Four Guilty Pleasures

by Kelly · 18 comments

in Thoughts On Frugality

I’m busy. You are too, I’m sure. With the busyness comes the feeling of going, going, going. Sometimes it’s difficult to stop- I always feel like there’s one more thing I have to get done, and it can’t wait until tomorrow or even after lunch.

Then there’s the perpetual issue of the budget. And I’m sure that you’ll agree with me that whether you have kids or not, you work outside the home or not, your budget is stretched taught or rather supple, it’s sometimes difficult to let yourself spend money on something just for you. Judging from the overwhelming number of entries to my GiftyBox giveaway who asked for something for themselves, you feel the same way.

I have a few guilty pleasures. Small things that maybe I could cut out of the budget, so as to squeak a few more euros in. But is it worth it? Would the advantage of doing without outweigh the pleasure of indulging? I don’t always know. Yet I indulge anyway!

1. Coffee with Cream I use cream in my coffee. It’s probably just as bad for my waistline as my budget, but I love that touch of richness in that first morning cup. I can buy a box of cream for €.50, I go through about two a week. €52 a year does add up, but my cream is worth it.

2. Grandir Autrement I subscribe to Grandir Autrement, a French magazine on natural living and attachment parenting. It’s a close equivilent to Mothering magazine in the US, although nowhere near as established. I pay €35 a year for my subscription, which I justify by saying that it’s the only French magazine of its kind, so I should support it, not to mention the only French magazine I actually read.

3. Grocery Shopping I have to admit that I don’t pay as much attention to the total when grocery shopping as I should. I do do certain things right- I shop on days when I get the maximum number of store credit, I stock up on things we use when there’s a sale on etc etc. But I could be much more stringent about what we buy. We could eat less meat, I could only buy for the period for which I’m shopping, instead of trying to stock-up. We could plan more frugal meals. But eating good food, and a variety of good food is important to our family. So I’m willing to live with the €25 extra per month that I spend on little extras at the grocery store.

4. Occasional trips to Ikea Yes, there’s an Ikea right down the street from me. And yes, I am one of its biggest fans. But I’ve been pretty good so far about limiting my trips to the big blue and yellow box. For the past three to four months I’ve gone there a maximum of once a month, and spent an average of €20 each time. The stuff I buy is useful, and it doesn’t go to waste. I might be able to get by without it, or maybe find it elsewhere used or for less. Going by the time versus money principle however, means that buying what I need, right down the street for a good price is worth it to me to spend that money.

You know, when I set out to write this post, it’s working title was Ten Guilty Pleasures. But I had a hard time of thinking even of four! I think that’s pretty good. On the other hand, when I add up what I spend on guilty pleasures every year, €625, I think that I could have a pretty satisfactory emergency fund.

I feel like I have to ask myself if it’s really worth it. Am I indulging myself too much? Do these expenses make the difference between being frugal and being a spendthrift? Or does allowing myself my guilty pleasures keep me from breaking the bank on something big?

What are your guilty pleasures?


1 neimanmarxist December 10, 2008

we are actually guilty of the dread ‘latte factor.’ We pack our lunch for work each day (we’re fortunate enough to be able to meet up and dine together) but we indulge in a bought coffee after lunch to fuel our work through the afternoon. My husband’s expresso is expensive so the total for both our cups is $6 (he drinks six shots, we are the caffeine family) which adds up to a pretty penny for a year. We’ve cut loads of other things, like eating out, so i don’t feel too badly about it. and maybe that dissertation might get written someday as a result 😉

neimanmarxist´s last blog post..AWOL, Again

2 Emily@remodelingthislife December 10, 2008

I think having little indulgences is imperative to living a financially healthy life. Mine are white chocolate mocha latte from starbucks – usually about one or two each month. I don’t buy magazines, but I love sitting at barnes and noble alone sipping my latte and reading magazines. Hubby and I give ourselves “free money” each month that we can do what we want with outside of the budget. Mine usually gets used for those lattes, a trip here and there to Hobby Lobby crafty stuff, and a milkshake or two (another weakness).

3 Jb December 10, 2008

Yes, a few indulgences are required to remind you that life is still worth living. As long as you’re mindful of that and it doesn’t take you further into debt, I say do it! I tend to enjoy either: a maple latte, a Dairy Queen Blizzard (in the summer), or popcorn at the movies if I go with one of my movie coupons (theatre popcorn is just so much better for some reason…must be the ambiance. 🙂 )

Jb´s last blog post..Clearing Out the Pantry

4 Lucie @ Unconventional Origins December 10, 2008

Lattes. I will round up my change, save a few dollars here and there, whatever I can do. I just love them so much. I know they are overpriced and not a smart purchase but they are truly one of my favorite things.

Lucie @ Unconventional Origins´s last blog post..What to do When Parents Collide? The Battle Over the Television

5 cheryl December 10, 2008

Well one of your’s is one of my old gp’s. Ikea. I absolutely love them. But I realized a few months ago that my house is now furnished and resembles an Ikea showroom. I have no more room for another piece of furniture or picture. So now when I do let myself go there, I just might buy candles.

My biggest guilty pleasure is ice cream. I am dangerous if I don’t get it. But I buy the brand that is on sale or I have coupons for.

6 Kelly December 10, 2008

Funny how so many of the guilty pleasures relate to coffee! One of the things that I miss most about living in France is the lack of coffee to go in a large paper cup… sigh…

7 Tomato Lady December 10, 2008

One word: yarn

Tomato Lady´s last blog post..Wordless Wednesday 3: Winter Greens

8 Gabriel December 10, 2008

Groceries out of laziness

I personally think as long as you are aware of what you’re doing and how much it costs, you’re golden. You basically budget for it. I just wish my husband would spend more money on himself, so then I wouldn’t feel so “guilty” about my pleasures.

Gabriel´s last blog post..Happy St. Nicholas Day!

9 Shevy December 10, 2008

1. Cream and butter, about 1 litre per week and 2 pounds per month (for our whole family’s consumption, not just mine).
2. Decaf tall white mocha with extra whip. When I have the money to do so I like to load $20 per month onto my Starbucks card. When it’s gone, it’s gone. I haven’t had the cash for a few months but my Eldest Daughter is very good about treating me when I spend half my Sunday ferrying her around to IKEA, the mall, etc. (she doesn’t drive).
3. Shelter mags. I read them, use and reuse them, make colour photocopies from them for projects, and store them in IKEA birch magazine boxes in chronological order. I’m seriously thinking about a couple of subscriptions because the savings would be big, but a few don’t offer much discount and I like ensuring my copies are perfect (not bent to put through the mail slot).
4. Godiva chocolate. Mmm, chocolate. Such a treat for me and my 5 year old to buy a single chocolate each a few times a year.

Four things that *don’t* matter to me:
1. A landline.
2. Makeup.
3. Trendy clothes.
4. My hair. I cover it anyway, so why should I spend big bucks to cut, style, colour it, etc.?

10 pamela munro December 10, 2008

Splurges –

BOOKS – always have a bit of $ for bargain books, as I go through them rapidly (& I have a terrible history of piling up library fines & it’s almost cheaper to BUY good deals!)

BARGAINS – I splurge on things I need/want when the deals are too good to resist and save them for another day. This means stockpiling rockbottom deals on cosmetics/facial care/hand cream from discount outlets – buying cologne when deepy discounted (still working on the stash from when one drugstore chain was sold off a few years ago.) I also get gala clothes when they are cheap – because I do go to events like that and it’s cheaper to get the bargain things when I see them than to go out and BUY stuff – (this includes shoes/bags, etc.) It does encourage a sort of impulse buying – but in the long run it usually means savings – I have even stockpiled vitamins and supplements when the deals are really good.

Not the coffee thing – as I only use Starbucks as an “office space” for meetings, etc. I make my own concoctions at home with nutmeg, cinnamon, milk & cocoa….yummy.

Our boat is probably a splurge even though we have a used one and do it on a bargain level and use it ALL the time – almost every weekend – and it is heavenly, so we are getting our money’s worth out of it. Most of our vacations, getaways mean going to the boat!

Psychotherapy at a Jung-oriented Center – This is the best type of therapy I have ever gotten – the sort offered by my health ins. doesn’t even come close – so I splurge on their rates outside my health plan (and they are already discounted.)

I always think that money spent on your body (or psyche) is a good investment. It’s not a place to skimp.

11 Dana @ Letters to Elijah December 11, 2008

Scrapbooking paper… I don’t need but it makes me feel so good. Under $1 a sheet – it’s cheaper then coffee 🙂

Dana @ Letters to Elijah´s last blog post..Live feed: working hard 2:49pm

12 Donna Freedman December 11, 2008

1. Real butter: On toast, on cornbread, on homemade biscuits. Just a little goes a long way, and adds a little luxury to a meal of pinto beans and cornbread.
2. Diet Coke. I average about one a day, usually in my brown bag lunch. Constantly on the lookout for the best deal in 12- or 24-can packages.
3. Tastykakes. But only when I’m visiting family in New Jersey.
4. Massage. I consider it preventive medicine! I average one about every six or eight weeks, and use the student discount ($72 for 90 minutes).

Donna Freedman´s last blog post..Flexible holidays are much cheaper and less stressful

13 Vintage Mommy December 11, 2008

1. Half and half in my coffee; just can’t stand anything else!
2. Eggnog lattes (thank goodness they’re only available for a few weeks
3. Gym membership: I don’t get there more than 3x/week but without it I’d be nuts (and overweight)
4. Nuts on my morning oatmeal: I know they have a lot of calories and are not inexpensive, but they add so much flavor – and healthy fat!

Vintage Mommy´s last blog post..Holidays by Hand: Food Glorious Food!

14 Sarah H. December 11, 2008

I enjoyed this post. 🙂

A few of my guilty pleasures are big juicy steaks, trying new hot chocolate from cafes, buying music, sleeping in on Saturdays, and mountain dew!!

Sarah H.´s last blog post..The “YIKES there are only 2 weeks until Christmas” Comprehensive Checklist

15 Lisa December 11, 2008

Both frugal and decadent:
1. Frequent getaways back to France
2.Walks on the beach are time decadent
3. Yes, IKEA runs for candles and vases and floral
4. Sale jewlery at Chicos with a coupon: practically free
5. Lunch with the local Francophone group monthly
6. An au pair for my 4 year old. Cheaper than day care and helps me stay sane.

16 Emma December 12, 2008

I am joining the coffee addicts. Lattes are my weakness too, but I don’t feel guilty one bit for having them. These occasional simple pleasures is what keeps us human! We all deny ourselves too many things, make a whole lot of sacrifices for all kinds of good causes, let’s live a little, what do you say?

Emma´s last blog post..Feeding your baby – how much and how often?

17 Fabulously Broke December 12, 2008

Have you tried Hazelnut flavoured Creamers?

They are to DIE FOR in your coffee or tea.

Fabulously Broke´s last blog post..Pocket Profile: Fabulously Broke in the City on FILife!

18 Kelly December 13, 2008

@Fabulously Broke,

That’s my favorite flavor of creamer. i can’t get it here in France, but I buy it whenever I go back to the US. Yum!

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