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Charge Up for Good Health

When to Save, When to Splurge

Alternating your approach to money can keep things interesting.

Most of us like to think we have a consistent approach to everything we do. We always eat healthy. We follow through on our promises. We never speak ill of other people. But the reality is, we aren’t always so simplistic. Sometimes, we do blow a day on fast food, we forget a promise and we make the occasional judgmental comment.

For me, this approach also applies to my money habits. Most of the time, my spending falls on the frugal side. I squeeze toothpaste tubes until they’re flat as paper. I reuse foil whenever I can. I fill dish soap bottles with water until the last drop is gone. I save coins and roll them up. I clip coupons.

But then a mood strikes and frivolity prevails. I buy makeup that isn’t from a drugstore or mass market retailer. I splurge on an outfit for no other reason other than I love it. I buy jewelry just because I feel like it. I get a massage because I want one. I have a pedicure because my toes need a splash of color.

Lucky for me, my frugal moments allow me these occasional indulgences, which I admit are few and far between. But these treats appeal to the more dormant side of my personality that says, “Hey, cut loose! Have some fun! Live a little!”

Every mom needs a little of both: the careful, conscientious side that doesn’t let the reckless spendthrift run amok and the frivolous, devil-may-care side that allows us to splurge and break free of restrictive money rules.

Balancing somewhere in the middle ensures that we have the rainy day fund and retirement savings that financial planners always tout, while also enjoying the fruits of our labor by treating ourselves to something we love. The key is to strike that balance over time, not just in the course of a single day.

With this dual approach, you never wake up to a giant, unmanageable credit card bill or a dearth of material pleasures. Instead, you’ll always have some money saved and pretty painted toes.

Photo: Corbis Images



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