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Purchasing When You Can Afford It

For those in debt, it’s easy to pass on purchases. When a $200 suit costs you $250 due to interest, it’s easy to see how much debt is hurting say, “I simply can’t afford it. My money could be much better spent on other things.”

But what about people who aren’t in debt? Let’s go one step further, if you have a healthy emergency fund, fully funded retirement fund, and have already put away money for other goals: how do you limit yourself from spending when you really can afford it?

Or do you splurge? If you splurge anything over your target savings goals, do you run the risk of lifestyle inflation and not being able to cut back when the money isn’t flowing as such a quick pace?

Some people say you can never save enough. Eventually you’ll get to the point where you have enough saved for retirement, but all along the way, you may be missing out on the things you really enjoy. And what’s the point of spending 30 years working hard and saving a ton of money if you never spend your hard-earned money?

Just like it’s easy to see why someone in debt can’t afford an expensive suit, it’s equally as easy to see why someone who has fully funded an emergency fund and hit all savings can. With all that money, why not enjoy some of it?

Having the proper balance is difficult. My advice is to hit the savings goals and then put in a little more and use the rest guilt-free.

Don’t try and put off purchases, don’t think about how much more you could save if you tucked a little bit more into each account. You’ve worked hard, you’ve been responsible in taking care of your goals, and now you have money left over. You’ve earned the right not to have to worry, not to have to stress, and not to have to think twice about your purchases.

Readers, how do you balance your savings goals while not being too constricting?



  1. If I don’t really need something, but I can afford it, I just won’t buy it if the need is not there

    • @Frugal Living, You never give in to your desires? There are always cool gadgets that I think I want or need, or maybe some new clothes. Sometimes it’s a little hard to say no to wants when the money is there.

    • @Frugal Living, so you don’t have things like a TV, computer or even a car? To be honest, those are all luxuries or conveniences and not necessities.

      I would find working hard and saving as boring and depressing if there is never a few goals of pleasure, whatever form that may be. There will always be something “more reasonable” to spend money on, but I don’t want to be a prisoner to my finances.

  2. I think saving towards specific goals is key, but it’s also helpful to have a ‘unidentified item’ savings pool, so that you can weigh that unexpected gadget or unexpected repair bill that comes along.

    • @Money Beagle, I have some miscellaneous room in my budget, but even a budget is a joke to me. I save enough and my costs of living are pretty low, so sometimes it seems like I’m vaguely saving for some semi-goals in the future that I can’t really visualize yet. A house? I’m far away from that.

  3. I think it’s easier to be more cautious with your finances when you’re not in debt and have an emergency fund. Usually, people who are in a good financial position are in it because they have restraint. They make sensical and logical decisions on what they’re purchasing, determining if they need it or just want it.

  4. Savings are automatic (payroll deduction)! We enjoy traveling and do so every year domestically or internationally (every other year). This balances savings and spending.

  5. Now that I’m not poor, I’m far more frugal than I was when I was poor. A lot of the time, when you’re in your 20s and falling further in debt, you think, “Well, what’s the difference? I’m already behind. Might as well have some short-term pleasure.”

    When the net worth turns positive, at least for me, it becomes almost a game: let’s see how large I can make that nest egg. And the more money I amass, the less trinkets appeal to me.

  6. Every time I go to buy something I go through a small thought experiment. Would I rather have this item, or fly to a foreign land? I usually imagine myself sipping an espresso at a sidewalk cafe in some European city or laying on the beach in a tropical locale. It really works! If I really need the item, I feel ok purchasing it. If I don’t need it, this thought experience helps me put it out of my mind and focus on what I really want to do with my money.

  7. Simple before I buy, I ask myself is this worth how many hours I have to work to pay for it?

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