PF Blogs Make Me Want To Spend

Certain PF bloggers make me want to spend, spend, spend….

Krystal at Work dropped $600 on hiking boots.
Stacking Pennies bought a new bike.
Quarterlife Finances just highlighted beautiful fall clothes and shoes.
Paranoid Asteroid spent $360 on dinner (it was in Paris, on a honeymoon, but still…)

I’m not singling these bloggers out as criticism; in fact, I like these blogs a lot. But you can imagine the effect that these have on my normally more frugal nature.

The appeal of PF bloggers, of course, is that it’s personal. They are not written by financial “experts” and make mistakes just like everyone else. Many have climbed out of debt and are rightly enjoying the fruits of their labor. I enjoy these types of blogs the most because of the personal spin, and many of these are written by women so you get fashion ideas and sales alerts as a bonus.

Having said that, I noticed that many of these same blogs actually make me want to spend. There is some guilt over an indulgence (usually travel, spa, clothing) but most commenters jump in with a “you deserve it!” and “it’s an investment” or “You regret it if you don’t travel to ____.” Rarely does someone say, hey you just bought a spa package, you have a big trip planned in June so maybe this isn’t a good purchase. I understand that many commenters, including myself, don’t really keep track of the blogger’s recent spending. However, after reading all those “you go ahead (and spend) girl!” comments, I feel like I should spend more, too!  I actually do spend on myself but try to space apart my indulges so that it doesn’t break my budget.

Of course I could just skip those fun and interesting blogs and head over to the more frugal-minded folks like Money Saving Mom and the Simple Dollar. They do advocate spending wisely and indulging yourself on things that matter to you but generally, they tend to focus on money-saving habits but frankly their sites aren’t as fun to read.

Do PF bloggers have the opposite effect on you than intended? Do you ever read a blog for financial advice and end up following a link to a great sale? And doesn’t it seem like most commenters tell the blogger that it’s worth it, thus ‘enabling’ the purchase? Note: I truly believe you should spend in areas that are important to you. However, not every purchase can be worth it, right? I mean I wouldn’t be offended if someone tells me to step away from Sephora every once in a while!


12 responses to “PF Blogs Make Me Want To Spend

  1. Thanks for the link!

    Honestly, I don’t think that spending the $360 was at all a smart financial decision. However, the reservations were made before my husband quit his job and before we realized just how crazy the pricing was. We say, “Oh, it was our honeymoon,” because otherwise we’d have to look back and regret that spending. The food is gone, so I figure our best bet is to be more careful now rather than beating ourselves up.

    I think that the smaller communities of bloggers grew because people didn’t want to feel guilty for every indilgence. And I think – especially in my “area” of the blogosphere, where everyone is young – that we care more about finding the balance between indulging and saving.

    I do agree that we can be enablers, though. I think it’s because seeing other people blow $X on clothes makes us feel that much better about taking a vacation or going out to lunch.

  2. Wow, I wrote you a novel – sorry about that! Your post just really got me thinking!

  3. Paranoid,
    Thanks for reading and responding! I really enjoy your blog and I’m glad you didn’t take my post the wrong way. I was a bit worried when I posted (although I wasn’t sure if any of the bloggers I posted about would actually end up finding my blog!)

    I think finding the balance between indulging and saving is definitely a life-long battle that is hardest in your 20s. You have to enjoy your youth of course!

  4. I don’t know if you see it on Twitter, or in some of our posts, but we realize we’re enablers. Or wait, we realize we’re surrounded by enablers (ahem! Well-Heeled and Fabulously Broke). Some enablers are a little offended to be called out on it 😉 but it’s ok – we know the truth.

    There are times we know we’re asking for enabling, there are times we ask for a dash of good sense. I guess you’re right, the latter is less exciting. But I totally understand your sentiment; I even included a list of more “exciting” blog posts in my insurance shopping post because I know how dry and dreary something boring like insurance can be.

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  6. I sometimes quietly think to myself “maybe it isn’t the best idea for you to buy that”. But I’d never comment that on a blog. It seems to judgey and most people aren’t very receptive to those types of comments.

    If someone wants something, they’ll justify it, and if someone tells them their wrong, they’ll just be annoyed. And they can’t exactly be “wrong” since it is personal finance….

    I totally know what you mean though — I find out about all sorts of cool stuff that I may otherwise be oblivious to (and thus, have no desire to own) through blogging.

    It also seems to have been a spending summer in the 20 something female pf blogosphere. I wonder why!

    • You’re right. No one wants to be the judgey friend who stops the fun. In real life, we probably all spend more when we shop with friends or family because we encourage each other to spend to justify our own spending or don’t say anything if a friend buys their 3rd most-have pair of winter boots etc… However, in the pf blogosphere, maybe we owe it to each other to be that judgey friend every once in while? People definitely don’t like to hear that but sometimes it must be said and can be said nicely. I really don’t know if it would change anyone’s mind but it’s worthwhile to get an honest opinion, which you won’t get in real life. At the end of the day, it is up to that person of course to make the choice and we shouldn’t criticize their final decision.

      One thing I do try to do is space out my indulgences (i.e. delayed gratification). If someone in real life or on a blog seems to be spending every weekend, I think it’s okay to say something.

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  8. I don’t see how “indulgences” automatically equates to unwise spending. If you’re still hitting your savings goals, then it doesn’t matter. One person’s indulgence could be another person’s normal spending. Some people also spend more on one item, but buy fewer items overall. People making less than me would think I “indulge” all the time, when the fact is, I save between 30-40% of my pre-tax income every year. It’s about the whole picture.

  9. Christine,
    You’re right that not all indulgences equal unwise spending and that we always have to keep the big picture in mind. However, I think there is definitely a slippery slope when it comes to indulgences, or any spending on wants vs. needs. Sometimes it is very hard to put the brakes on spending.

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