By in Saving, Wealth | 8 comments

Guest author, Helen Fabe, successful real estate professional and life long volunteer

El Carino, Zoey, Simon, and I have been living with my folks now for almost one month as we wait for our short sale condo purchase to finalize in our new

Spend Smart

far away land. Although disruptive in some ways, there are also quite a few benefits; In addition to mom’s good cooking, she is also contributing her second article to this blog.

As one of my biggest fans, mom is also a long time student of personal finance. Read these three real life stories and learn from her observations about how to make smart money decisions.

Mr. Money is No Object

Mr. Money is No Object is a member of a moderate means couple with two working seniors. For their anniversary, he spends $100.00 on their celebration dinner. I was a bit surprised at that type of extravagance and wondered, “Wouldn’t a $50.00 celebration dinner be just as festive?” After
all, he’s also saving for an expensive watch. I continued to ponder, “Does he have a rainy day fund?” In Mr. Money is No Object’s case, I believe he might have received equivalent satisfaction from a $50.00 dinner as from double the amount.

(Barb’s comment; this also raises the question of his values, if expensive dining is extremely important to him, maybe the value of a $100.00 dinner out, outweighed the $50.00 savings of a more moderate dinner!)

Mr. Want versus Need

My next friend is selling his home and is sprucing up the patio. Although he wanted huge pots to dramatically improve the curb appeal, he was concerned with the $100.00+ price tag. After careful consideration, he realized his goal could be reached with several smaller pots grouped together. Just as beautiful for a fraction of the cost.

In my opinion, that was an example of a sensible spending decision. Although he “needed” to spruce up the curb appeal of his home, he avoided the extravagant pots for a more conservative alternative.

Mrs. I Feel Guilty Whenever I Spend

My neighbor is comfortably retired with no significant financial concerns. Throughout her life she has been and still is quite frugal. For a special occasion she wants an expensive piece of jewelry and agonizes endlessly about the purchase. She repeatedly asks herself, “Do I really need it?” Well, of course she doesn’t need it, but there is no logical reason not to treat herself to the jewelry. Unfortunately, even after making the plunge and purchasing the beautiful bracelet, she continues to be racked with guilt and worries that she spent too much.

The end result, she can’t even enjoy the lovely jewelry. In fact, if you can afford a purchase, and want it, then it’s a waste to feel quilty about the spending.


  • Consider your values when spending. Do you really enjoy and value the cash you are spending?
  • Make a conscious spending choice. Is the expense worth the amount of time it took to earn the money?
  • Be mindful about whether  your spending is a want or a need. Then make the choice to buy the item, look for a less expensive alternative, or avoid the purchase altogether.
  • For those “tightwads” out there, if you decide to splurge, and can afford it, make sure not to ruin the decision with second guessing and guilt.
  • Remember to enjoy your smart spending decisions.

Do you have any money tips?

image credit; Doug88888


  1. It is a matter of choices! Better the choice, the better the outcome. When I am hungry, I could go out and have a steak for $50 or go home and have a sandwich. Either one will satisfy my hunger, one is far expensive and a waste of money.


    August 5, 2011

  2. The characters created here each remind me a little bit of my wife and I, collectively. She could be Mrs. I Feel Guilty When I Spend, and I would be Mr. Money Is No Object if we each had to choose one. This has made it difficult for us to save money in the past, but now we are trying to plan our retirement and thinking of the bigger picture. Thank you for this article, it was very insightful.

    The Retirement Master

    August 5, 2011

  3. I just purchased another bottle of nail polish. My “in stock” maximum is 3 bottles of colored polish. It sounds crazy, but I contemplated the purchase for awhile. Purchased the polish at a discount. I did not love the color but enjoyed the process…

    Super Frugalette

    August 6, 2011

  4. @Krantcents-Excellent analogy! If I were hungry, I’d definitely go for the sandwich at home!
    @Retirement-Glad that you both are identifying and challenging your styles to meet your goals. It’s definitely easier said than done.
    @Super-I totally get it. I had the same obsession yesterday buying some beautiful rose quartz (for great prices) at a souvenire shop in S. Dakota. Did I make the right choice or should I have bought different pieces!!! I loved that the beautiful souvenires were so economically priced!


    August 6, 2011

  5. It is always about balance. If something means so much to you, go ahead and splurge, but find ways and means to compensate on other things.

    Don’t be a spendthrift or a tightwad – find a balance. That’s the key.


    August 7, 2011

  6. “It is always about balance.”

    This is exactly what I was going to say Moneycone, but you beat me to it. I save and get ahead each month, so I don’t feel guilty about the things I buy. On the other hand, if I can’t afford something without disrupting my savings or budget, I will wait and save up.

    Bret @ Hope to Prosper

    August 7, 2011

  7. Sometimes when you have led a long life of frugality, even if you have the money, it is hard to break old habits and actually do the splurge – it gets you out of your comfort zone. I totally sympathize with Mrs I Feel Guilty Whenever I Spend.

  8. @Moneycone, I think you hit on the secret to a successful life!! Balance is so crucial and so hard to achieve.
    @Bret-Another key point. Delay gratification, if you can’t afford it, save up and buy it when you can.
    @marie-Yes, good point, there’s a happy medium. When you can afford something, nothing wrong with spending!

    Barb Friedberg

    August 7, 2011


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