I like to fancy myself a financially responsible guy. After all, I not only have this weekly personal finance column but also maintain my own site on the same topic. That said, these credentials in no way mean I am perfect or that I never spend a penny more than I absolutely have to.
Although I do enjoy saving money and finding ways to cut costs where possible, there are at least a few times I can think of where the sheer convenience of certain options will serve to pry a few extra dollars from my typically tight wallet. So what are these rare instances? Here are three splurges I happily make in the name of my own sanity:
Given my years as a movie theatre manager, I know how crazy opening weekends for big blockbusters can be. As a result I’ve often found that going to a movie can be quite stressful for me as I never know just how early to arrive at my showtime in order to get a desirable seat. Lucky for me, many theatres —albeit the more expensive ones — now offer reserved seating. Despite these locations being a few extra dollars in some cases, the peace of mind I get from having a pre-selected seat of my own makes this worth the extra expense for me.
The same goes for airlines. While there’s a lot I like about Southwest’s business model, ranging from their route to their rebooking policy, I absolutely abhor the madness of going in blind and fighting for my seat. Similarly, before flying Allegiant this past weekend (look for my full review next week), you can bet I ponied up the extra $20 to secure my seat in the front instead of letting them assign me the leftovers.
Shopping at the “better” grocery store
There’s no denying that Walmart has some great prices on groceries. However, shopping at Walmart isn’t always such a fun experience. From the packed parking lot to busy aisles and long checkout lines, I try to avoid this necessary evil whenever possible.
That said, there is a Walmart Neighborhood Market in our area that I truly love. Unfortunately, while most of their prices are in line with their bigger, more annoying brother store’s, there are a few items we have to pay a bit of a premium on. Still, whenever I have a say in the matter, this is where we end up doing most of our shopping (in addition to the also nerve-testing Aldi, but that’s another story).
Okay — this is a big one. In many cases (like ours), renting an apartment as opposed to buying a house does make financial sense. Of course that doesn’t mean there aren’t certain aspects of apartment life that amount to us splurging on conveniences. For example, living in a complex that includes cable, a pool, and an office that will accept packages for us is super nice but it also means we’re paying more than we would elsewhere. Still, the location of our place and those added perks make it worth spending a little more in our eyes.
Despite my greatest efforts to save money in a variety of ways, there’s are some areas in which my stress level and needs (regardless of how neurotic) are more important to me than money. That’s why things like reserved seating, rent, and avoiding the big, scary Walmarts are splurges I’m willing to make. In these few cases, contrary to popular belief, it seems money can buy just a little bit of happiness.