Last year during my yearly physical, I noticed my Dr. was wearing cowboy boots. Now, I don't know a ton about cowboy boots, but they looked pretty intricate and well-loved, so I imagine they were pretty expensive (also he's a doctor so…). I asked him about them and he sheepishly told me all about his love of square dancing.
Like, he went on for a good 15 minutes about the intricacies of it, the levels you can rise to, and the politics of the square dancing world in Upstate NY. Who knew, right? I was completely enraptured, partly because I had no idea but mostly because I really love it when someone opens up about what they're passionate about.
I'm the same way about marketing, which I feel sounds like the most boring lecture you'd listen to, but I cannot help myself when I get started because I get SO excited about it.
Over the years, I've realized that I've had a fear of expressing myself when it comes to my money. I was raised to believe that you did not talk about money, especially if you're a woman (except that you should keep a little account on the side for yourself…which is something we can unpack at another time) and that it was best to just keep your buying habits in a little part of your life reserved for secret shame (sex also lived there!).
5 Things I Splurge On + 5 Things I Go Cheap On
Screw that, okay? You and I work REALLY hard for our money and I am done feeling embarrassed about wanting to use it as a tool to make my life better. But that doesn't mean I go all-in and splurge on every purchase. I actually have a few categories where I make it rain, and others where I refuse to drop hard-earned cash.
What I'm Willing to Splurge On
Credit Card fees
I used to be SO against yearly fees for credit cards. I never understood the point; why would I pay someone for the privilege of using their card over another one that has no yearly fee? Then I got into the world of churning (which is essentially utilizing credit card points for comped travel) and now I drop…oh god, here it comes…$1200 a year solely in credit card fees. Is that exorbitant? It sounds that way, yes, but that $1200 has paid for lounge access in every airport we've been in, a 1st class trip to Tokyo and Cancun with hotels, most of the trips for my speaking gigs, and insurance for my phone every month so I'm absolutely coming out ahead. If you want more info about how I do that, I wrote a whole series about traveling with credit card points.
Professional Services and Tools
I pay a business coach to help keep me accountable, outsource most WordPress issues to a freelance developer, and have an SEO team come in and punch up my blog posts to get them out into the world of Google faster than I can. I also pay yearly fees for scheduling tools that help take some of the load off of my social media work. To me, the splurge is all worth the investment because they help move my professional life forward and keep me on track. I'll do a bigger post later that better details all of the stuff I use, why I use them, and how much I pay, I promise!
I pay for a gym membership, a therapist (out of pocket. Thanks, high deductible insurance!), occasional massages, mediation and premium food tracking apps (LoseIt! if you're interested). I was really against this for a while because I felt that if my time wasn't spent directly earning money, then it was a waste…needless to say, that was SUPER unhealthy and I suffered a lot of anguish because of it. I've made a concerted effort to invest more in this category the longer I've been self-employed and I can (somewhat begrudgingly) say that it's paid off in spades.
I love a good deal for sure. There have been times I've been tempted to just get the shitty stuff from China because it's pretty, but my skin has suffered the consequences of this too many times for me to keep it up. So I just suck it up and pay extra for the sulfate-free, silicone-free, cruelty-free makeup and skincare (usually at Sephora).
This is non-negotiable to me. The 2 cats and the dog get routine care at a spendy vet. There's a budget vet a little further away, but the reviews were too mixed for me to consider it seriously. Jimmy also gets monthly grooming appointments to save us the aggravation, and he goes to daycare twice a week even though Steve and I work from home. He gets to burn off some of that puppy energy, socializes with other dogs, and his time gone gives us a chance to focus on work (and gives the cats a reprieve, too).
What I Don't Spend a Ton of Money On
I would say 92% off my clothing is from thrift stores here and I don't see that changing any time soon. I have a few fancy pieces I've bought that I specifically wanted (mostly scarves from Burberry and Dior) but I don't see the point in wasting the opportunity to get crazy good deals on brands that will last me a while. Most of my wardrobe is Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren and I can't imagine I've spent more than $500 total on the entire collection.
I'm not a jewelry snob at all, especially because I have anxiety so any sort of fancy jewelry just makes me anxious I'll break or lose it. The fanciest thing I wear is my wedding ring which was a hand-me-down. My lack of interest in spendy jewelry most likely goes back to the days I was running a skincare business and wanted cheap, durable stuff that could handle the rough-and-tumble world of handmade soap.
Again, Goodwill all day, every day. I have an impressive hoard of wall shelves, picture frames, and mirrors that would've cost me a fortune but instead were pennies on the dollar. Also, as an Industrial decor enthusiast, I love to find things that have a vintage/aged look to them to add, so what better place to find them then at thrift stores!
My exception to this is most “soft” furniture like our beds, but the chairs in our living room, the dining table and chairs, and most other pieces are thrifted. I love finding old pieces that are heavy and built to last. Our couch was a new purchase because Steve wanted specifics that would've made it hard to find in a thrift store quickly (also, we needed it delivered), but I would totally drop that thing to the curb and replace it with one of the Victorian-style sofas I've run across a few times (I love living in a place where people ditch their stuff and move to Florida).
We don't splurge a ton of money entertaining ourselves between the library and our streaming services. Steve is more of a movie buff than I am. So I would say he spends more in this category than I do, but the Libby app is legitimately my most-used app on my phone.
Look, I am totally aware that my life and choices aren't one size fits all. You may have raised your eyebrows here and there on my list, but I wanted to write this post to motivate you to embrace the things that you love in life and don't apologize for them. If you're a purse nut and you splurge $1200 on a bag but it makes you feel good (and you can handle it in your budget), then rock on and I will happily listen to why you feel the mechanics of the bag warrant that price.
This year, I encourage you to make your own list and let yourself feel good about where you splurge and why. You've earned it!