7 Reasons to Not Always Live Frugal

charlie_imageIn October, I had the pleasure of going to watch a Washington Redskins vs. Denver Broncos game with my wife and brother! Unfortunately, the game didn't go as we would've hoped. RGIII didn't play his best game, the Denver defense and Peyton Manning proved to be too much for Washington to handle.

I learned a lot from this trip. Parting with money is hard for this frugal guy. My fellow TTG partner, Aaron, has even said that I'm one of the cheapest guys he knows. In going on this trip, I learned a few lessons on why frugal people shouldn't always live on the cheap. Here are a few things I learned along the way: 

  • Save to have fun – often times we (thrifty people) struggle with having a balance between saving and enjoying life. Saving can  Plan trip to denveralso be about having fun. Saving isn't necessarily evil or bad, but can be a means to create opportunities to have fun too.
  • Life isn't all about retirement – this point really applies to me. Since graduating from college, a lot of my focus and energy is on early retirement. Often as I go through life, my focus is way too much on “security” or piling up a large estate for us to sail into the sunset during retirement. It reminds me of the verse…

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.Act 6:19-21

  • It's important to recharge your batteries – while my wife and I were out in Denver my BLESSED in-laws watched our kids for 3 glorious days! I love my kids dearly, but every parents knows how important it is to recharge, take a break, and live life without your kids for a short period. This trip to Denver proved to be just that for me and my wife! Plus it's always fun coming home and having your kids run into your arms, excited to see you, Redskins vs Broncos 2013and say “Mommy, Daddy, I missed you SO MUCH!” :) For my wife, as a stay at home mom, that doesn't happen every day, so it was nice for her to feel appreciated.
  • Put yourself in awkward situations – if I had sat at home, and watched the game on TV (the frugal way), then I wouldn't have had the pleasure of meeting so many passionate Bronco's fans, my brother included. (Ya, that is my brother in the orange spandex suit! YOLO!). Honestly, it's important to get yourself out of your comfort zone once in a while and breathe.
  • Opens your eyes to life – from the moment we arrived at Broncos stadium I knew “I wasn't in Kansas anymore!” Walking through the tailgating area, I saw first hand how differently people live than me. With all the elaborate tailgate equipment from massive grills to decked out RV's to converted school buses, it gave me an opportunity to see what other people spend their money on, and that is completely their perogative.
  • Rewards keep you motivated – for our family, this trip wasn't necessarily a reward, but when I was at the game I was Having Fun in Denverreminded of how important it is to reward yourself. Reward yourself for achieving a goal (for my brother it was our gift for his achievement of graduating high school). In achieving long term goals (retirement plateaus, debt paid off, or elimination of a reoccurring bill).
  • It's important to spend money on family – this trip, in part was my brother's graduation gift, but also an opportunity for us to spend some quality time together. He's my only brother (who happens to be 17 years younger than me) and I had three sisters in between him and I. Let's just say, I was thankful for finally getting a brother, because I was sick of all the tea dates, ballet, and dolls!…sorry for the rant! :) But seriously, spending quality time with family sometimes requires you to spend money. Family doesn't always mean free. Personally, it was one of the best times I've had with my brother ever, and will be a memory that I'll cherish for a long time.
[caption id="attachment_2574" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Parting with my money felt good! Parting with my money felt good![/caption]

So, I'm sure I'm not the only frugal guy who struggles with spending money. I know a lot of our thrifty readers are just like me and have a very difficult time parting with money. I'd be interested to hear what you spend your “fun” money on, and whether your spouse helps balance you out.

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  1. The idea of being mostly frugal and sometimes not-so-frugal is a very balanced approach to life. This is something I tell everyone – make lots of money but remember to spend it all on yourself and family (apart from charity). Of course, you must have enough savings but one should remember when you’re old and have spent your life breaking your back to earn lots of money, you will wonder why you didn’t spend some of the money sooner, when you had the energy and physical strength, on fun stuff.

  2. Awesome pics, Charlie – sounds like a great time! LOL, our son, our baby, who also has three sisters, asks me on a regular basis for a brother, and who can blame him? :-)

  3. I agree with your wife on how wonderful it is to feel love and appreciation from your kids after being away from them!

    I spend fun money on chocolate and fabric (and other crafting supplies). I love being creative after the kids are in bed and who doesn’t love chocolate?!

  4. So glad you guys got to go on that trip! Go Broncos! (Haha) I really like Ryan’s attire in the pics! You are looking more and more like your great grandpa all the time!

  5. I agree with the second one especially! While retirement is important, unfortunately life can be short and we may not make it to retirement. So it’s important to be able to enjoy life along the way in some of the ways you explained in your other examples…seeing family, having fun etc!

  6. There’s a lot of haters out there that think that if you’re writing about being in debt you’d better be living in a cardboard box and eating bread and water until every penny of your debt is gone. The point is not to do THAT, but to have a plan towards paying off your debt, but allowing yourself to enjoy life – within your means.

    • Absolutely. I will never forget the trips we have “splurged” on with the kids. Spending money for having an experience altogether is great. It is always balance too of when to splurge on fancier hotel or fancier restaurant. I guess the answer is what will it provide in the type of experience that you will share together. I managed once to take three people to Washington DC for three days for a total of $500, airfare and expenses — we ended up staying with some friends – and all the museums were for free, we love riding the Metro. Fabulous. I try balance frugality not just for frugality’s sake, but to always keep in mind the value of what comes back in terms of the glue/bonding with people you want to spend time with. And sometimes, you just have to splurge. And sometimes, you don’t. I guess it is figuring out what works for your family in the present while also planning for future and living within one’s means.

  7. Awesome gift, Charlie — it sounds like it was a great time! It’s easy to forget that financial goals can be fun goals, too. It’s not that we shouldn’t go on vacations or spend money on things we enjoy: we just need to do those things responsibly.

    I mainly spend my fun money on board games, video games, and graphic novels. I have a very small budget for these things, but I’ve collected so much over the years, I don’t need many new ones to keep me busy.

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