the Journey shares three basic but critical rules for managing your money.
7. Beating Broke reveals how you can build, use and keep rock star credit.
8. On a similar note, One Smart Dollar presents a beginner’s guide to the benefits of credit cards.
9. A guest post on Budgeting in the Fun Stuff debates whether watching television regularly causes you to spend more money.