Al Gore offsets his carbon footprint. Volunteering for your community is offset for minor crimes. If you can offset those, you can definitely offset luxurious spending. The opportunity or the cost of that opportunity is a perceived value. Sometimes you even have to make a case to yourself for something you know isn’t the most cost-effective. Six cases that work well:
Deposits to your savings account are made at a similar rate to your luxurious spending totals
If you can afford to pick up the latest in video games, you can afford to match that total in a deposit to your savings. In this manner, every luxurious purchase costs twice as much in your budget, but half of it is stored for emergencies, the future, or to bear interest. Not a bad plan, in fact, one that helped a friend quit a smoking habit.
It provides recreation
Bounding across the countryside on an ATV is a much-needed release from the daily grind. A kayak, the gear, and the insurance is going to strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles, inspire you to travel to other rivers and rapids, and keep utilities down at a now-empty house. Having a piano to practice puts your creative mind to work.
Overtime hours or a side job compensate for you luxury
Absolutely no reason not to work on Thanksgiving? Have a highly productive hobby? The extra income from something you could, would, or do do anyway is a system that allows for something above and beyond sustenance living.
Someone who needs the money is getting it
Get your book for an extra dollar at the local bookstore, keep the money and the store in town. Buy a pizza card from the baseball fundraiser, eat out a few times and send a potential future major-leaguer to camp. When auto sales go down, it’s not just the sales lots or the big-name manufacturer that sees the cut, but the people working in small plants across the country that only do mundane things like gauge fuel injector parts.
There’s more hours to spend with friends and family
It is possible to pinch pennies across the board by doing everything yourself, but if you’re under the sink fixing the leak, your family is off in the other room playing a board game without you. If you’re spending hours altering a hand-me-down that you could take in to a seamstress, you’re not taking a hike with your best friends.
It’s something the grandkids will happily argue over
Heirloom quality: beauty, history, the stuff memories are made of. If it’s going to last long enough for your descendents to own proudly, it’s a worthy investment. It spreads the cost of what would be one household’s dining table into several households, saving money for future generations, for a small expense now.
One luxury a day, maybe the famed coffee-house mocha latte. Or maybe that upgrade, or the decision to buy local. If there is a choice to further your dollar and you didn’t make it, it doesn’t mean it’s out of line. It just means it belongs on a different line. Really, it’s okay. Offset.
Image courtesy of pbo31