I’ve been thinking a lot lately about budgeting. On Friday, I wrote about how I used a Pinterest savings plan to stash away some extra money for my emergency fund, and since then, I’ve figured that I really do need to tighten up even more (is it possible to tighten a budget that hardly includes anything? *stay tuned*) in order to save up even more for a) the holidays, b) my impending move out of my family home, and c) the fact that I’m graduating in May and need to become a True Adult with a stacked savings account basically as soon as possible.
I’ve always been of the school of thought that spending bits of money on “unnecessary” things in order to enjoy life is totally okay, because a life without any simple pleasure or enjoyment is hardly worth it. We also all know very well that my not-so-guilty pleasure is clothes. I buy them, I think, in the best way possible — mostly secondhand, and selling my own along the way to use a money-in, money-out system. But with all of the milestones that I want to fiercely save for, I have cut out clothes shopping entirely. (Which will be particularly hard this week, as I am a sucker for Black Friday deals).
I want to budget more strictly and methodically than ever, and that means cutting out things that were previously non-negotiable, and just a part of my every day — like shopping for cute clothes, buying Starbucks, and even my beloved Vogue subscription. (That $13/year better be worth it, because I’ll deeply miss that glossy thing arriving in my mailbox each month.)
Difficult as it may be (lol Mary stop being dramatic — it isn’t that hard), it also got me thinking a lot about what kind of “extra” expenses other people consider to be an essential part of daily life. I decided to ask a bunch of people (who regularly let me bother them and ask questions — thanks squad) what “non-necessity” they consider to be “non-negotiable” in their lives. What is really “worth it” to keep spending on, even when it isn’t necessary? Here’s what they had to say.
1. “All organic food/health food. I’m in really good health and it is totally worth it that I’ve basically refused to buy anything that doesn’t have a Whole Foods seal of approval. Although I know that ShopRite is cheaper by an insane amount. I could probably be living fine shopping there, but I feel like a fancy Yoga person when I come home with bags from Whole Foods full of organic snacks.” – Katie
2. “Makeup! I say this because I am aware that sometimes, makeup totally is a necessity. I know the pressure we are under as women to look good in the workplace, and I know the implications of having bad skin or insecurities and what that does to self-esteem. So makeup can be seen as a necessity in my opinion, but for me it definitely isn’t — I have really perfect skin (I got lucky) and look fine without it. I can go bare-faced to work and look professional and clean and fine. But it is totally something I wouldn’t live without. It is a non-negotiable for me just because it is so fun and I love the way I feel when I wear it. I budget it in like necessary toiletries — I’ll be like, oh, I need to pick up soap, toilet paper, and concealer. It is something I always need and always have.” – Shannon
3. “Gel manicures, and before you say anything, I know it isn’t necessarily a good habit. I know it is expensive, unnecessary, and kind of bad for my nails. It isn’t that it is expected in my line of work that I look perfect, but I do work around a lot of really well put-together women, and it just makes me feel better to have a beautiful manicure all the time. So I go every two weeks, I would obviously give it up if I had to, but I don’t think I would otherwise.” – Kayla
4. “Seasonal décor. LOL. I swap out my toss pillows and home decorations and all of that every season. I love Christmas decorations. I have so many, I don’t think my home feels like my home without them.” – Rebecca
5. “Happy hour cocktails at least once a week. I don’t kid myself into believing it is a part of networking — it isn’t for me. I just like to go out and have fun, and I make it a point to go to the bar at least once a week, even though I should probably be trying to cut back on that to save money. We’ve been saving for a down payment and thinking about buying a place and are trying to cut costs wherever possible, but hell if I’ll give up happy hour.” – Crystal
6. “Vacations, multiple times per year. I honestly don’t think life is worth it if you don’t travel or go on vacations; it isn’t worth working a job that doesn’t allow you time to relax and vacation and do what you enjoy. I go on at least two or three trips abroad each year, I wouldn’t ever live a lifestyle that wouldn’t allow for that.” – Alex
7. “This is so dorky, but cosplay. My friends and I have been doing it since high school — we are well into our 20s now, and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon. It is worth it, we budget for it however we can and it is fun to do as a group, to go to conventions and plan costumes and make them. It is expensive, though.” – Sam
8. “The latest iPhone pretty much always. I get a new one every time it comes out. But to be honest, it isn’t that much more money to do that instead of hanging onto the old one. But I work a tech job and I just like to stay as updated as possible, plus I think they’re cool. I always, always have the newest one. I always will.” – Stephen
9. “I have a subscription to like, every single streaming service possible. As if I need to be able to watch any TV show or movie at any moment. Which I totally don’t — I hardly do, actually. But I have them all, and I also have cable. I wouldn’t get rid of any of it. I work long days and I don’t have a lot of time to watch, but when I do, I like to take my pick and be able to catch up on any show. So the Smart TV was money well spent, and I think the monthly payments to stream anything I want are, too. I just consider it a bill like my water and electric bill, it isn’t something I consider an extra thing. So that’s probably the closest to a non-necessity that is pretty much not negotiable in my life.” – Tim
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