How serious are you about getting out of debt, reaching financial independence, or retiring early? Can you be committed to your goals and still have a favourite splurge you can indulge in?

A common misunderstanding about those chasing the FI/RE life is that everyone is a cheapskate without a life, or a tightarse who never opens their purse. Just because someone is choosing to utilise their finances efficiently doesn’t mean they can’t have a ‘normal’ life too. It’s just that ‘normal’ looks different to everyone.

By making smart decisions with your money you are able to budget or allocate all of your necessities, focus on your long term goals and still find room for the things you enjoy. It might mean cutting back on something else, or increasing income to allow something extra in. After all, isn’t life about living on your own terms and enjoying the ride?

I personally am partial to good food, experiencing new things and travelling to interesting places – ideally sharing those experiences with those I love. For me to have these things I’ve built what I consider reasonable allowances into my budget. For anyone who has read about my post-it-note budget you’ll know I’m a pretty simple person when it comes to budgeting, but it works for me. Each time I get paid, I put a set amount aside dedicated to the splurges.

Good food and experiences are built into my ‘me money’ category, giving me the flexibility to spend it straight away, or save for something bigger. This month it will go to quite a bit of eating out with family and friends as it is a time of many birthdays and interstate visitors. Other months is may go towards gifts for others (especially at Christmas), attending a sporting match, or short weekend trips away.

Travel has its own category – dedicated to bigger holidays. Even though we don’t do big trips frequently I still treat it as a regular expense so the money can grow in my savings account over time rather than wanting to go on a holiday and having to find the money quickly. When I want to go away I can see if I have the money in the account, or how log until I will have accumulated enough and off I go.

The general theme here is that you shouldn’t feel guilty for indulging occasionally, as long as you have a plan. If you know a large expense is going to come up in future, set aside some money each pay to go towards that. I also suggest a small amount of ‘me money’ to reward all your hard work and keep you motivated. I definitely don’t suggest going into debt for splurges, or having so many they are impacting on your other financial goals.

I’m not the only one who thinks this way. To help illustrate that a life of frugality doesn’t have to be boring and restrictive I reached out to my Twitter followers and asked “What is the 1 splurge you don’t want to give up?” Here are their responses for you.

  • Booze. Wait. Is that splurge or a necessity? @wereallpoorhere
  • Roller Derby! This sport is pricey, but the phrase “Roller Derby Saved My Soul” is the truest thing ever spoken @FIRE_By_35
  • Travel. I’ve given up takeaways, alcohol, meals out, clothes, cinema trips, etc in previous years to put the money towards a holiday @tortoise_happy
  • Comics, although I always buy from @humble now. It’s not only frugal, it’s donating to charity at the same time. So much #winning! @EnoughTimeTo
  • Oroton. They last forever so I don’t buy it a lot but it’s my brand of choice. I’ve had my Oroton purse for over ten years!! @AWPoopsie
  • When I managed to give up everything, I couldn’t give up travel. I worked second and third jobs to make sure I could still do that @luxthrift 
  • Big splurge? Travel. Small splurges? Ice cream. Totally unnecessary but practically a food group lately.  @picksuppennies
  • Torn between travel and live music @SeekingTheDivis
  • Buying books. I love to read @AllAboutTheDivi
  • Red wine is life water. @HerMoneyMoves
  • $6 bahn mi dinners out. @bravelygo
  • Sports. I’m a big college football fan. I’m not giving that up for anything. (It’s in my emergency fund calculations) @8020yourfinance
  • Just one? Hmmmm . . . hotel snob on vacations . . .@TeacherInvestor
  • Yep travel for me too @MoneySavingJrny
  • Definite ice cream! We always seem to have some stocked away. Halo Top is our go to! @mrjamiegriffin
  • @digindigout replied with a gif of a wine glass being filled up – I’m not smart enough to copy it here…
  • One?! 😉 We continue to splurge on doggie daycare as a household – $20/week. I indulge in a latte on weekend days if I’m in the mood. 🙂 @MindfullySpent
  • Wine… @splitfinances
  • Going to the movies probably. Still need to have some entertainment in life. @DividendDaze
  • I like to splurge on date nights. Every so often it’s nice to go for a fancy meal, check out a concert or get out of town for a night. @SmileandConquer
  • Concerts. Too many of my musical heroes have passed away. @delayna44
  • Tacos/ eating out @dinero_pro
  • For almost 3 years, I splurged on guitar lessons. $30/month and so worth it to learn something new & be held accountable! @askallea
  • Chocolate @Retirees2020

Coincidentally all of those who responded are personal finance bloggers who all have big goals in life to achieve financial independence and/or retire early. Just because they are on this path doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy themselves along the way. Each of them have weighed up the options and established themselves financially – or at least have a solid plan. After all their hard work and dedication they have the freedom to splurge on the things they enjoy. After all, life is all about balance 😉

What is your favourite splurge/guilty pleasure?