What Unfrugality Costs Me and Why I’m OK With It

hand taking bills out of wallet by Stuart Miles

Frugality without sacrifice is my spending motto. But does the “without sacrifice” part sometimes push me over the edge into unfrugality ? I took a close look at where my money goes and found quite a few items I could spend less on. So here is the rundown on what those items are, how much extra they are costing me, and what (if anything) I am going to do about it.


Baseline Spending:

An Extra $1430 a Year for Unfrugality

Groceries. Because it helps me control my weight and maintain good blood numbers, I pay an extra $20 a week to eat a meat-and-veggies diet without rice, pasta or potatoes. That is an extra $1000 a year.

Medical Checkups. Because I want to stay on top of my health, I get quarterly checkups instead of the standard annual one. That is an extra $60 a year in co-pays. (Thank goodness for insurance.)

Dental Cleanings. Because I hate having dental work done, I get quarterly cleanings instead of the standard semi-annual ones. That is an extra $170 a year.

Vehicle Maintenance. Because of their servicing system and convenience, I pay more to take my truck to Jiffy Lube instead of a local service station. That is an extra $200 a year. (I’m passing on doing it myself, which would probably save me another $150 a year.)

What will I do about that extra $1430 a year in baseline spending? Nothing. All of it keeps either me or my truck in top running condition. And that, as they say, is priceless.


Discretionary Spending:

An Extra $1086 a Year for Unfrugality

Coffee. Because I like the taste so much, I pay an extra $10 a pound (!) to drink Tully’s French Roast Keurig K-cups instead of drip coffee. That is an extra $180 a year. (Which I really should not count since it is all “bought” with store gift cards obtained through cash-back card redemptions.)

Books. Because I love collecting them and not just reading them, I pay an average $5 a book instead of borrowing at the library. That is an extra $120 a year.

Motel Stays. Because I want the amenities it offers, I pay an extra $20 per night to stay at Best Western instead of Knight’s Inn or Motel Six. That is an extra $480 a year.

Scotch Whiskey. Because I want the smoothness and the taste, I pay an extra $18 a bottle for Chivas Regal over a common brand. That is an extra $216 a year.

Beer. For the same reasons as for Scotch, I pay an extra $5 a six-pack to drink Beck’s instead of Bud (or Old Milwaukee!). That is an extra $90 a year.

What will I do about that extra $1086 a year in discretionary spending? Nothing. All of that money comes out of my Discretionary Fund, which is there precisely for guiltless spending on whatever I want.


All told, my unfrugal side is costing me $2516 a year. But that is less than 8% of the annual surplus cash I have after covering my $15,000 annual basic living expenses. So I think I will give myself a break and let it be.

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image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


  1. Sounds like a perfect balance of frugal and splurging to me. I’m with you on the importance of one’s health–definitely worth spending money on. And, good coffee is a requirement :)!

    1. An ABSOLUTE requirement. Thank goodness cash back rewards, leveraged 125% by converting them into a BBBY gift card, fund my extravagant Kuerig coffee habit. It’s off budget, baby!

  2. Good coffee:) beans (I grind my own) is non-negotiable:)

    Books – well, I’ve learned to look at amazon to see if they have the same title used, or try half price.com and occasionally I cave and splurge on the latest romance at base or at Walgreens instead of checking them out at the library for free. I had to institute a one book in – one book out rule for those worthy collections:) like my herb books or specialty garden books or books on my current passions, or my house would be overflowing with books.

    We do like to indulge in good food, but I make it a practice to also cook on a daily basis and we keep our going out to restaurants to max once a week, sometimes less. Sort of a check and balance system and there are are all sorts of tricks I use to keep the food budget where I want it and keep us happy.

    For us it is beer and wine and spirits of every kind. Got vodka, rum, tequila all at 50% off when a store closed about three years ago – still working on that stash:) At first, DH thought I was nuts when he saw all that I’d bought – now he just grins and says oh, we still have some of that?, good thing you acted on that.

    Good taste is discretionary – n’est pas?:)

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