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How to Save Money on Luxuries and Splurges


Happy Monday, friends!  This is a subject that’s been on my heart lately.  As I prepared to write, I realized that after almost a full year of our super frugal living, I might have a different idea now than most people do of what a luxury is. 🙂  We made a commitment on January 1, 2013, that we were going to go seriously back to basics in our lifestyle and in our spending.  What that means for us is only buying what we need: no professional haircuts brow waxes or highlights (WAAAA! 🙁 ), clothes on an as-needed – and I mean really “needed”, as in We Will Only Replace Socks and Underwear That Have Holes too Big to Allow Them to Qualify as Socks and Underwear –  basis only, limited entertainment monies, etc., etc.  So, as I share ways to save on luxuries and splurges today, bear with me as my view may be a little skewed after 10 months of no highlights in my hair. :-).

1.  Coffee.  Rick LOVES coffee.  And although he’s much too cheap frugal to go to Starbucks everyday, he loves him a great flavored treat.  He still gets to partake in this yummy luxury though, because we buy a big, 40-oz. bag of Colombian Supremo beans at Sam’s club, grind them ourselves, and Rick puts a little bit of Hershey’s chocolate syrup or flavored Coffee Mate in his cup.  It’s not a latte’, but there’s always ways to get that same yummy flavor at home, for a much lower price.  Rick spends less than $20 a month on his beans and flavor additives.

2.  Manicures, Pedicures, brow waxes, etc.  Being on a super strict budget can be difficult in that those little trips to the salon to pamper yourself have to go “bye-bye”.  But we still want to look our best and spoil ourselves a bit, right?  The DIY brow waxes, manis and pedis are a bit time consuming, but I always feel better after I’m done with mine, and I’ve spent little to no money in the process.  Even a facial is a possibility with some cucumber slices and a great all-natural facial crème recipe.  And I have to say it’s kind of nice to know that I can look and feel pampered for free. 🙂

3.  High(er) end clothing.  I’m a firm believer that people should rarely, if ever, pay full price for even the nicest clothing.  With the existence of Ebay, Craigslist, consignment shops and thrift stores, there’s always ways to get an awesome deal on those $100 jeans, fur coat, or whatever else your heart desires.  Not too long ago, as I shopped for the Goodwill Smackdown over at Three Thrifty Guys, I found an awesome pair of designer jeans for my teen daughter for $3.50.  They fit her perfectly, she loves them, and there is no way in ______ that I would’ve ever paid the ridiculous full price amount for this brand.  Luckily, by utilizing the tips above, I don’t have to.

4.  Kids’ toys/sporting goods.  Here’s another area where it’s super easy to find deals on things other kids have gotten bored with/grown out of.  For instance, a friend of mine got a Sport Court (normally priced for thousands of dollars) for $500 on Craigslist.  My old boss put in a similar style of court for $20k.  Sports equipment is another great example: ice skates, skateboards, bicycles, motorbikes, ATVs, all that fun stuff can easily be found for half price on Craigslist.  Why pay full price?

5.  Vacations.  With all of the different credit card offers and other ways to gain flying and lodging points, a cheap or free vacation is very much a reality.   All over the PF blogging world, there are stories of people who have had great vacation destination trips for not much more than the cost of any extras they might want to buy.

Being on a budget, even a strict one, doesn’t have to equal “no fun” or “no luxuries”.  How do you save on luxuries and splurges?     


  1. I LOVE diy manicures – it’s so relaxing! I set-up my water, tools, and polish then put on a favorite movie and just do my nails while enjoying myself then I just sit and watch the movie whole everything dries. I do it on a lazy weeknight after work or a weekend day. Haven’t went out for a mani in years even though they’re super cheap here.

  2. I don’t really buy much clothing to be honest and if I do it’s always second hand. I do get my hair cut and highlighted by a mobile hairdresser who charges half the price of a salon, that’s probably my only luxury.

    I’ve even given up wine which I did have a passion for but it was costing me around £50 per month. Since stopping that I have felt healthier so that’s a bonus!

  3. dojo says:

    Really great tips. Most of these make a lot of sense and, while you still enjoy the ‘luxury’, you don’t have to pay full price.

  4. We do a lot of these ourselves Laurie and it’s crazy how much money you can save. Another one we do is that my wife started getting her hair cut at one of the local beauty schools here in town a year or two ago. She can get anything she wants done to it for $9 as opposed to the $50 plus tip she was spending prior. It looks just as good as it did with the “pro” and for a fraction of the cost.

    • Laurie says:

      I’ve been thinking about doing that, John. I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with my no blonde highlights and self-given haircuts, LOL. I know you probably don’t get this, but Nicole, being a girl, will totally understand. 🙂

  5. I just “bought” a flight to LA for two dollars and fifty cents, thank you rewards miles.

    I’ve never understood why people drop so much on beauty treatments. If I’m gonna splurge, I’m getting a massage. I can get free pro haircuts at beauty schools and they’re excellent.

    • Laurie says:

      Stefanie, that’s amazing!!!! That’s one of the best flight “deals” I’ve heard yet – great job! I’m with you on the massage thing – they’re the best!

  6. I get discounted luxury items by buying second hand/refurbrished…I do that with electronics too. When my DVD player broke, I got a nice refurbrished Blu Ray player on eBay for cheap. I’m also a big fan of the travel rewards/bonuses!

  7. I try to maximize my time in between getting a pedicure. I usually only do it before a big event or trip. Other than that I do it myself. I also color my own hair. I’m still working on the hair one though because my hair is shorter and looks like crap if I don’t get it cut every eight weeks, but I need to find some more frugal solutions there. It’s one area I’m super sensitive about. I don’t just like any old hair cut. There are things I could also cut back more on like expensive-ish lotions and potions promising younger looking skin. They all seem the same to me honestly. I also don’t buy expensive clothes (ahem or if I do I return them-lol). I mostly shop at discount stores. So I’m middle of the road I think. Doing OK, but always room for improvement.

    • Laurie says:

      I’m the same way about my highlights, Tonya. I want it done right, or not at all. Therefore, it tends to be a more expensive splurge when I do it, but well worth it to me. Funny about returning them – I still miss your $64 super cute hoodie that I never saw but only imagined. 🙂

  8. Michelle says:

    We save by doing a lot of little things. We are pretty frugal in many areas of our lives! We will go to second hand stores, look for deals and so on.

    • Laurie says:

      Especially for home furnishings, the thrift stores are the way to go. I’ve been watching this show, Knock it Off, on the Live Well Network, and they just revamped this couple’s basement for $900!!

  9. While how each of us defines pampered may differ from one another – I think we all like to feel a little bit pamper and enjoy a few special treats now and then. I know I do. 🙂 I also know that they are luxuries and I appreciate them, knowing that if circumstances changed that they would be a luxury that I could no longer readily afford. I don’t take anything for granted.

    • Laurie says:

      Love that attitude, Shannon. Appreciation is a trait that really does help life be happier, doesn’t it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, my friend. 🙂

  10. I think I may be the only one on the planet who hates going to the salon. I get my hair colored 2 or three times a year just because it looks terrible if I don’t. The fill in times, I do it at home. Spending 2 hours somewhere getting fluffed and frilled is not my cup of tea. However, we will shell out for skiing this year, so I guess it’s a questions of priorities. As for kid clothes, my Mom sends so much stuff for our daughter I rarely have to buy clothes for her!

    • Laurie says:

      Funny, Kim! I just love the salon, not for the fluffy and frilly results, but just because someone is waiting on me instead of the usual vice versa, I think. 🙂 Nice that you don’t have to buy many clothes for your daughter – that’s how it is with toys here – Grammies do a good job of taking care of that end of things for our kids. 🙂

  11. Our roommate is a hair dresser so my wife gets some luxuries (hair & eye brow color, hair cuts) pretty cheaply that way. Not that everyone has a roommate, but just building relationships with friends who have trade skills can save quite a bit.

    We have a lot to learn on frugal vacations — we might try to use some of the PF tips to keep the costs of these upcoming trips down.

    • Laurie says:

      So true, DB40! And we’re with you on the learning more about frugal vacations: Stefanie’s $2.50 flight that she wrote about in the comments got me even more intrigued!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Clarrise! I’ve thought about coloring my own, but having been a hairdresser, I’ve seen the not so awesome shades that can result by choosing the wrong color, so I’m a bit of a chicken in that area. 🙂

  12. Mackenzie says:

    We are big coffee drinkers in my household and we too, make it at home. Sometimes my husband gets Starbucks gift cards as gifts from vendors he works with, and that’s when we hit up the local one 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      We’ve gotten a couple of those gift cards before and it’s a nice little treat, isn’t it? It’s SO much cheaper to make at home, though.

  13. Jake @ Ca$h Funny says:

    Great ideas, Laurie. My luxuries are very similar to yours, so I understand where you are coming from. I really utilize coupons and local deals in order to get our luxuries for cheaper. There is always a cheaper way to do something, you just need to think outside the box.

  14. Alexa says:

    The majority of my clothes are second hand and they are way nicer than I would be able to afford if I bought things brand new. For us we go for cheap entertainment. We take a lot of nature walks.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s the way to do, Daisy. There are some super nice high-end items that go with anything and can be dressed up or down – there’s where it’s worth it to spend more.

  15. We were able to travel overseas several times and to expensive cities like SF and NY on credit card points and points I rack up from my work travel. It has saved us several thousand dollars over the past few years.

  16. Matt Becker says:

    It’s amazing how un-used some things are when people get rid of them. My mom is a preschool teacher and she has one mom who’s totally done with the whole baby thing and has just given us trash bags of REALLY nice clothes. I mean, there was a pair of shoes in their, barely worn at all, that apparently cost $60! First of all, who buys $60 shoes for a toddler that will wear them for a few months at most before growing out of them? But they fit great and are really nice. And there are plenty of deals like that out there if you just look around a little bit. People are always just happy to get rid of things they don’t want.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s amazing, Matt. You’ve got to keep in touch with that gal, she could seriously speed up your road to financial independence. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, I totally get that, Jane. Luckily, far vision is my problem so I can see up close just fine. I’m getting to the age where having your eyebrows plucked/waxed is definitely starting to fall into the “necessity” category. 🙂

  17. My approach is to not buy coffee out or spend on manicures/pedicures except for maybe once per year. It’s not because I don’t enjoy those things, I just don’t give myself an option to buy them. I do my own mani/pedis and make coffee at home.

    • Laurie says:

      That’s what we do too, Daisy. Yes, it would be wonderful to spend loads of cash on that stuff, but we have some other priorities right now.

  18. lyle @ the Joy of Simple says:

    Hey Laurie and thanks for a great post!!

    I too am a huge fan of thrift shops and buy all my clothes there when needed. My ex-girlfriend cuts my hair every few months for 10 bucks and I think the only “luxury” item I own is my flat screen TV which I bought on sale and with a gift card.

    The one luxury that I do have though, that many of my close friends do not, is time. I have loads of time that I can use – or not use – at my discretion. Time is definitely a valuable commodity that should not be taken for granted.

    Take care Laure and thanks again…!


    ps: I’m sure your hair looks wonderful without highlights so don’t fret over that 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      Absolutely, Lyle – time is worth SO much more than a bunch of stuff, isn’t it? And thanks for the uplifting comment about my hair – although I’m still standing strong for getting those highlights once January 1st comes. 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, shame on you, Robert! You know that one of the rules of the PF blogging world is no store bought lattes’. (Kidding, of course.) 🙂

  19. My Wealth Desire says:

    When we go for vacation, our company sponsor the ticket. I am not fun of drinking coffee. In my entire life I visited Starbucks only one.

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