Save. Spend. Splurge.

I’m afraid to say this. I feel like I am going to be a failure again.


New year… has come upon us.

I know it sounds weird to consider myself a ‘failure’ (you’re all eye rolling now, I know), but in some ways, I feel like I don’t have that discipline and that sort of strict frugal fear that is in every single personal finance blogger I know.

Even the spendy ones, are REALLY good at NOT spending.

I feel like out of all the fringe semi-personal finance bloggers (let’s face it, I talk about everything not just money), I am the spendiest, and the least concerned about saving every penny and being frugal AF.

So from the new year, thoughts about (again) changing my spending habits has cropped up again.

Especially since I am getting very tired and jaded at the office, and now I am thinking:

For what? To buy more stuff, I need to work like a dog and put up with this #*@$?!!

I am being facetious because not really.

I usually just quit if I am not happy, but I wouldn’t be able to quit forever, if I had to which I think should be the goal, and then decide to go back to work on and off if / when / definitely I get bored.

I think what I would like to do is figure out a kind of goal for the year, that I can be proud of, to finally say to myself:

Hey, you aren’t as bad as you think. YOU CAN do it.

Especially with the stock market going down the drain, this is putting much-needed pressure on my income and spending, because I’m seeing my net worth recede, and this is the kind of scarcity my stupid hamster brain needs to stop spending so freely.

It is like I do well, then I mess up, and since I messed up already, I think: EFF IT.. and I go whole hog, and make it worse by spending and buying more.

This is not uncommon, by the way…

So right now I am still waffling about what my goal will be for the year, and perhaps it should be something like:

Either only shop your closet with what you have (and stop browsing tempting sites), and if you buy clothes it can only be from thrift or consignment.

This is kind of what I am doing today, but I do occasionally splurge on pieces from my favourite retailers… and really, it is just buying the same comforting item over and over again.

I also have been over spending just because I felt like I could.. I have to find a way to tell myself that I CANNOT.


I really am feeling like I will be a doomed failure at curbing my spending.


  • Amy

    Hi there! I know you wrote this post a few months ago, and I hope you’re feeling better now. I admire your incredible ability to save. You are maybe being too hard on yourself?

  • Livingalmostlarge

    You know me for years! And I am a spender. Worse now than 15 years ago when I started blogging. So don’t worry. Realize everyone has different priorities. If I tell you what we spent traveling annually you might die. It’s what some pf bloggers live on for a year. OMG. But heck I love it. I also have a ridiculously expensive home again something I love. But I drive a minivan bought used to make up for it. So priorities. You are allowed to be not frugal. Personally we could retire with our savings now if we wanted to be cheap and live on say $60-80k. We live on more. So we need to still save. But I see many bloggers aiming for that much and I realize oh damn we are spendy. Gotta keep working.

  • Tim

    Oh, please for love of god don’t compare yourself to other PF bloggers…we are a bunch of odd ducks. It’s actually true, PF bloggers tend to place an excessive value on personal freedom over every other part of life to the point of just being crazy. I happen to have very low spending because I make over 75% of my own booze I drink each year (I like brewing beer and wine), and I borrow just about 80% of my books from the library. I’m naturally a low spender because I don’t value the same things as you. But if your spending is bothering you do what I do…set reasonable limits for your worst habits. I for example stopped buying video games for a year after realizing I had over 150 of them and I had only finished like 11 of them. Now I only allow myself $20/year for games…so I have to choose wisely not just what is on sale. In your case, don’t stop shopping cold but rather focus your spending on those items you want the most (plan for those and skip the window shopping). That way you can wait for a good sale on what you really want and bank the rest of it. Or set an annual limit you are okay with and blow it on anything you like but than face up to not shopping for a long period if you spend it all in the first six months of the year. My point is it comes down to choice and being reasonable for what works for you. Best of luck on it and happy New Year!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Tim, you are always the voice of reason. If you say so, I feel much better.

      Sometimes it is hard to be in it and to think — am I crazy? I feel like an oddball in this group of PF bloggers but then in real life, I am unusual as well because most people are not like me. I don’t fit anywhere!

  • The Luxe Strategist

    I didn’t realize you were unhappy with your spending! What would be your ideal scenario in terms of specific amounts/percentages to spend, or # of items? For me, it’s about 12 items per year. I don’t always follow it, but buying one item per month feels right. Although I know Q4 and Q1 are heavy shopping times for me, because of sales. I just bought 4 items in a span of a week–gah!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I have tried everything, girl. I have tried limiting to one purchase a month (LOL), I have tried a dollar amount, I have tried credits that rollover to the next month….

      I absolutely am unhappy because I feel like I am not disciplined or doing well with my money as I should be. I feel wasteful.

  • Jodie

    I think it would help you to take some time and figure out your money goals. Don’t be afraid to be quite exact with this. When you come up with your goals, make a plan as to how to best achieve them. I know all plans are subject to change but having a framework in place gives you something to go back to and remind yourself why you are working and saving. Then I would find one trusted friend or family member that you can share as much of this plan as you are comfortable sharing and ask them to help with accountability. Checking in and asking how you are doing once or twice a month. To be honest, a plan like this would be helpful for all of us, no matter what our goals are.

    We are rooting for you!

  • Hawaii Planner

    It depends on your goals, and what gives you personal happiness. Dressing up & wearing expensive clothes doesn’t give me pleasure. It does for you, which is great, and no judgment on that. I take my kids skiing & on vacation that most people might roll their eyes at. Those are my priorities. I ask myself if I’m willing to trade working hours for an experience or good. If I am, great. I also have a budget & stick to it. My budget includes building enough wealth that I can quit within my desired timeline (should I so choose). When I consider buying a purchase of any kind outside of that budget, I either need to: find a way to cut back another budget item, make more money, or skip the purchase. That’s it. No discussion.

    As a concept, I wonder how it would impact you to avoid buying things for an extended period of time. Would it change your relationship with luxury goods & fashion? I don’t know, but it’s an interesting exercise.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Perhaps! But when I try to stop, I feel imprisoned and angry, so it makes me spend more. That tactic doesn’t work.

      I need an outside influence (like scarcity of income or the threat of losing my income) to really force me to change.

  • Jodie

    You want to tell yourself that you CANNOT but the problem with that is that you know you CAN.

    I agree that money is a tool. You have done a great job of putting it to work for you. It is up to you to decide what your financial goals are and whether your shopping interferes with them.

    It is sobering to consider how we trade our most precious commodity, time, for material goods. I think if we looked at a designer bag as costing us 100 hours of our lives instead of $5000 we might reconsider our purchase.

  • SarahN

    I think the key to money is using it how you enjoy it, and not abusing it. So I spend on flights, upgrading some of the longer hauls. I pay for taxis and ubers (something you’d NEVER do I recall). I also bought a European car. And I saved money. If I’d not done all those things I just listed, I’d have saved more. And maybe I’d be cranky or worn out or just resentful. Money is a tool – to use.

    As to fashion – here’s some of why I don’t do what Sherry does: I don’t have a size S body, so many things don’t look ‘as good’. I don’t shop online at all – I don’t like trying to work out what my size is; not knowing how something feels etc. And the eco impact of the postage (plus if I miss delivery, have to return – it’s just too bothersome). TO pass time on weekends, I go to thrift stores, try on what I can be bothered to, and that’s what I buy. Except for work out wear and trousers, in which case I buy new from Lululemon or UniQlo (based on last year’s spending). ‘I do NOT judge your spending or choices, they just aren’t mine. My money works for me with convenience in buying meals prepared.

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I definitely do not take cabs. I have a hang-up on that.

      You are right that I have since redirected my energy to reselling (actively) the things I do not wear in my closet and still like but don’t love. Going to thrift stores has also helped me become more excited, as it is a challenge to find anything to like and it is still a hobby of shopping which I enjoy.

  • Jenn

    I mainly read financial blogs and yours has become one of my favorites (probably because it isn’t all finance all the time!). I even went back and read some of your archives which I never do! 🙂

  • Financial Orchid

    U can do a girls swap and trade stuff in a closed invite only gathering at one of your homes to reduce or trade in

  • Becka

    I have to go along with Hazel. Plus I would add; quit window shopping. Even on line window shopping is too tempting, because once you see something you like you probably revisit the site over and over until you convince yourself to buy it. At least that’s what happens to me. Remember if something is say $1000 retail and you can snag it for $100 ( or whatever lower amount) you may think you have “saved” $900, but the reality is that you have just SPENT $100. And that $100 was just sitting in your bank account, minding its own business, earning interest like a good little chunk of money until you messed with it to buy something you probably didn’t need to begin with. I have been trying hard to save money ( I do read your money blogs) and I’m learning all the nasty little tricks my mind plays on myself to justify unnecessary spending. It’s fine to like nice things. And it’s best to not pay full retail for them. But learning to decide between what we need and what we want takes discipline and insight. And I’m still trying to learn this lesson lol.

  • Hazel

    It might sound harsh but stop with the consignment mentality. That’s still giving yourself permission to blow $5K on a few handbags (I promise I’m not judging – I paid retail on a probably $20K bag collection – I love them all but not as much as I’d love that extra $20K in the bank). It appears you’ve got a lot of money and you’ve got a lot of stuff. Feel good about both, don’t beat yourself up, and try to make new habits instead of shopping.

  • Gail

    It’s a personal decision: you like tons of expensive clothes or you like saving money. You have great taste and seem to enjoy dressing with a massive and costly wardrobe. It is YOUR money and YOUR choice. Balance it in a way that makes you pleased with yourself. In past blog posts that is precisely what it seemed you did and admirably so. Maybe now you think you have quite enough and want to save more? I know you will figure out the proportions to satisfy yourself. Keep the blogs going–we depend on it in the morning!

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you so much, I appreciate the encouragement.

      I do save a lot though, which is why I think it gives me permission to spend the way I feel. I mean, my net worth went up $200K in a year, if that is not serious investing and saving, I do not know what is.

  • Anne

    I do not follow personal finance blogs and most often skip your money posts. I read everything else with great interest. And I love your style.
    Oh, and I’ve started a blog, too, and found your book on blogging quite useful. So thank you for blogging the way you do 🙂

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