3 Small Expenses I Don't Feel Bad Splurging On

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  • Though I have aggressive savings goals, there's room in my budget for modest indulgences.
  • There are certain treats in particular that aren't worth giving up.

Though I'm careful with money, these treats take priority for me.

I've always been conscious about saving money. From a young age, my parents taught me the importance of having an emergency fund. And while I'm now all set in that regard, I have other items I'm trying to save for, like retirement and my kids' college. As such, I'm pretty strict about savings in my budget.

At the same time, though, there's room in my budget for certain items that aren't essential bills. Here are three modest luxuries I spend money on consistently and refuse to give up.

1. Store-bought coffee

Like many people I know, I have a coffee maker at home that lets me brew my own cup of joe for pennies. And sometimes, I fall back on it. Most days, however, I treat myself to a $3 cup of coffee I pick up on the way back from taking my kids to school.

I realize that by purchasing that coffee, I'm technically wasting about $60 a month (on weekends, I make coffee at home). But to me, it's actually not a waste -- it's an investment in a small treat that gets me through the morning and helps me be productive at work.

2. Takeout meals

As a busy full-time working parent, there are days when I just don't have time to cook. There are many afternoons when I'll grab my kids from school, shuttle them to an activity, and then rush over to a second activity, so that by the time we're back home, it's 6:30 or 7 at night. At that point, my kids are hungry and need to eat, so if I can pick up a pizza or Thai food on the way home, it's much easier.

To be clear, I don't do takeout every night -- not even most nights. But sometimes, it's an easy solution to dinner when my schedule is packed. And also, since I'm self-employed, the more I work, the more I earn. So while takeout might cost more money than a home-cooked meal, if it saves me 45 minutes in the kitchen, that's 45 minutes I can spend boosting my income a little bit.

3. Streaming services

As someone who doesn't watch much TV, I have a limited need for streaming services -- except for when my favorite sports team is playing a game that can only be viewed on one. That's happened a few times this year, since ESPN+ got exclusive rights to a limited number of hockey games.

On several occasions, I've spent the $6.99 a month on ESPN+ knowing I'm doing so for the express purpose of being able to watch a single blacked-out game. But since it's a modest outlay, I figure I'm entitled to not have to miss a game if I don't want to.

Saving money is important to me, and to that end, I've made choices that help make that possible. I own a home whose mortgage is fairly inexpensive relative to my income, and one of our cars is a 15-year-old vehicle that we won't upgrade until we really have to. Because I keep my major expenses on the low side, I'm able to swing these small luxuries without having to stress about it -- or feel guilty that I'm treating myself to small things that make life easier and better.

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