What I Splurge On

A while ago, someone asked me what areas I splurge on. I gave the easy answer:  food and travel. In the PF blogging world, travel and food are the safe answers.  While you can get a ton of criticism for shopping sprees, travel is an experience that is rarely frowned upon.   In fact, it is encouraged. After all, you’re only young or young-ish once and who wants to see Europe for the first time as part of a large tour group going from site to site on a megabus because they’re too old to walk?  My first European trip was the classic back-packing trip and I would never trade that experience for anything!

However, I realized that I wasn’t completely honest. I do want to splurge on facials, massages, clothes, shoes and other fun stuff more often.  The problem is two-fold: 1) I seem to have problems (guilt) spending on myself and 2) everytime I think of splurging, I get hit with an annoying but urgent expense like traffic tickets, car repairs and vet bills.  I’m seriously not kidding.  One year I won an office pool; I got hit with a $400 traffic ticket the next day.  Recently, I received a small bonus and was hit by a car repair bill that same week.   No wonder I hesitate to spend any ‘extra’ money.

On top of this streak of bad luck, I am developing a spending phobia.  It’s almost like I have to re-learn the joys of spending. Of course, I get periodic urges to spend but I actually find it very hard to spend on myself, even in areas like career improvement.  It’s not hurting me to spend less on clothes and shoes.  However, it is hurting me that I hold back from spending on seminars, conferences or classes that could improve my career.  Isn’t it worth $1,000 to increase my earning potential?  I know the answer is “Yes” but it’s hard to know if a class will actually make the difference. That’s a risk I should take but I just can’t.  It’s been so long since I have focused on my career and I feel like I’m falling behind.  I am also a bit spoiled in this area.  In the past, my employers have paid for all my classwork and seminars.  However, right now, my employer is not willing to spend much on training and the areas I would like to study are a bit outside my job description.

I’m curious if others find it easy, or easier, to spend on career development? What if you are just exploring career options or changes and don’t know if you’ll even go in that direction? Is there always a pay-off?


3 responses to “What I Splurge On

  1. I think I admitted to wanting to splurge on manicures, facials, comic books and …. something else. That was a looong time ago, but it’s still kind of true. 🙂 I’m just saying, I won’t judge!

    Seriously, though, I’m taking classes right now that are intended for career development/change and it’s SO hard to pay up for each set: it costs more than $1000 per pair of classes. I know it’s the sensible thing to explore but it’s still painful to see that money flowing out.

    So when you ask if there’s always a payoff? I have no idea, but thinking that there likely is one doesn’t make it any easier. It’s like college: people say that career development is 100% good but you don’t really know that for sure.

    You just have to carefully evaluate your options, grit your teeth and go for it if your research bears up. (And get a friend to remind you of the wisdom of the decision when you’re having doubts.)

    • I guess my age has something to do with my hesitation. I definitely felt there was a pay-off when I took classes in my early 30s and there’s a good chance it will pay off for you since you’re young enough.
      Now that I’m close to 40, the payoff period is much shorter. I think that is a factor people often forget when they go to college or get advanced degrees. At this point, I’m in no rush to take official coursework. That’s not saying I won’t continue learning in the meantime via professional groups, forums, books and articles in my field.

  2. I feel the same way about classes. These classes I considered taking sound interesting but the actual application is less textbook and more hands-on get your hands dirty type of experience. That’s why I’m hesitant but it’s $23/unit. So it’s not like its expensive but again outside my job description but helpful to learn.

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