We all know that frugal living when you are really restricting yourself can be like dieting… all that hard work and progress, and then you just can’t take it anymore and splurge! Stop sabotaging yourself and plan for a frugal splurge night so that you don’t wreck your savings!
What We Learned the Hard Way
My husband and I used to ruin all the progress we made from our thrifty ways every pay day. We’d start thinking, “We deserve a reward because it’s Friday night and we’ve been good at not spending money for the last 2 weeks.”
A typical weekend of reckless spending used to look like this:
Friday we’d hit Blockbuster and get 5 movies for mom and dad, 2-3 kid movies, grab the ice cream bars and candy in the checkout line, and leave the movie store with $25-$30 less than we went in with. Then we’d pick up some takeout, usually Chinese food or Carl’s Jr., for $20-$40.
Saturday, we’d run our errands and eat fast food for lunch, $15-$20. Then, knowing we’d be too tired to cook once we got home from all those errands, we’d hit takeout again for dinner. $20-$40.
Sunday, I’d leave the family at home and head out for grocery shopping. Grab snacks from the deli while shopping: $5 and a Starbucks coffee: $5. Thinking that I did not want to cook after I got home and put away all the groceries, I’d hit up fast food to take home with me. $15-$20.
The total of our reckless non-frugal spending: $105 to $160, depending on the restaurants, for a devastating 3 days!
This splurge weekend that occurred twice a month completely wiped us out of all the spending money that we would have had. A lot of times, we spent more than we really had because it seemed like small, harmless amounts would not add up the way they do.
Once we realized that our weekend splurges were sabotaging the rest of our monthly frugality, we made a new plan for treating ourselves without devastating our monthly budget.
Plan Ahead for Frugal Splurge Nights
To avoid sabotaging your savings, plan for a frugal splurge night in advance. This will allow your family to still have a reward for your good work while keeping it reasonable. Here is an example of how we did a frugal treat night for the family:
1. Frugal movie rentals. We went to Blockbuster, got only 2 movies (no new releases allowed). $1.98. We even got a coupon at the checkout for 1 free rental!
2. Frugal copycat fast food. We went to Safeway and got the ingredients to make yummy hamburgers at home. Total for hamburger supplies: $23.96. Keep in mind that some of the ingredients (steak sauce, ketchup, Tabasco, lettuce) will be used for more than just this one meal. Our hamburgers were so delicious, we had them for dinner Saturday night too! So that really takes the meal cost down to $11.98 per night.
3. Frugal movie snacks. Walmart for the candy part of our movie night: $5
Total Frugal Splurge Night Cost: $30.94!
Home Ever After tip: Don’t sabotage your savings with splurges! Think ahead and be smart about planning treats for your family. Frugal rewards are great!