3 Expenses in My Budget I Refuse to Cut -- Even Though They'd Save Me Money

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Though I'm all about saving money, here are a few expenses I won't budge on.

Saving money is important to me, and it always has been. In the past, my savings account has bailed me out when home or car repairs have snuck up on me. And just recently, it helped me cover $3,000 in veterinary bills I wasn't expecting.

Of course, my savings account doesn't just magically grow. Rather, I need to fund it by making sure I spend less than I earn.

To that end, through the years, I've had to adjust different spending categories in my budget to free up cash. That has often meant cutting back on things like entertainment, travel, and even, at one point in my life, internet service. (Yes, I was that 20-something who sat in her apartment hallway with her laptop to bum free Wi-Fi off of the neighbors.) But when it comes to spending vs. saving, I also have my priorities. Here are three expenses I simply will not reduce.

1. Fresh produce

At the risk of sounding like too much of a hippie, I truly believe that it's important to put healthy, wholesome food into our bodies. And I'm grateful that my children enjoy vegetables and fruit as much as I do. But I also know that fresh produce is expensive. Cutting back would save us a lot of money on groceries, but to me, that's just not worth it. I'd rather buy bagfuls of fruit and veggies every week and skimp someplace else.

2. Quality athletic shoes

My family is pretty big on physical fitness. We hike almost every weekend and my husband, son, and I run multiple times a week. As a former distance runner, I know how important it is to wear the right sneakers when you're running regularly, so I won't hesitate to splurge on quality footwear. Doing so not only makes running more pleasant for all of us, but it helps us avoid injury.

3. Heating and cooling

The great thing about my home's open floor plan is that our downstairs has a very spacious feel to it. The bad thing about my open floor plan is that heating and cooling are difficult. All of that open space makes it difficult to trap hot or cool air where you want it, so during the winter and summer months, my utility bills tend to skyrocket. I could reduce them by lowering the heat or not pumping our air conditioner as much, but frankly, I'd rather spend the money and be comfortable in my house.

I work from home full-time (even before the pandemic), and the way I see it, I need to be able to focus on my job without sitting there chattering in January or sweating in August. What's more, it's been a year since my kids have attended school in person, and I refuse to make virtual school any more difficult for them by making it too hot or cold inside.

Saving money is all about setting priorities, and to me, these expenses aren't worth compromising on. I'd rather drive an older car, take road trips instead of fancy vacations, and buy budget clothing rather than high-end brands if it lets me feed my family healthy food, invest in quality athletic shoes, and keep my home at a reasonable temperature.

If you're looking to build or boost your savings, I'd encourage you to set some priorities, too. That way, you can focus your spending on the things that are most important to you without compromising on your financial goals.

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