I’m a Frugal Person, but I’ll Splurge on These 3 Things

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Some purchases are worth the extra money in my book.

I've always been a pretty frugal person by nature. Though my husband and I can afford a new second car, we continue to drive our beat-up, 14-year-old vehicle because we don't use it every day and don't see the sense in taking on a car payment when we're auto-debt free. We also live in a home that's below our current means so we can free up money for other important goals, like padding our savings and socking funds away for retirement.

But despite my frugal nature, I do think some things are worth spending a bit of money on. Here are three items I won't hesitate to pay more for.

1. Good shoes

I'm part of an active family. We do a lot of walking, hiking, and playing outdoors. And that's why I'm willing to pay a premium for quality footwear, and replace shoes and sneakers as often as needed. I could get away with buying cheap shoes for my kids that cost $20 a pair, knowing full well they probably won't last more than six months. But I'd rather spend $50 on supportive footwear that's better geared toward sports and running.

2. Healthy food

It costs more money to eat a plant-heavy diet than a junky one. But my family is really big on fruits and vegetables, so it's not unusual for me to spend a good $80 a week on produce alone (and that includes buying some of those items in bulk at a warehouse club). While I know it's possible for us to lower our grocery bills, I'm happy to spend the money on quality food that's packed with nutrients. And also, I think variety is important, and to achieve that, it sometimes means spending money on higher-end fruits that pretty much never go on sale.

3. Books

Before the pandemic began, we used to hit up the library all the time. It was easy -- we'd reserve a stack of books, borrow them, renew them as needed, and return them at our convenience. Nowadays, borrowing from our local library is a lot more limited, and while it's easy to reserve books to read on an e-reader, checking out physical books is more difficult. As such, I've spent a lot more money than usual on books this past year, and I don't regret that in the slightest.

My son loves to read and does so first thing in the morning and before he goes to bed at night. And while I could get him free library books to read on his tablet, seeing as how he now learns remotely from home, I don't need him staring at a screen for an extra hour each day. I feel the same way about myself. I, too, spend my days in front of a computer, so it's worth it to me to buy a book to read every week for $10 rather than subject my poor eyes to yet another screen before bed.

It's all about getting your money's worth

There are some things in life I don't think are worth the money -- designer clothing, fancy handbags, and even, to some extent, restaurant meals. (I love ordering takeout from our go-to spots, where $30 feeds my whole family dinner, but I generally can't bring myself to spend $45 on a fancy restaurant entree that barely feeds a single person.) But to me, spending money on better shoes, healthy food, and books is totally worthwhile.

You, meanwhile, may have your own set of priorities, and that's okay. There's nothing wrong with spending money on the things that are most important to you, provided you can do so without going into debt. But if you're going to splurge, make it meaningful. Buy things that will bring you a substantial amount of joy or things you can put to good use. The more mindful you are, the less likely you'll be to regret that extra spending.

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