Monday, April 2, 2012

Things on Which I Will Spend Our Hard-Earned Money

"Oh, what I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak!"

I recently read a great post on one of my favorite blogs in the world, Simple Organized Living. Inspired by Andrea's thoughts, I decided to completely rip her off and do a post with an identical idea. So before anyone says, "OMG, you totes stole Simple Organized Living's post! Plagiarizer! Thief! Scoundrel!", I am openly admitting to my scandalous intellectual theft and flattering Andrea by imitating her. 'K? Glad we got that settled.

So here are five things that I believe are (for us) worth a bit of a splurge, as well as a few things that (again, for us) are not.

1.) Good sheets

Ohhhhhhh, yeah. I am a TOTAL sheet snob. We own two sets, and both are 1000 thread count. I got them on Amazon for decent prices, but they were still splurges. And after five years of rotation, they are splurges which desperately need, um, re-splurged. But you know, the moment I find room in our budget, I will replace them with equally luxurious sheets with no guilt and no regret. Husband and I agree that our humongous California king-size bed was one of the best purchases we ever made, because it not only accommodates his 6'4" frame, our mutually agreed-upon need for "space" while we sleep, and our hippie co-sleeping ways, but it's super comfortable. I refuse to taint (*snort* I said taint...) that comfort by sleeping on sandpapery sheets.

2.) Organic groceries

This mutant apple was grown without chemicals.
Okay, so as I've said before, my cupboards and refrigerator are not perfect specimens of organic, natural virtue. There are frozen pizzas. There are pudding cups. There are Doritos and Grasshopper cookies. And that's not all.

BUT. When it comes to certain items, I never, ever compromise. I always buy organic produce (fruits and veggies), milk, beef, pork, and chicken, among other things. Some of our snacks do have gross, faux versions of these items in them, but for the most part, our meat and dairy are organic. And slowly but surely, as I find more organic products that I like and which offer convenience similar to that of their conventional, processed counterparts, I'm phasing out more and more of the fake crap. I like knowing that my kids are eating apples that haven't been poisoned, you know?

3.) Dishes

Um...what? Jen, you have 12-year-old Corelle sets that are holding up just fine! When have you ever splurged on a dish?

Fact is, I haven't. When I bought the husband, he came with the dishes, gifted to him by his parents when he moved out of their house. Like a dowry. I got dishes (which I get to wash) as a dowry. Whatever.

Anyway—after almost ten years of marriage, we've never replaced them, because they're fine. But I have picked out the next set of dishes I want in our lovely new home, and when I find them on sale, I will buy a place setting or two and put it aside. But even on sale, the ones I love are not cheap-o, and I'm fine with it. I feel happy when I look at them. I imagine serving my family and my guests with them. And since I'm not running out and dropping hundreds on them all at once, it feels like a fun process rather than a spontaneous splurge. That's a pretty importance difference to me.

4.) Haircuts

I like nice haircuts. I like having Heather do them, and Heather does not work at Super Cuts. So I save a little by waiting 10-12 weeks between cuts instead of only 6-8, and even though by the time I go in my ends are sort of begging to be set free, I love my nice haircuts and I choose not to give them up.

I also make up for the expense by doing my own nails and letting a little more time lapse between brow waxes than I'd like. I still feel great about myself, but I'm not spending any more than I would if I went somewhere cheaper more frequently. It's not for everyone, but it works for me.

5.) A few nice clothing items each year

I get a lot of our stuff at the Gap Outlet. We're lucky enough to live near one, and I can get a pair of $60 1969 Sexy Boot jeans for $10. But I will spend a little each year on a few nice things, usually good shoes for Spazz for school, nice jeans and/or the boxers that Husband likes best, and a new cashmere or other great fabric sweater or two for myself.

But I will not spend top-dollar on:

1.) Water

I'm not saying I never drink bottled water, because on occasion, I do. But that's really only when I'm dying of thirst and I have no other options. The water from our fridge (that's how you know I'm from Kentucky—I say "fridge") is really awesome, and I bought a Brita pitcher to use when the fridge water randomly freezes up. And FYI, the pitcher was free after rebate. I can easily fill up one of my BPA-free mugs with water and be just fine.

The kids' Valentine's Day gifts
2.) Non-Christmas/Birthday gifts for my kids

We do actually buy our kids nice gifts for the major gift-giving holidays, but for things like Valentine's Day and Easter, I look to my coupons and my favorite blogs to help me score cheap and free candy and even toys. Spazz's Valentine's Day gift (a personalized card, a small box of chocolates, and a kid-friendly copy of Anne of Green Gables) cost me $2. Total. 'dactyl's was a little more expensive, but that's only because I used the University of Kentucky outfit I had bought him anyway as his gift, but his personalized card was free. Look, he outgrew his old UK onesie and he needed a new one for March Madness! Don't roll your eyes at me.

3.) Greeting cards

I used to drop $3-4 on cards for every occasion, but that got very old, very fast. Now I stock up on the $.99 cards at the drugstore and take advantage of the frequent free card codes from and to keep my supply at the ready. I already have (personalized) birthday cards for both of my kids, my nieces, my mother-in-law, and several other people, and I didn't pay a cent for them. I just wait for the codes and think ahead.

Talk back to me. What's worth it to you and what is absolutely not? I know haircuts are a big one that most of the frugal people I know choose not to spend tons of cash on, and they're all still sexy beasts, so tell me what makes sense to you and what doesn't. I won't judge. Much.


  1. As a greeting card small business owner, I'm fine with your entire post except for that. I will now send you a package of high quality, custom-made greeting cards, to see if I can win you over to the luxury.


  2. Hehe, Laura's cards are very nice, indeed! I do splurge there occasionally but just 'cuz it's Laura. Otherwise I tend to buy these awesome boxes of cards at 1/2 price that work out to about $.50 per card and look like something someone crafty would make, AND they come in an accordion file thing.

    We buy organic, too, and I love my fridge water so very much, though I wait until way after the filter is allegedly ready to be replaced to actually replace it. One splurge we do regularly is donut/Luckman coffee about once a month. I love my hair stylist, too, and tend to do that every other month.

    We also have to spend a decent chunk of money on suits etc. for Kurt for work, which pisses him off. I can't convince him to use dry cleaning for his shirts, though (and he is totally befuddled by the iron so unless I have thought ahead, he is sometimes rumpled even after spending that money, psht).

    But really, over half our money goes to mortgage/student loans each month. Another big chunk goes toward medical expenses since we have a high deductible plan.

  3. Laura's cards are a reasonable expense, though, because they're gorgeous and original. The stacks at CVS (grr) are just not worth $4 a pop.

  4. Could NOT agree more about bedsheets. We're all going to be in bed for 1/3 of our lives, so we might as well be as comfortable as possible.

  5. Yeah, we splurge on the bedsheets, too - although I allow for anything over 400 thread count. I like my nice haircuts, but I only go about twice a year. Most of my money goes to keeping our two cars alive, medical expenses (also high deductible plan, I hear ya Sarah), and sports crap. Our kids play a lot of freaking sports.
    And I make my own cards. Sorry Laura, but I have the supplies, I may as well use them. But your cards are gorgeous.