I just purchased a $200 pair of sunglasses. While many people would consider this an unnecessary splurge, I consider it to be a frugal purchase. Some of you are undoubtedly assuming that I have lost my senses, but I’m able to make this statement with confidence because I know myself well.
I rarely buy things because I am homeless and have no place to put them, and because there really isn’t a whole lot that I need to make me happy. The $200 I spent on sunglasses will exceed what I pay for all the rest of my clothing for the rest of the year. So why was I willing to pay $200 for a pair of sunglasses and also consider it a frugal move?
First and foremost, I had the money in my budget to do so. I am not going into debt with the purchase of the sunglasses and I don’t have to give up anything else that I had planned to purchase in order to get them. I also need sunglasses. When I travel, I do a lot of hiking in the sun. This in itself makes the purchase acceptable in my book, but I have also indicated that it was a frugal purchase.
About three years I lost my favorite pair of sunglasses. They had cost just over $100 and I had them for close to 5 years before I lost them. To my great disappointment, they no longer make the style. In the three years since I lost them, I have purchased about 10 pairs of sunglasses all between $10 and $40 each. While there is no excuse of me not taking better care of these purchases, the big issue with all these sunglasses was that, while acceptable for me to wear, I had purchased each of them because I needed sunglasses to wear, not because I really liked them. I never had a vested interest to take really good care of them like my previous favorite pair. The result was that they were lost or broken and I needed to replace them.
I must admit that I initially balked when I first saw the price tag on the sunglasses I purchased. $200 is a lot more than I spend on most purchases I make. When I quickly ran the numbers in my head, I realised that I had paid this much for sunglasses that I didn’t particularly like in the past few years. Since I really like these sunglasses (and knowing how much I paid for them), I know that I will take good care of them. Since I have a vested interest in these sunglasses, I’ll hopefully have them much longer than 3 years. Ultimately, I estimate that I should end up paying far less for these sunglasses over the long run than if I continued to buy them as I had been. This makes these sunglasses a frugal purchase for me even at their price.
To make sure that I feel that any purchase that I make for myself is worthwhile, I have also put in place a reality check to test my commitment of truly wanting the items I purchase. Many people do this by waiting a week to see if they still want the item, but I take it a step further. When I make a big purchase for myself, I make a commitment to donate double what I spend to charities of my choice. That means that deciding to purchase the sunglasses also costs me $400 in donations to charity making $600 the total cost of the sunglasses to my budget.
Would such a choice make sense for everyone? Of course not. It makes sense for me because my finances are already in order and I spend in such a way that I have extra money available which allows me to make decisions like this. If I were still in debt, I’m sure that I would have been much less careless with the sunglasses I had purchased in the past, and I would have held off on this purchase until I was out of debt. That being said, one of the main reasons I make sure my finances are in order is so that I can make purchases like this when they make sense for me.