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What My Unfrugal Side Costs Me

April 4th, 2014 at 05:18 am

Frugality without sacrifice is my spending motto*. But does the "without sacrifice" part sometimes push me over the edge into unfrugality? I took a close look at where my money goes and found quite a few items I could spend less on. So here is the rundown on what those items are, how much extra they are costing me, and what (if anything) I am going to do about it.

Baseline Spending**: An Extra $1430 a Year for Unfrugality
Groceries. Because it helps me control my weight and maintain good blood numbers, I pay an extra $20 a week to eat a meat-and-veggies diet without rice, pasta or potatoes. That is an extra $1000 a year.

Medical Checkups. Because I want to stay on top of my health, I get quarterly checkups instead of the standard annual one. That is an extra $60 a year in co-pays. (Thank goodness for insurance.)

Dental Cleanings. Because I hate having dental work done, I get quarterly cleanings instead of the standard semi-annual ones. That is an extra $170 a year.

Vehicle Maintenance. Because of their servicing system and convenience, I pay more to take my truck to Jiffy Lube instead of a local service station. That is an extra $200 a year.

What will I do about that extra $1430 a year in baseline spending? Nothing. All of it keeps either me or my truck in top running condition. And that, as they say, is priceless.

Discretionary Spending***: An Extra $1020 a Year for Unfrugality
Coffee. Because I like the taste so much, I pay an extra $10 a pound (!) to drink Tully's French Roast Keurig K-cups instead of drip coffee. That is an extra $180 a year.

Books. Because I love collecting them, I pay an average $5 a book instead of borrowing at the library. That is an extra $120 a year.

Motel Stays. Because I want the amenities it offers, I pay an extra $20 per night to stay at Best Western instead of Knight's Inn or Motel Six. That is an extra $480 a year.

Scotch Whiskey. Because I want the smoothness and the taste, I pay an extra $15 a bottle for Chivas Regal over a common brand. That is an extra $150 a year.

Beer. For the same reasons as for Scotch, I pay an extra $5 a six-pack to drink Beck's instead of Bud (or Old Milwaukee!). That is an extra $90 a year.

What will I do about that extra $1020 a year in discretionary spending? Nothing. All of that money comes out of my discretionary fund*** which is there precisely for guiltless spending on whatever I want.

All told, my unfrugal side is costing me $2450 a year. But that is less than 10% of the annual surplus cash I have after covering my $18,000 annual baseline budget**. So I think I will give myself a break and let it be.

# # #

*My Financial Independence Key:
http://retired-to-win.savingadvice.com/2013/12/17/my-financi...

**My $18K Annual Baseline Budget:
http://retired-to-win.savingadvice.com/2013/12/29/my-18k-ann...

***A Discretionary Fund, Not a Discretionary Budget:
http://retired-to-win.savingadvice.com/2014/03/29/a-discreti...

5 Responses to “What My Unfrugal Side Costs Me”

  1. Mooshocker Says:

    I too believe that enjoying some of the fruits of our labor is critical to our phsycological prowess. I, for one, will not give up my books or the purchasing thereof. Someday I am going to build some nice (but simple) wall to wall bookshelves and showcase my collection.

    I took about 1/2 hour prior to commenting on this blog and honestly can't find any one particular area of my life (not the kids) whereby I am beholden to anything. I have some minor likes such as: Greek No Fat Plain Yogurt; Unsalted Almonds; Fresh Veggies; Lean Meats (Pork, Chicken, Turkey); Steel Cut Oats; Bottled Water (I have a cholorination system and the water is yucky). I dont consume alcohol on a measurable level and never purchase any unless it's to bring to a party/gathering; I have no vices to speak of unless reading and saving money counts.

    I suppose the one thing I do splurge on three or four times per year is Sushi with the girls. This totals about $600.00 annually and I really enjoy their enjoyment with the food and the experience.

    I guess, after blogging about this, I am pretty happy with my no-nonsense, simple lifestyle. But that said, I honestly do not feel left out or that I am going without anything that brings joy to my life. Jamie

  2. Retired To Win Says:

    There you go, Mooshocker. The key is not to feel left out -- which is another way of stating my "frugality without sacrifice" motto.

    I too, IF I HAD TO, could cut back on each and every "unfrugal" expense category I listed in my post. But, thank goodness, I do not have to. Smile

  3. snafu Says:

    We need to enjoy life so we all have different spendy categories but I was surprised that you see your food costs higher because you avoid the high glycemic carb foods. I find the opposite which I ascribe to being satisfied with slightly smaller portions of meat.

    We eat lentils, barley you avoid. We try to do salad and two vegetables that the family will eat.

  4. Retired To Win Says:

    Hi, Snafu...

    Thanks for the feedback. My food consumption (and expense) gets pumped up by larger meat portions, costly veggies like cauliflower and broccoli, lots of fruit (daily breakfast strawberries, for instance) and lots and lots of snacking!

  5. Danielle Says:

    I have a discretionary fund too. I just have to work on not feeling bad when I spend from it.

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