Last year I read lots of books (well two is kind of a lot right) on how to budget my money. My favorite and the one I've been recommending to everyone ever since is All Your Worth by the badass senator Elizabeth Warren. In it, she recommends setting aside 50% of your money for expenses, 20% for savings, and 30% for spending. Who doesn't love a budget that includes spending money on things worth splurging for?
Now that I mostly have a handle on my finances, I no longer feel the guilt of buying something not knowing if I can actually afford it. The best part has really been the realization that buying a bunch of cheap things over time adds up. Well duh. But that means I can afford the more luxurious things I want if I save a little and stop buying crap. That's what I've been doing or trying to do and it's allowed me to splurge a little on the things below. P.S. you can read more about how I budget here.
For the first time in my grown-up life, I have been getting my haircut every six weeks. In college, I couldn't really afford and by that I mean I didn't want to spend the limited money I had at the salon. I would go a few time a year and trim or cut my hair myself in between. Then I got a job with a paycheck and realized a good haircut is both something I could afford and wanted to splurge on. While I was living in Japan, I went to the salon down the street where a super cute Japanese woman cut my hair and trimmed my eyebrows. Now that I'm back in the states I was a little shocked to discover that haircuts cost a little more in the big city. But I found a reasonably affordable place and the lady I work with does an even better job with my hair. Total win.
I know every woman has a problem area to shop for, whether it's big feet, short legs, or tiny boobs. Sometimes the clothes we want and need just don't come in our size. When I embraced my small chest size a few years ago, I gave up my ill-fitting and gaping bras for lace and silk bralettes. When I decided it was again time for me to have at least one minimally padded and underwired bra, I splurged. I couldn't find anything my size in the big retail stores and began to wonder if bras were even made for women like me. Then I stopped in the upscale lingerie boutique in my hometown and discovered this is where all the little bras had been hiding. I went home with a lovely little number by Natori. I was out $64, but I've worn it nearly every day since. In my opinion, money well spent. In fact, I was so happy I blogged about it here.
tea + honey
I love tea, even more so in winter. In part, because colds are going around and nothing feels better for a sore throat then gobs of lemon and honey. My favorite is a black tea with fresh ginger and lemon juice and a healthy tablespoon of honey. I'm particular about my tea and honey. Ever since learning about the nasty pesticide residue on conventional tea, I've switched to organic. I also don't care for the plastic tea bags that have been increasing in popularity. I used to live in a small town with a terrific little herb boutique where loose leaf teas could be bought in bulk. I hope to find something like that again in the SF area. Honey is also a delicacy I love to splurge on. I simply love the smell and taste of a good honey and beekeepers are folks I'm happy to give my support.
Giving takes so many forms and it's something I want to incorporate into my lifestyle. Most recently I started giving my time by volunteering at my local library bookstore. I've also been tipping the barista who makes my tea and coffee on the mornings I take the train into the city and yesterday I gave a dollar to the woman who is always singing and playing her guitar at the subway station. I'm also planning which books to donate to a holiday themed book drive for families in need. I'm leaning towards The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, and I Am Malala the young reader's edition. How do you give?