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By: AgFed Credit Union

Welcome to AgFed Credit Union's MoneyDig blog! 

Get confident about your personal finances with a number of articles, tips, advice and more.


When Should I Give in to the Urge to Splurge?

 Feb 22, 2024
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Q: Is it ever OK to give in to the urge to splurge?

A: We all know it’s best to curb impulse buys as much as possible, and to stick to our predetermined budgets. But sometimes, it’s perfectly fine to bend the rules a little bit and splurge on a purchase that’s not strictly necessary or part of your overall monthly budget. Here’s how to know when to give in to the urge to splurge.

When you’re feeling overly deprived

If you’ve been strictly sticking to essential-only purchases for a while, you may begin to feel super-deprived. This can lead you to feel resentful of your budget and of the financially responsible choices with which you lead your life. In turn, this can prompt you to overspend without any restraint or to completely overthrow your budget. To avoid this, it’s best to make a conscious decision to splurge on a large purchase or experience, even if it doesn’t necessarily fit within your budget. 

Be sure to proceed with caution as you make this decision. Simply wanting to spend a bit more than your budget allows because you have six pairs of must-have boots on your waiting list is generally not a valid reason to break your budget. Instead, be honest with yourself and your recent spending to determine whether you should be splurging at this time. 

When there’s an opportunity you may miss

It can also be OK to splurge when there’s a massive sale on an item you need to buy anyway and waiting it out means missing a significant savings. It’s important to note, though, that this applies to needs only and to items you’ve already been saving for. For example, if you’re saving up for a new couch and you’re only two months away from amassing the full amount you need, you can go ahead and take advantage of the Presidents Day furniture sales that feature couches at 35% off. Even though you may need to dip into your savings to cover this purchase, the money you’ll save makes it worthwhile. If you do go this route, be sure to replenish your savings in the coming months.

When it’s a quality item that will outlast a cheaper version

Sometimes, a splurge is an investment for the future. Here are some circumstances in which it may be a good idea to go for the more expensive option:

  • Quality clothing. High-quality clothing that is not uber-trendy and can last for years may be a worthwhile reason to splurge. Some clothing brands even come with a lifetime warranty. When spending more than usual on clothing, make sure you only buy timeless pieces that won’t look ridiculous just a few years down the line. 
  • Appliances. Here, too, it can be a good idea to spend a little more on a purchase that will last longer than its cheaper counterparts. Look for appliances with good ratings and guarantees, and that are energy-efficient as well for ongoing savings. Be sure to do your homework and to ensure your money is going toward quality and durability rather than a name or aesthetics. 
  • Health care and food. You never want to go cheap on your health. If you have a choice between two health care providers and the one that can offer better care is a bit more expensive, you may want to choose this provider over a less expensive one that offers subpar care. Similarly, it can be worthwhile to spend a bit more on a more healthful diet. This can help you feel better and save money in the future as well. According to WebMD, a healthful food plan can help save on health care costs related to diet. 

When it’s a once-in-a-lifetime occasion

Another time you may want to go over budget a bit is when you’re celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Your wedding, the birth of your first child and your college graduation are all celebrations that deserve to be honored royally. This doesn’t mean you need to go all out and spend your way into deep debt, but you can forgive yourself for overspending a bit on these occasions as you know they will not present themselves again for additional overspending. 

Indulge responsibly

Once you’ve determined that you can give in to the urge to splurge, be sure to do so responsibly:

  • Keep the splurge proportional to your budget. A splurge will mean something different to different people. For some, an unplanned $50 purchase will be a major indulgence while, for others, that purchase will be closer to $5,000.
  • Remember that an experience can be an indulgence, too. Feel free to splurge on a unique and opportunistic experience if it’s something that means a lot to you and you haven’t splurged in a while.
  • Be sure to play catch-up in the months following your splurge if you’ve dipped into your savings to fund it. 

Yes, it’s sometimes OK to give in to the urge to splurge! Use this guide to learn when and how to indulge responsibly. 

Your Turn: When do you give in to the urge to splurge? Tell us about it in the comments.