6 Things That Seem Like Splurges But Are Actually Savvy Buys


To splurge, or not to splurge, that is the question.

There's a certain set that thinks the word "splurge" should be deleted from our vocabulary. Some people take frugality and smart spending to an entirely new level, and if a purchase is too extravagant for their liking, or if they feel that it's unnecessary, they'll walk away with no remorse. To each his own. (See also: Want to Cut Costs? Get Yourself a Frugal Filter)

Splurging is typically associated with high-cost indulges or pleasures, which at the end of the day might not be necessary to our survival. But given how hard you work and the sacrifices you've undoubtedly made in your life, what's the harm in occasionally spoiling yourself?

And while you're spoiling yourself, you might discover that some splurges are actually savvy buys.

1. Massage

Spending $60 or $75 for a one-hour massage might not perfectly fit into your monthly budget, but don't immediately shrug off this relaxing experience.

Now, I'm not suggesting you spend rent money on a massage. But if you have some disposable cash, scheduling a massage (even a half-hour one) could be the treat of a lifetime, especially if you're stressed and looking for a way to unwind.

There are several health benefits of massages, too. A 30- or 60-minute treatment can loosen tense muscles and reduce your anxiety level. Additionally, treatments increase blood flow throughout your body, helping improve your immune system and remove toxins from your body.

2. Entertainment System

"The average cost of movie tickets in the second quarter of 2013 hit the highest price ever, at $8.38 per ticket," according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

However, city dwellers and those who prefer IMAX or 3D know that ticket prices can be much higher — as much as $15 or $20 depending on the location. This isn't too bad if you're paying for only yourself. But if you, your spouse, and kids are big movie watchers, you might pay upwards of $100 for a single showing, not including drinks and snacks. This is where an entertainment system becomes a savvy buy. (See also: You Never Need to Pay to Watch Movies)

Some people may feel that a home entertainment center is pointless, especially after factoring in the cost of a sizable high-definition television, surround sound, and comfortable seating. But when you add up the cost to take your clan to the movies once or twice a month (tickets, popcorn, drinks, candy), a home theater saves money.

Not only can you entertain your family at home for less, you can comfortably watch sporting events or other live events from home. Therefore, you don't have to go to a sports bar, thus saving you money on food and bar drinks.

3. Quality Mattress

There are mattresses for every budget — whether you're looking to spend $300 or a $1,000. One thing that I've learned from buying mattresses: "you get what you pay for." And after sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress for three years, I vowed to never purchase another cheap mattress again.

Of course, you have to make a decision that's right for your budget at the time. And if you need a new mattress today, spending a lot might not be an option; but if it is, this is one splurge you won't regret.

The truth is, you're going to spend some money if you want or need a quality mattress. And while the purchase might leave a temporary ding in your savings account, the health benefits are worth the purchase. A quality, comfortable mattress not only helps you sleep better, it also reduce your stress level and the risk of back or neck pain.

4. Non-Stop Flight

Fuel prices aren't getting any cheaper. Therefore, if you're planning a vacation or going to visit family, you may look for the cheapest flight available. Unfortunately, the cheapest flights don't always depart at the best times, and you might deal with multiple layovers.

Like so many others, I've purchased flights with two and three layovers in order to save $50 or $100. And at the time, it seemed like a good deal. However, as I look back, I probably spent more money in the long run.

When you sit in airports for six or seven hours, you'll do anything to kill boredom — browse airport gift shops and potentially buy things you don't need; spend your hard-earned cash on overpriced airport food or coffee; or give in and pay for airport WiFi.

So, while a connecting flight might drop your ticket price, the money you spend while waiting around for your next flight could cancel out any savings.

5. Personal Trainer

Yes, you can workout on your own. But if you've been on a quest to lose weight or increase muscle tone for months or years to no avail, splurging and hiring a personal trainer can get the results you want.

To some, paying $30 an hour for someone to guide them through workouts may seem like a waste of money. However, a personal trainer isn't just a workout buddy. This professional actually tailors an exercise program specifically for you based on your abilities and fitness goals.

The benefits of a personal trainer can't be overstated. You'll receive support, learn the right ways to complete certain exercises; and with a personal trainer, you're accountable to someone, which can help you stay focus and reach your goals.

6. Updated Wardrobe

Splurging on a new wardrobe might also seem like an irresponsible move. However, if you feel that your clothes hold you back professionally, updating your closet can be the change you need.

It's unfair, but your clothes say a lot about you — in fact, dressing to impress might be "the key to success." (See also: 101 Ways to Save Money on Clothes)

Subtle modifications to your style, such as buying better fitting clothes, being neat, or perhaps dressing more conservatively can change how others view you. They may see you as a more confident, competent, responsible, or trustworthy person, which can help you snag job interviews, job offers, and even move up the corporate ladder.

Do you have other "splurges" that are actually savvy buys to add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.

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Guest's picture

With Groupon or Living Social, you can find massages for around $40. Or try a massage college.