Most of us can agree that the basic necessities include: shelter, food, clothing and transportation. However, I’m sure that we can all agree that even the most basic necessities can come in the form of luxury. Think McMansions, McBenz, McGucci, McMichelin restauants.
I am not judging anyone who has a McMansion, McBenz or a McGucci, but it is very clear that what can be defined as a luxury or basic necessity is different for everyone.
In one of my previous posts, I discussed my $1,000 monthly budget which included my bare bones basic needs and a little bit of luxury. I didn’t really expand on what my “luxury” items were, but I did mention travel, volleyball, haircuts and eating out. I try to be careful to allow myself some indulgences every now and then, but I always like to check in semi-annually just to make sure that I’m not going over board and fall prey to lifestyle inflation.
I will elaborate a bit more about the luxuries I allow myself each year.
Travel ($3,000 – $5,000 a year)
I love to travel. Growing up, we could not afford the luxury of travel. Most summer vacations were spent camping at national parks, and a trip to the Canadian Exhibition with out free passes from school. To be clear, I never felt deprived of any fun in my child hood, but when I had the opportunity to see the world outside of the City, I was like a freed bird.
I worked in the beautiful city of Boston for a few months at an internship. I went on an exchange term for few months abroad in Singapore and during my time there, I traveled through various places in Southeast Asia, including visiting the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. After graduation, I went to Germany and Egypt with a couple girlfriends. Luckily, BF traveled a lot for work, which allowed me the opportunity to visit him in Norway, France and Venezuela. I have been very blessed with these opportunities.
I hope to see and experience more of the world!
Restaurants ($1,500 to $2,500 a year)
BF and I love exploring and eating our way around the City. We have a favourite nook for Thai food, Japanese noodle soups, Chinese food: dim sum, Chinses food: dumplings, Chinese Vegetarian food, Italian pasta, Korean pork bone soup, crepes, and of course, steak.
We also cook more, and try to go for food that tastes better than what we make.
Once I get my Entertainment Book, I am also going to find some deals so we don’t have to pay full price for a dinner out. I hope to get my eating out spending down to $100 to $150 a month.
Volleyball (~$350 a year)
I have been playing volleyball consistently for about 3 years now. I love it. I play in a league in the City, and it’s a lot of fun and I do get some exercise in, as well. I’m not a huge gym fan, though I do like to swim, the occasional run, aerobics class. I would also like to take up yoga. I do need to get in more exercise.
For now, I’m sticking with volleyball once a week, and walking around the City on weekends.
Hair cuts ($320 a year)
I love getting my haircut at my favourite salon by my favourite stylist, and I know this is a splurge. I’m super lazy when it comes to my hair, and only for a wash-and-go style. No styling, no blow drying. Just combing and out the door. I also found that a medium short cut is most flattery for my face, so it requires more maintenance than someone with long hair.
My stylist is awesome and his cuts always last me at least 3 – 4 months, without looking grown out and flat. If my mom found out how much I pay for a haircut, she might freak. In my defense, he is the most experienced stylist at the salon (he’s the owner), and I pay about $80 including tax and tip. For reference, some of the other salons around the City have junior stylist rates starting close $50 before tax and tip (about $65 including tax and tip).
So that’s about it for my luxuries. If I were to be unemployed or needed to save more aggressively, these items would be the first to be put on hold, downgraded or deleted from my budget.
Personal finance is personal, so I don’t expect everyone to agree with how I spend my money, though I hope comments will be polite and constructive. I was inspired to do this exercise after writing about my basic budget, and reading the splurges of some of my favorite PF bloggers, Red from Girl with the Red Balloon and Fig from Figuring Money Out. Everyone has their own priorities and how you spend your money is your prerogative.
What are your luxury or splurge items? How much do you allot to luxury or splurges in your budget?
Note: Just to be clear, I would never buy a diamond encrusted mouse.