Where Do You Spend, and Where Do You Save?

Look, I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m not frugal in every aspect of my life.  There are times when I enjoy spending a little extra money (call it splurging).  Each one of us has different priorities, so where we spend extra money will be different for each of us.

Now, I want to back up for a second.  Before I allow myself to splurge in an area, I ask myself this first, “have I been diligently funding my retirement accounts?”  This and saving for an emergency fund are two top priorities for EVERYONE, no questions asked.  If you do these two things, then if you have money left over, feel free to spend it!  There isn’t a better feeling in the world than knowing you can spend some money guilt-free, knowing that you’ve done your due diligence in saving for retirement!

Saving money and being frugal needs to be in balance with your spending habits.  I compare this with a diet.  If you deprive yourself of all bad foods, you will most likely end up breaking the diet, and won’t be able to stick with it.  On the other hand, if you stick to a diet that has “cheat days” built in, you keep your sanity and stay with the diet indefinitely.

Here are some areas of my life where I splurge or save:

Cell Phone: SAVE

I’ve been on my parents family plan for years and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.  One may argue that I’m not acting like an independent adult.  If willingly throwing money out the door is being an adult, then I guess I’m not one!  I just see nothing wrong with staying on the family plan.  Also, I never buy expensive or fancy phones.  There are many websites who offer a wide selection of cheap cell phones.  I currently own an android smart phone that I purchased for $50 a year ago.  I plan on keeping this phone until I get another free upgrade from Sprint.  Also, I pay for very few minutes.  Since Sprint has unlimited text for $10/month, I try to text my friends as much as possible.  If I do have to talk on the phone, Imake sure it’s at night, therefore making it free.


I’ll be honest, I really like food!  And not just any food, it has to be good food!  I’m a recreational bodybuilder, so I’m very  conscious of the food I put into my body.  I try to buy free-range/organic eggs, milk and meat whenever I can.  I justify this because I rarely eat out.  I’m a big believer in investing in your body.  A healthy body is one of the most important assets you have.  You want to be alive and kicking during retirement right?!

Clothes: SAVE

I don’t buy into the designer fashion industry.  I stick with run of the mill brands at store like ROSS,  Marshall’s, Target and Macy’s.  Why pay extra for branding?  Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, who knows haha.  I just could care less about the brand.  Go ahead, scoff at my lack of fashion, we’ll see who’s driving the Ferrari 20 years from now!

Cable Internet: SPLURGE

I’m only considering this category a splurge for me because I have the fastest internet out there.  This is also dependent on my landlord.  I currently rent, so my options were to either have fast cable internet or no internet at all.  This is a pretty insignificant cost anyways…


Who has time to watch TV?  There’s not a lot of time left in the day after 12 hours at the office and two hours at the gym.  I don’t watch TV and I don’t own a  flat screen  either.  It’s just not that important to me.

Toiletries/Skin & Hair Care/Cosmetics: SAVE

Friend who know me will tell you I’m extremely cheap in this category.  I re-sharpen by  Gillette blades, and use the $1 bottles of Barbasol.  I use clippers to cut my own hair.  I buy bargain shampoo and use the cheapest toothpaste possible.  Some would argue that this is an area where you should splurge.  Well, my response would be that i get the same end-result using the cheaper products.

Travel: SAVE

I’ve seen the world thanks to my parents.  They were missionaries, so we were constantly moving around.  I’ve been to China, Japan, Portugal, Spain, Holland, Britain and Mexico.  I’d love to travel again someday, but right now it’s not a priority in my life.  The most traveling I do now is flying to see my beautiful girlfriend in Memphis and to see my family in Seattle.


I’m a guy, can you blame me!  I drive a 2004 Acura TL.  It was my dream car right out of college.  I paid a large portion of this car in cash, but also took out a loan.  I justified this loan because of the low interest rates (3%).  Believe it or not, I’m actually making more money having this loan.  The loan freed up some of my cash to invest in the stock market where I’m making significantly more than 3%.  I plan on keeping the TL for years to come, so to me, this is a great investment.

Insurance: SAVE

Why pay more for auto insurance?  The key here is to stay away from the big insurance companies like State Farm and Liberty Mutual.  your best bet is to stick with a local insurer where you live.  Also, I have a high deductible and every possible discount available.  i also don’t over-insure my car.  While it’s not at the bare minimum, my insurance is definitely on the lower end of plans out there.  To ensure I’m getting the best deal possible, i look around at other company’s rates once a year.

Entertainment: SAVE

I never go out to movies.  I have a monthly Netflix subscription and watch HULU for free.

Now, what about you?  What areas do you save or splurge?