I am a huge pro wrestling nerd. (Yes, I know it’s scripted but it’s still real to me dammit!). I am such a geek about it that I managed to incorporate it during my best man speech at my brother’s wedding. First, like a true wrestling heel (i.e. bad guy) I got the crowd to boo me by making fun of the local NBA team (Golden State Warriors), and then finished my speech by getting the crowd to stand up and chant “YES!” in unison like then WWE Champ Daniel Bryan. It. Was. Epic.
What does this have to do with anything?
The week after I got laid off my brother and I went to a WWE event at The Staples Center in LA. Since my brother isn’t much of a wrestling guy (he is not the biggest fan of watching men in tights battle ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), I offered to pay for both of us. Total cost? Over $300 for two suite tickets.
This is not really an expense you would expect from a guy who sometimes describes as cheap, right? But here’s the thing that people might not realize about me – I actually LIKE spending money.
For example, there are quite of few things that my family has spent money on recently that some might think is a bit extravagant for such frugal folks:
• iPhone 6 for wife – $750 (subsidized plans or monthly payments are the devil)
• New Orleans Vacation – $2800
• Christmas gifts – +$1000
• Annual Membership to the Long Beach Aquarium – $125
• An I Love the 90’s Concert featuring Vanilla Ice and Color Me Bad. Seriously. – $125
It’s Okay to Spend Money on Fun
I think a common misconception about budget nerds like me is that we don’t do anything fun with money. You have to save everything and you should never buy a fancy outfit or a 4KTV. That’s not the case at all. If those things are important to you – by all means buy it. We all work hard for our money. If you can afford something, you shouldn’t feel guilty about buying something others might think is silly.
Buying Whatever I Want
Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich says “Spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.” Being money conscious is all about making sure what you’re spending on really matters to you.
My wife and I are frugal in some areas so that we can spend more on what is most important to us. We have a smaller house, cheaper cars, and older gadgets so so that we can afford to go on vacations, weekend adventures, and even go to a crappy concert. My wife, who likes to go shopping for her and Addie on occasion, balances out her spending by cutting back on work lunches and cooking at home.
For the most part, our wants aren’t things but memorable experiences and a brighter future for our family. My daughter will probably grow up not having the coolest toys or clothes, but she will experience the world and will always be taken care of. We’ll probably spoil her plenty with some stuff along the way. 🙂
Saving for Tomorrow vs. Spending Now
Now I’m not suggesting that you should blow your money to have fun today. Before Addie, I didn’t want to sacrifice fun in the present by focusing too much on saving for the future. I now realize that if you pay a little attention to your money, YOU COULD ACTUALLY DO BOTH.
It’s all about finding that balance between seizing the day and planning for the future (Kristin from Brokepedia has a great post on how to go about doing that).
All of our savings goals (retirement, vacations, investments, emergency fund) are immediately paid on the first of the month so that we can spend the rest of the money on whatever we want. Even with my current layoff, we are still able to afford to go out and buy random crap because we have a decent cushion (and the superpower of budgeting).
Kristin said it best –