I’ll Never Be a Frugal Blogger

I’m what you might call a bad personal finance blogger. Or maybe just a bad frugal blogger (never said I was a frugal blogger though!) Anyways, yup, I said it. I like nice (and brand new) cars, big houses, vacations, cable and premium TV, and everything else. I don’t really talk about using coupons a whole lot either. I also use loans to my advantage by obtaining low interest rates (such as 0%) instead of paying for things with cash when I have the cash available.

Some of the things that I just wrote seem to be things that some bloggers and readers might frown upon. Yes, I would like to retire early and not have to worry about money. However, I do like buying things and having nice things also. For me, I don’t see it as me trying to keep up with the Joneses, I see it as I work hard for my money, so why not enjoy myself? I’m not the type of person who wants to retire early by being extremely cheap with everything that I do (no offense to those who do this).

I am not perfect, and if I have the income to support the things that I want, then why not? I’m all about increasing my extra income, and a lot of it is used to pay down my $38,000 student loan debt. After that is gone, a lot of it will be funneled towards savings but also for fun things in my life. I hope you all do not hate me by the end of this post by the way.

A couple of months ago I talked about my Budget Busters and My Plans. There are a lot of things on this list that I will be spending money on in the next 18 months. Big wedding? CHECK. Big house? CHECK. Paying off student loans? CHECK. Vacations? CHECK CHECK CHECK. Oh yeah and I plan on getting a new car also.

These girls said it best

These girls said it best

I agree with Cait and Leslie. Even though I am definitely not a frugal blogger, I am money conscious and watch my spending. I manage my money well (at least I think so) and make sure that I am able to pay all of my bills. I also make sure that my spending and expenses equal less than 50% of our income.

Yes, I have made mistakes. Probably way too many money mistakes, but I am human, and it happens. I do think frugal bloggers are awesome though. If you are able to save even more money, then why not? That’s awesome!

Being a personal finance blogger to me is not always about saving as much money as you can. It’s about enjoying life and reaching true happiness. If I’m happy with what I spend my money on and have a realistic game plan for retirement, etc., then I’m happy.

I like nice cars and I cannot lie :)

Right now my car is okay, not the greatest. But I haven’t told most of you guys something – I plan on buying a new car this spring. Yes, I do realize we just bought the Jeep last summer. And yes I remember that a lot of you were not happy with that purchase. But that’s why I blog! I rely on you guys to keep me in check. If it wasn’t for my blog, I probably wouldn’t think twice. With my blog I’m always double thinking my purchases and trying to think of what others would do.

W now works at a car dealership. He can get me a good deal. And while it’s not the most luxurious, I have been looking at the 2013 Chevy Cruze. He can get us pretty much the at-cost price (this is below MSRP, invoice, employee discount, etc.).

Up until last week, I’m not going to deny it, I was dead set on the 2013 Camaro 2SS. Yes, not the base model or even an SS. I was thinking about the super expensive one that is above all of that. The price was around $40,000 with the extras that I wanted (would be even more expensive if I wanted all of the extras). However, I kept thinking about the bad gas mileage it gets and how the Cruze gets around 2 times better gas mileage (38-42 for the Cruze versus approximately 20 or less for the Camaro).

P.S. Jen recently posted about how she bought a BRAND NEW BMW, I’m so jealous. With careful planning, just because you spend money on a new car does not make you bad with money. Haven’t seen any finance bloggers buy a brand new BMW yet :)

I like houses that are probably a little too big

I really want a new house, and W and I decided that 2014 is the year. We bought the house that we currently live in when we were at the young and at the not-so-smart age of 20, and we are ready for something nicer. And bigger.

We decided that we want a decent sized house. Preferably two stories, around 3,000 square feet, with a finished basement, large fenced in backyard, and so on. Right now our house is okay, and yes we could do with less space, but I do believe we would be happier with a nicer house. And if we can afford it, then why not?

I know that for a lot of people, a $300,000 or $400,000 house might be average because of the places that you live (NYC, LA, Vancouver), but in the Midwest, it usually buys a pretty nice house. You can have a pool if you want, half an acre of land, and a brand new 3,500 square foot house. And this is pretty much what I want.

Vacations are always nice and worth it

I like vacations. We all know this though, no surprises here.

Not everyone thinks vacations are bad, but I know that some may think it’s not a good idea to do this when you have student loans. I’ve had great vacations and haven’t regretted a single one.

Cable TV is always fun

My cable bill is around $60. We have HBO and a lot of other channels. Would I give this up? NO! I’m fine with watching it on TV the second it comes out and spending extra money on this.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of cable. It’s a relatively cheap form of entertainment and an easy way to relax. And I’m addicted to reality TV shows that I probably shouldn’t name.

Are there things that you want in life like me?

What splurges do you have in life?


  1. says

    What’s life if you can’t enjoy it? Just because you like nice things doesn’t mean you’re not good with money. You live within your means. Enjoy all of these nice things you’ve worked so hard to afford! I just wish we were in the same state so I could help you hunt for your new house! :)

  2. Laura says

    I think if you're making conscious decisions with money, then you're fairly frugal anyway. Our day to day living expenses are fairly cheap (apart from this month lol) and this frees up our money to spend on vacations and nice things.

    We (very luckily) drive a brand new BMW, but it's a work perk and a very frugal way to own a good car :)

  3. John S @ Frugal Rules says

    I am glad to hear that I am not the only PF blogger who has HBO! I know others frown upon it and yes it can be expensive. However, we bust our butts and it's an easy way to have something to enjoy. We'll probably never cut it either. We love vacations as well and we're currently saving for one next year. :)

  4. plantingourpennies says

    I think as long as it's spending that's not hurting you and matches up with your goals, then it's okay.

    I spend what some people might consider an insane amount on my running. So what? We can afford it. It keeps me sane and happy and fit. =)
    My recent post Why Being Short Is Awesome

  5. says

    I bought a BMW last year and it wasn't new. When you buy new, you have to absorb the depreciation. Why not let someone else absorb most of it? Buy it off lease with 20k or 50k? It's still a relatively new vehicle that you're getting for significantly less.

    Personally I'd never buy a brand new vehicle (Camaro or BMW) – it's basic personal finance 101 and has very little to do with being frugal.
    My recent post Don’t Ignore Your Readers You Fool!

  6. Johnny Moneyseed says

    I'm not going to lie, this really hurt my stomach to read this. Not because I disagree with your lifestyle, but because I am ultra-frugal and I feel like I actually live more comfortably than most. Things like cable, new cars, and expensive vacations are nice, but if you take that same money and invest it it instead of living in the moment, you will be able to multiply your money. I would rather spend the last 40 years of my life knowing I don't have to go work than spend the next 40 years with new cars and toys, while HAVING to work. Nice post though! It's nice to hear the other side of the spectrum.
    My recent post Become a big picture thinker

    • says

      Thanks! We still plan on retiring early. We only spend around 30% of our take home pay, and save the other 70%. This is where increasing our income and extra income comes in handy. I guess I just think that spending an extra $500 a month won't hurt me in the long run if I'm enjoying myself, since $500 is less than 5% of what we take home every month.

  7. says

    I agree – Michelle, if you are making sure you're covered financially and still saving as much as you are, then go for it! Life is meant to be enjoyed!
    My recent post Fire!

  8. says

    I agree – Michelle, if you are making sure you're covered financially and still saving as much as you are, then go for it! Life is meant to be enjoyed!
    My recent post Fire!

  9. says

    I say go for it! It's fun to live vicariously through others. You know what makes you happy and how much you have and nobody else.

    Definitely a difference between a frugal blogger and a PF blogger.

    My priorities started changing when I got into my 30s. I got tired of working and wanted to relax more and have my money work for me, which is hard compared to making money. Hence, I decided to save more instead. It all depends on which stage you are in life. You've got a lifetime to make money.



    My recent post The Proper Asset Allocation Of Stocks And Bonds By Age

    • iheartbudgets says

      ^ that's the key. It's ALL about priorities! But hey, if you're dropping coin on vacations, make sure to use sign up rewards on credit cards to pay your way :)

      I think the couponers and ultra-frugal bloggers can get a bit out of hand and obsessive about savings. For me, I don't have the money to splurge, but if I did, you bet I would! Heck, I'm still going to go on 5 star vacations and fly first class because I enjoy the finer things in life, but I'm doing it all for free. BUT, I have a list of priorities that dictates where my extra money goes first, and right now, my priorities are 1) getting out of debt, 2) starting a college savings fund for the little guys 3) investing more. AFTER those are done, if there's extra cash, then I'll spend on more of my WANTS.

      Since you've got the cash, I don't think you're doing anything the "wrong" way. Also long as you are spending money where your priorities are, then you're doing it right :)
      My recent post Redecorate for Zero Dollars

  10. says

    Hey, to each, his own, right? I personally would rather live a more frugal life in order to worry less but thats because that is more important to me. I don't really want a big house because it means I will have to worry about cleaning it and keeping it maintained. However, if you can afford, why not? As long as you are still saving, thats the important thing.
    My recent post You Are Who You Hang Around With Especially in Finances

  11. addvodka says

    I'd say I'm frugal, but I spend my savings on things that make me happy (not ALL of them – I save for retirement and emergencies and will start investing this year). So I keep the thermostat at 65 so that I can go all out on my vacations (lol). I compare prices at the grocery store so I can buy a new dress guilt-free. I don't value a super expensive car, as long as it's decent and super reliable, but I would never drive a beater just to save some cash.
    My recent post Ways to Inject Personality Into Your Posts

  12. Probably Rachel says

    I don't blog about personal finance, but I'm all about being smart with money and paying off my own student loans. With that being said, I completely agree that if you can afford it, you shouldn't deprive yourself of the things that you want.

    My husband and I enjoy new nice cars, a large nice house and smartphones. But it's about choices and priorities. We don't have a home phone or cable because we would prefer to have smartphones. We drive nice cars but don't take lavish vacations on a regular basis.

    Yours is the only personal fiance blog that I read on a regular basis because I like your perspective the best.
    My recent post Hiding

  13. says

    You make a lot of money girl, get freaky with it. 😉 And personal finance blogger does not equate living frugally or being poor or trying to stretch a dollar. I am also not a frugal blogger, which is why my website has developed some "lifestyle" elements to it as well (just like yours!). Do what makes you happy. You are obviously doing something right!

  14. says

    You work your ass off! If you didn't enjoy your money what makes the hard work worth it? I love and want all these things and if I could afford it I would! I desperately need to make more money so I can get this debt paid down so I too could enjoy the finer things in life. Actually screw the finer things, I don't even need super fine things. I just want to be able to have a vacation, and it doesn't have to be elaborate, once a year or every 2 years. I want to plan a CAMPING trip with the family without worry about money. Though I understand the importance of avoiding 'lifestyle inflation' I'd be lying if I didn't say we wouldn't plan on spending more money when we became debt free. I 100000% agree with Cait and Leslie. It's about responsibility.
    My recent post How My Husband Landed a NHL Blogging Gig

  15. Brian says

    I've had my one brand new really nice car. It was fun to get one, but I am pretty much over that for the rest of my life. I will probably go back to doing what I have always done and buy my dad's old car. Of course that isn't as bad as it sounds since he buys himself a nice new car every 3 – 5 years. So in the next couple years I would be looking at getting a sweet Acura RDX.

    Our main splurge is vacations. We love leaving the country for a week or so every year. Of course with the new baby this has slowed us down a bit and changed the goal to move abroad for 3 – 6 months in a couple years instead.

    • says

      We haven't had a REALLY nice new car yet, just kind of average ones. I don't know if I could ever throw $50K down on a car, but that is only because I literally want to cry when I get a door ding on my average car now – so I can't imagine the fit I would go into if I had a nice car haha

  16. Ashlee says

    Ah, LOVE the Chevy Cruze! You and I have very much of the same taste {cruze, dreams of a big house, & BUCKWILD- yeah, I said it lol!!}. If I was making the $$$ you were on your blog, I'd take the 5% each month to make myself happy/my man happy. I might even use 10% every 3 months or so, haha!

  17. says

    I won't lie either, that it is a bit hard to look at such spending with a straight face. It's not bad, so don't get me wrong! I think it is fantastic you have this lifestyle and you're enjoying it, so don't let anyone tell you no to do things you love as long as you're being responsible about it. After all, at worse, it is affecting you (and M) and not others, so they shouldn't be a big part of your decision. I do get slightly jealous, since my "spending" is pretty much nil, and the roads are quite tough and boring. But I do take my vacation and focus "want what I have" instead of "having what I want". Being frugal doesn't have to be a qualification to be in PF. It is a part of it, but it doesn't define them, so fire away. I also think that's awesome you can get extra discounts on that car you want.
    My recent post Financial Books

  18. says

    I think that's why I like your blog. I'm sorry but a lot of PF blogs are really boring! You talk about real life, real things, and real things you want and the ways that you are being smart about getting them. Yes, you throw in those posts about interest rates and other such things that aren't as exciting but you also put your personality into it. Every time you pop up in my news feed it's not some cookie cutter post about credit cards. Anywho. We don't ever want to own a house over 2000 sq feet as we do not want to heat/cool the place nor do we feel it's necessary. Thank goodness I don't want an expensive new car. BUT I have spent $150 on a pair of jeans and our cable bill is $90 bucks a month-and that's negotiated!!! We all have our vices. It's being smart about them that matter most.
    My recent post More Sick People

  19. says

    !!! Thanks for linking to my post! I'm with you, Leslie and Cait–it's all about responsibility. I think the thing people sometimes forget is they look at the frivolous purchase on the surface, but don't think about the underlying hard work it took to get to the point of buying that new car, house, vacation, etc.

    Yep, I bought a stupidly expensive car and I LOVE IT. But I've also been budgeting for it since June (even though I don't actually get the car until this weekend) :)

    But I'm also the girl that packs her lunch every day, keeps the thermostat at 65 in the winter, wears her shoes til they fall off her feet and buys clothes only when necessary and always on clearance. I just have different financial priorities I guess.
    My recent post Frugality Gone Wrong: The Real Cost of Owning a BMW

  20. says

    While you aren't a fugal blogger, you are definitely responsible with your money. When you throw out "I like luxury items but I only spend 30% of my income" it's very tantalizing – would you feel comfortable being more transparent about how you do that? When you have a nice income and live in a low cost-of-living area you can really do a lot on a reasonable percentage of your income.

    I am definitely a frugal blogger, but that's because we have to be frugal to get by with our current income. When our income increases, I hope I'll become more of an ambitious-goals or balanced-lifestyle blogger like you!
    My recent post The Marriage Penalty and Itemizing Taxes

    • says

      I would make an income post soon, but I guess I don't know if I want to be THAT open. I'm still just afraid that people I know will find it and take advantage of us.

      We have a nice income and live in a very low cost of living area (woohoo midwest!), which is always nice.

  21. Jon says

    I'll agree with many other comments – I like your blog because you are real! We all have certain things that we enjoy and are willing to pay for. You do a great job of making a lot of money, being wise with what you spend, tracking it, and saving where you can. Keep up the great work and have fun…really enjoy your posts and 'tweets.'
    My recent post Backyard Chickens: Baby Chicks! (Live on cam)

  22. SavvyFinancialLatina says

    I think it's all about your responsibility levels.
    Just don't become the people who complain about how much they need to spend and how much they have to earn in order to keep up with the bills. Those people are the worst because everybody knows they could have totally avoided it.

  23. Dillon says

    Just read this post and how timely….we are going to pick up my wife's new car today. It isn't a frugal purchase and it is a sin to buy a new car, but we can afford it. Yes, it might set us back a year or two in our early retirement dreams but we decided that we would rather have the nice car than retire at age 40. I struggle with myself and this purchase because I feel like a bad person wasting money on a car, but I also work hard and want to enjoy the fruits of my labor both now and in the future. Thanks for posting this! It makes me feel not so guilty.

  24. says

    I love this post! My only problem is I get excited for vacations, and then when I'm on the vacation all I can do is worry that I'm going to spend too much. I hope to do better about that on the vacation I'm taking next month.
    My recent post Man vs. Wedding Ring

  25. @PFBeat says

    Ha — I kind of fall into the same boat, and sometimes feel a little guilty about it! Living in NYC, I love eating out and going to sports bars to watch NFL games. I have HBO when Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire are on-air. I try to take two vacations per-year, within reason. And I'm addicted to buying whatever the latest Apple product is — can't wait when the iPad Mini gets that retina display!

    Of course, I do budget for these expenses in a separate vacation/spending account, so I don't feel that guilty!
    My recent post GDP Shows Surprise Drop for US in Fourth Quarter

  26. says

    I definitely don’t need it, but my smart phone is a pretty nice luxery. At $100 a month it’s not cheap, but having unlimited texting, being able to call my family for free, keeping notes/calendar/alarms/music on it and being able to read blogs whenever I have down time and want to is worth it to me. Personally I don’t care about TV (don’t even own one), but if you find it worthwhile and want to pay extra for it then who am I to judge you? No one says you have to be frugal to blog about money, its just that those two subjects tend to dovetail each other pretty well. It’s one of the reasons I transitioned to a lifestyle blogger; I can talk about the things I save money on as well as the things I spend money on.

  27. says

    Well, I grew up in a home where we didn't have much money, so we had to be frugal. I try to be as frugal as possible, not to save every penny, but to support my musical needs. Music gear isn't cheap, so ill coupon if it means I can fund a recording studio. With that said I would say I would have to say i'm a moderately frugal blogger.
    My recent post Scholarships for High School Seniors

  28. Anne_UGifter says

    Ha. We have all sorts of expensive stuff. For example, we probably have a few grand in alcohol sitting around. My spouse likes scotch. We have about 20 bottles of the stuff, plus all of the other stuff we drink. We bought a new car in April. We have around 10K in bicycles. In January we spent $1100 on framing antique maps we like. …all sorts of nice, expensive tastes. I would make a poor PF blogger because most of our savings is pretty boring and we're not really creatively frugal either. We do manage to save over 50% of what we make, while spending a healthy amount of fun money :-)

    If you can get a sweet deal on a new vehicle, take it awhile you can :-)

  29. says

    Good for you. I am brand new to the PF thing and blogging, but I've been following PF blogs for a few years now. Honestly, this post has given me some hope. I read other blogs and felt more and more discouraged. Locking myself in the house isn't my thing. I get the most wicked cabin fever. I MUST travel. That said, I could be smarter about it. Thanks for posting this, I'm glad I'm not the only one who is a 'bad PF blogger' :)
    My recent post 2013 Goals

  30. Young Family Finance says

    I'm sure I would be far less frugal if I had the money to spend. My student loans set me back more than my 2500 sq ft house did. If you're able to meet all your expenses, save for bad luck and meet your goals you're doing just fine! (And having goals of "new car" and "travel" are absolutely legit).

  31. says

    I totally agree! Work hard play hard. Okay, maybe not that ahha. But my boyfriend's mum always says, if you work hard you gotta reward yourself a bit. No point in doing all the hard work for seemingly nothing. It's nice to treat yourself. Especially when you can afford to!
    My recent post inspired by #vineapp

  32. says

    There should be no shame in liking nice things. I think we PF bloggers get a bad rep as a bunch of cheapskates. Really, as long as you can afford the things you buy and do then there's no problem. Different people have different goals, I would totally be driving a BMW M3 if I could afford it. You only live once so you might as well enjoy it
    My recent post Finding The True Value Of Free Time

  33. kimateyesonthedollar says

    I wanted all kinds of things when I was in my 20's. I don't think it's wrong, but I did it all wrong. I put it on credit instead of planning and waiting until I could afford it. I got caught up in the cycle of 0% interest and just bought too much. Now I've been there done that and aside from vacations, I don't want as much. I'm sure you won't make those mistakes. Enjoy your life. You certainly work hard for it. (I still have satellite TV and probably always will.)
    My recent post Reformed Spenders Adjust to Life on a Budget

  34. K.K @ Living Debt Free Rocks! says

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. What you do you with your money is completely your business and I wish that some people who choose to to chastise others about their spending would instead focus on something else. You and your fiancé make a great income, are conscious about your spending and are entitled to enjoy some of your hard earned income. Although I don’t share my financials on my blog, my husband and I make a very good income. We are responsible with our money. We have our indulgences (travel, electronics, etc…) and will not apologize for them. I’m really glad you wrote this post because I was about to write one along the same lines!

  35. stephiesbeadsandbaubles.com says

    Wow, this was a great post for me to read. I feel the same way about finances as you do. My husband and I want to get debt free, and save for retirement, but we want to take trips and we just bought a new , certified used , but a service car not a personally owned used car, and we are not appologetic about it at all. We had one car, a 1998 and I was tired of being at home. Now I can look to getting a job and being more independant and we have a car we do not have to worry about for a while.
    I admire those who are frugal and some things we try to be frugal with. But we love our direct tv and our iphones and will not appologize for that, and we do eat out about once a week , and we do run our heat when it is cold, and air when it is hot. We want to enjoy life, just be more cautious and think before we spend. For us it is not all about saving to the extent we do not enjoy life. We do want to really get the debts paid off, but we bought the car last week and we are taking a long trip this summer. I think balance is a good thing and can make you much happier as you go for your goals !!

  36. Alex says

    I think frugal bloggers are an interesting subset of pf bloggers in general, but they are not the whole world. I am realistic enough to admit that I love nice things sometimes too.

  37. studentdebtsurvivor says

    I don't think you have to live like a pauper to make good money decisions, nor do I think you (or anybody else) should have to apologize for the money decisions you make, or the things you buy. If you work hard and make lots of money it's nobody's business how you spend it. That house in the mid-west you described sounds lovely. $400k bought us a very small 2 bedroom condo, but those are the tradeoffs we make it life.

  38. says

    I agree with you. LIVE and live well. Enjoy your time as you may never know when it may come to a grinding halt.

    My blog isn't about financial austerity like you have only the income as a child slave-labourer in some horrible 3rd world sweat-shop. It's about living the high life off a meagre pittance!

    My recent post FOOD: mushroom risotto

  39. myfijourney says

    I am not a frugal blogger either. Nor do I advocate minimalist lifestyles or anything like that. I like having a car, not as nice as yours but a lot better than a bicycle. I also like to eat meat, drink wine, travel around, and otherwise enjoy myself.

    I live a frugal lifestyle at the moment, but this is because I'm working towards something greater – achieving financial independence by the time I'm 45. My main point is to increase your savings rate using whatever methods work for you. Saving and investing is a long game, so you need to be happy with your lifestyle in order to be able to win the marathon.
    My recent post 8 Things To Do Before You Start Investing (or most of personal finance summed up in one post)

  40. brickbybrickinvesting2012 says

    I think you are making a conscious decision based on your personal finance education. Obviously someone in your exact situation will build a much larger net worth by saving and investing while avoiding cash sucking ventures/items. However, you are making the educated choice not to do those things. That's what matters.
    My recent post January Income 2013

  41. says

    It sounds like your income is high enough to cover everything, but I think a lot of people don't take large future expenses into account when they say they "have enough" money to buy a new car every three years and live in a McMansion. People should be saving between about $3,000 and $8,000 per child per year from the time they are born to cover college expenses. They should be saving about 15% of their income to cover retirement. I see too many people who are getting financial aid for college(and with Obama trying to forgive loans after a few years for those who go into teaching and other "public service" professions, many loans will become financial aid too).who are always buying new cars and taking lavish vacations. Likiewise, there are a lot getting nursing home expenses paid by medicaid who went through millions of dollars in their working lifetimes.

    I agree that if people are really meeting expenses and have cash left over, they can spend as they wish. But don't be asking for others to pay your college expenses if you've put enough into vacations and cars to pay for it yourself.

  42. says

    I definitely feel the exact same way, now its just getting me as trained and as frugal as you. My goal is to start paying off my student loans first and buying our first house under Chad’s name and then I would buy a smaller fixer upper property under my name next year to re-do and resell now that the market is becoming better.

    I am in love with your site now!
    Shay recently posted..How Can A Week Or 52 Weeks Change You?My Profile

  43. says

    Hi there!
    I guess I’m not your usual type of reader but I accidently found you while reading a post from Adventurous Kate and even though I would probably describe myself as a lifestyle blogger, albeit a new one, I like your style, the way you write and your honesty. I’m probably not your target reader either as I’m a European and we don’t talk much about money, at least not openly LOL, I still find your posts enormously of interest. Well done!

  44. says

    I too could never be a “frugal” blogger. Even the word frugal sounds so…I don’t know.. miserly to me. (But I admit, I could be completely wrong on the whole idea of frugality.)

    Like you, I have “champagne taste” but unlike you I have champagne taste on a tap water budget. lol. But it won’t be like that forever. :)

    I just found your site today, thanks for all the helpful info!
    Lily recently posted..The Simplest Way To Gain True Strength and InfluenceMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge