By Samantha Brockschmidt • March 21, 2014
There is a big difference between being money savvy and being overly cautious with your expenditures. Some purchases are much more significant than others in the long run, such as buying a car versus buying a laptop, or paying the light bill instead of purchasing a cup of coffee. Priorities are a must when it comes to your expenses, and trying to save a few extra dollars on certain products or services really is not beneficial at all costs because it has a tendency to lead to fix-up costs later on. Here are a few moments in your life when you are going to want to splurge, and should feel absolutely exuberated in doing so.
Phone service, not phone type.
The integration of technology into our daily lives use to be avoidable—now, it is frugal. Having a phone is essential in communicating with loved ones, connecting to work and potential career opportunities, advancing your social network, and staying up to date on news and the world around you. However, having a cell phone means absolutely nothing if you do not have adequate service.
When you start shopping for a new phone, you should not start off asking what type of phone you want or which features you like most. Those are secondary needs. The primary needs you should focus on are having decent service, the ability to text in case of an emergency, and if the phone is durable through all sorts of weather and personal maintenance regarding how hard you are on your devices, if you drop your phone a lot, have children, or easily misplace items. Services like AT&T and Verizon Wireless are renowned for being some of the top worldwide service providers. Each may have their disadvantages, such as Verizon’s bigger expense over AT&T but AT&T’s bigger tendency to disconnect, but both are highly rated. The point is choosing a server that actually provides consistent service. If you cannot connect to the Internet, make phone calls wherever you travel, or be able to drop your device once in awhile without having to replace it, your purchase is insignificant.
New technology is rapidly advancing and new phones come out quite often. Paying $300 for a phone that you could pay for refurbished or a year later at half that price is much more valuable because you focused your expenses on the operations of the phone, not how it looks or fits into the latest trend. You spend so much money on this kind of technology anyway, so you may as well put that money to good use and plan for upcoming technological advances the following year.
Apartment, condo, or house down payments.
A home describes a place of security, no matter what size it comes by. If you are in the market to place a new roof over your head, feel free to browse the most luxurious, ideally located listings that fit your budget. Saving a few hundred dollars is not worth being stuck in a mediocre neighborhood, far from work where you have to pay more excessive amounts of money in gas to travel, and away from those you socialize with on a regular basis.
Purchasing an apartment, condo, or house is not a momentary judgment call. This kind of expenditure represents, give or take, the next decade of your life! It is a huge, monumental decision! If you decide to make a down payment on your home, don’t worry about anything more than whether or not you can afford it in the long run. Apartments.com is an excellent way to browse quality homes and inquire about the area. H&R Block is also a wonderful way for home buyers to prepare for this kind of important purchase.
You should not be trying to save a couple hundred here or there in placement of a lack of utilities. Make your purchase have value, where you shouldn’t have to worry about parking in a poorly designed neighborhood or dealing with your landlord on a regular basis to fix up a damaged sink, broken heater, or faulty air conditioner in the summer. It is just not worth the headache to pay a little extra for a more relaxing, comforting, safe, and efficient living environment.
Athletic shoes, not gym memberships.
I’m literally talking about athletic shoes here, and a few other less expensive types of workout equipment. It may seem like a smaller kind of purchase to you, and you would be right, but it is much more valuable than your gym membership or yoga class you hardly go to or pay too much for or that late night TV advertisement for the newest ab, butt, leg, or chest enhancer. Investing in your body does not have to be a huge expense. Many make the mistake of purchasing impulse workout regimes because they want to instantly feel better about their bodies or the dedication they put into managing their personal life, work, and their health. I am one of those people that have purchased exercise equipment on impulse and have learned from it.
A couple of years ago I bought the “ab coaster”, having tried it out at the gym once and thinking that, long term, I would benefit from purchasing this product for myself. Since the moment it has arrived at my door it has been in a sealed box. I got busy. Instead of doing alternative exercises like running around the block, meditation, recreational basketball, beach volleyball, or even taking up a kickboxing class once a week, I decided to spend hundreds of dollars on a product that made me feel like I had easier access to working out at home. I had those choices all along, but that’s just it—it’s a choice, and one which I put off until summer when I felt like I had the time.
We all have time to take a few minutes to ourselves and work out. We take that time while watching television, going out to eat real quick, renting a movie, and so forth. What do you really want from yourself? Ask that question before you purchase a TV workout fad, or worse, a gym membership. Gym memberships, in my opinion, are really one of the most foolish purchases people make because they allow themselves to be coaxed into committing to long-term purchases that they know they are not going to benefit from but continue to pay because it provides an envisioned social status to the consumer mindset. You are basically signing off on an investment for somebody else’s pocket, unless you really do go on a regular basis, which actually takes away from dedicating your time to other life goals. Put your money into a good, solid pair of running shoes. Shop places like Sports Authority or FootLocker to find alternative methods to stay in shape and not pay too much. When it comes down to it, exercise is really a matter of perseverance and can be done anywhere at any time because your body is its own workout tool.
Hotel and travel expenses.
Traveling is definitely one of those expenses you are going to want to splurge in, whether it is flight, food, or especially hotel costs. First and foremost, if you are going a long way and require airfare to get you safely on the ground, never settle for anything than top quality protection and service. Flying is still a dangerous aspect in travel, and you should be able to rely on an airline that can give you the most security, consistency, and reliable method of getting you on and off the plane.
Food, proper clothing, and preparing for your vacation ahead of time are also expenses to check in on. When my family traveled to Hawaii, we had an amazing time. Money was not the priority, even if we were aware of our budget. Planning for a horseback ride to a waterfall, surfing lessons, and day trips around the area not only provided us with amazing opportunities to explore a once in a lifetime trip, but gave us the security we needed to adventure in a foreign area. Feel free to spend what you want on different kinds of food—it’s part of the culture! Pack more than enough clothes that fit the new climate, too, because it is better to be prepared than to be miserable on your already lavish expense of taking a big vacation.
The right hotel is also a must when it comes to not worrying about money. You do not want to be in a hotel that is unclean, has poor service, or is located far away from key areas of interest during your travel. Spend that extra money on an ideal, beautiful, sanitary, and welcoming hotel. You can also find great homes that are safe for everyone through HomeAway.com, which helps people vacation as if they were actually residents in that particular area. It also allows you to feel at home in a private, cozy house that can fit your individual or family needs better than a hotel.
You could be in the market for a family-recommended car, sports vehicle, or motorcycle. The purchasing decision of any motor vehicle requires significant research, heavy questioning, insurance, reassurance of your inquiry, and dedication that the vehicle of your choosing is going to provide for your current needs as well as prospective travel plans. It is kind of really an important deal.
Similar to the well-known Kelly Blue Book site which helps buyers and sellers find out the value of their motor vehicles and make smart purchases, Cars.com offers the same great online shopping experience for people. If you are selling a car, you should understand what value your car is really worth, how you should fairly and competitively price your vehicle to potential buyers, and whether or not it is worth more to hang onto your car if it needs minor tune ups or moderations than sell it and buy a new vehicle. For those in the market to purchase a car, you deserve to be provided the same information about the value of your possibly new vehicle, if it is better to buy used or new given the car of your choosing, and whether or not you may be better off leasing a vehicle depending on your current needs or if you could afford monthly payments and build your credit. Be aware that dealers will try to take advantage and play the “money game”, asking you how much you can pay. If they won’t provide you with an answer, make sure you set your price relatively, but also reasonably, lower than what they are asking for—they want your business! The value of a vehicle only depreciates with the passing of time, so you hold more power than they do. Setting a low price allows you the flexibility to meet them “halfway” at your original purchasing point of interest. They don’t have to know that, but you will, and they will work with you to make payment plans that fit your needs.
Buying a car, or any vehicle, is one of those expenses you are going to want to take sufficient time with but not shop for price sensitively. It is more than alright to expect an amazing deal on your car, but you should not compromise too much of your purchase to save some money that is relatively a small savings compared to all the benefits you could receive for a durable, comfortable, technologically advanced, vehicle with great mileage, high safety ratings, comfortable seating, and more progressive than prior models before it. Remember that splurging does not mean you spend $60,000 on a luxury vehicle—it means spend $20,000 for a new or used one that you know will last in the years to come, not $5,000 on your neighbor’s old car that you have no warranty for if it malfunctions or needs repairs that were due to prior usage before your purchase. Spend those few extra thousand dollars. You are already putting a lot of time, thought, and money into trying to learn about the wide selection of vehicles available and how they can benefit you. Your purchase should be one that makes you feel intelligent after you sign the paperwork and brings you a sense of happiness and comfort.
Splurging in some expenses is alright. Keep that in mind. After interning with a wonderful marketing team in Santa Monica, I have learned a lot about how buyers and sellers interact, what promotional tactics are utilized in the most effective manner, where to make bold statements about merchants, and when to discuss business on a more personal level with the consumer. Being blessed to have the opportunity to work with intelligent professionals in the advertising industry has really taught me a lot about how to discuss business metrics. Understanding how to be frugal is one of those life lessons you don’t always realize until it is learned, but knowing how to shop smart and when it is appropriate to fully indulge in your expenses on a reasonable budget is the first step to being a savvier consumer. These kinds of expenses are some where you can take this advice and knowledge and feel confident in your purchase.
Samantha Brockschmidt Samantha Brockschmidt is passionate about adventure and writing. With her B.A. in Communication Studies and Marketing, her career has only just begun! This adrenaline guru is learning just how fast-paced LA really is, and she cannot wait to share it all with you!