I’m a penny pincher by nature, but in recent years I’ve learned that sometimes it’s OK to spend money. Here are 5 things we are spending money on right now!
This post was inspired by Mandi Ehman’s “7 Things We Splurge on as a Family” and Crystal Paine’s “6 Things Our Family Has Chosen to Splurge On.”
For many years, I could have been called a tight wad. I grew up in a frugal family, and when we married, my husband’s spender tendencies contrasted greatly with my desire to save money.
In fact, I never wanted to spend money on anything!
But in the last few years I’ve come to realize that sometimes it’s OK and even good to spend money.
The key is, you must have that money to spend.
I always want to be a good financial steward of God’s provisions. The following are five things we are spending money on right now, and I believe we have made good choices on these investments.
I share these with you who might be warring with yourselves on whether to spend or save.
Just remember: Don’t ever spend money you do not have!
5 Things We’re Spending Money on Right Now
1. GYM Membership
So I never, ever thought we could afford a gym membership*!
But as our income has increased over the past few years, I’ve changed my stance on this one.
Is a gym membership necessary? Absolutely not.
Is a gym membership helpful and completely acceptable if there is room for one in your budget? Absolutely!
The girls and I are currently enjoying a one-month membership to the Y, and our reasons for joining were 3-fold:
- Group Exercise Classes: I am an extrovert, and as much as I enjoy working out to Fit2B at home, I thrive in group exercise classes. I really need to lose between 20-30 pounds to get to my ideal weight, and working out with other people motivates me more.
- Swimming Year-Round: Although I don’t see myself as a helicopter mom in most areas, I am very helicopter-ish when it comes to my girls being in the water. Some might have thought I over-reacted with the possible secondary drowning incident a few weeks back, but none of my girls have ever had good swimming lessons, and I personally am not a strong swimmer. I am excited about all of us having the opportunity to keep up our swimming skills year-round. I have always been leery of taking the girls swimming alone, but because our YMCA has a zero-entry kiddie area and great lifeguards, I have felt comfortable taking the girls swimming several times already. Plus, it gives us some great mommy-daughter bonding time!
- Childcare: One of moms’ biggest excuses for not exercising is not having the childcare to do so without little ones underfoot. I totally understand! Although I was hesitant to drop them off at first, our YMCA has a great childcare option! There are different classes for each age group, and they keep the kids occupied with activities, outside play, and more! The girls actually ask me if they can go because they enjoy it so much! Along with having the childcare for exercising, it’s also affording me some time to complete my work-at-home mom job because there are tables in common areas where I can sit with my computer. When I realized that the cost of a YMCA membership would be much less than the cost of our mother’s helper and includes the pool and exercise classes, it sealed the deal and made it a no-brainer to join.
*Our YMCA uses a sliding scale for the cost of membership. I am not sure if this is nationwide, but it’s worth it to check out because a Y membership might be more affordable than you think! We currently are not members anymore. My husband does have a low-cost membership to a local gym.
2. Swimming Lessons & Safety Classes
I say that our girls have never had good swimming lessons, and that is true.
Our 7-year-old has taken a week of swimming lessons each summer since she turned 3, but they were big group classes through our local recreation department; they were cheap, low-quality classes.
I used to scoff at the phrase “you get what you pay for,” but now I really believe it!
To our defense, at the time, all we could afford was a $30 class each year, but when she still couldn’t swim after three years of lessons, it was apparent that we needed to invest more money on private instruction.
All three of our girls are in private lessons this week, and we couldn’t be happier with what they are learning.
Learning to swim isn’t just an extracurricular or exercise–it’s a life-saving skill!
In addition, our two older girls are attending a one-week RAD Kids Camp. RAD Kids is a nationwide program that teaches safety skills–from stranger danger to bullying to gun and bike safety to appropriate touch and more.
Of all recreational activities that we could enroll our girls in, we felt like swimming and safety lessons were well worth the investment.
3. Clothes (for me)
I long prided myself on the fact that most of my clothes were second-hand, and even those that weren’t came from the clearance racks.
I took for granted that it would always be easy.
You see, I hate shopping–especially in the store (I much prefer online shopping!).
When I was between a size 2-6 (which I was before baby #3!), I could just run into a store, quickly find what I needed, and buy it off the rack without even trying it on.
My body is very, very different now. I have extra “padding” in quite a few areas. Plus, I am still dealing with a large diastasis that is very difficult to conceal (and if I don’t hide it, I look several months pregnant).
Although I was blessed with some awesome hand-me-downs from someone a few months back, I’ve also had to humble myself and purchase new clothes to fit my new body–new clothes that were not straight from the clearance racks.
Now, I know not everyone can afford brand new clothing–regardless of their size! If you cannot, then it’s definitely worth the time investment to spend several hours at a local thrift store trying on clothes to find what works for you.
But at this point in my life and work-at-home mom business, time is money. If I spend several hours wading through clothing that may or may not work for me, I am taking time away from the business that brings in an income for our family.
I love the idea of online consignment stores like ThredUp and Twice, but at this season in my life I am not willing to risk clothing from these stores not fitting my body. I’ve learned that I must try things on.
Now my kids? We totally buy most of their clothes on consignment!
4. A Big Family Trip
No, we’re not going to Disney World ;), but we are taking our kids on a significant family trip this summer.
We are paying cash for this trip, so while we are spending a lot on it, we are not going into debt. We have worked hard to make this years-long dream a reality!
We will be spending five weeks in Costa Rica.
The trip will be part language refresher (my husband and I both speak Spanish), part mission trip, and part vacation.
We are excited about exposing our children to a different language and culture from an early age, and we hope to make many memories as a family that our girls will never forgot.
I will be writing more about this trip in the coming weeks, and I covet your prayers for it.
I had a friend suggest I blog weekly updates from Costa Rica this summer and I would love to know if you are interested in hearing about it!
My husband is a natural giver. It honestly used to bother me that he liked to give away money so freely, but I now love that he has such a generous heart.
When we were living on a low income, we gave our tithe and a small monthly contribution to a missionary family. We had committed to sending them $30 per month before we were low income, and I can tell you that that $30 was a sacrifice to give for several years (but God continued to supply all of our needs!).
Since our income has increased, we have delighted in giving to adoption funds, sponsoring a widow, supporting our church building fund, and, finally taking on a Compassion Child (something we had desired to do for a long time)!
As our income increases, our goal is not to accumulate more but to give lavishly.
Are you a spender or a saver? What are you spending money on right now?
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I am so with you on the swimming lessons! My son was making very little progress in conventional swimming lessons. I finally invested in survival swimming lessons (private) last summer, and will do a refresher this summer as well.
We looked for a survival type class this year, especially for our youngest, but the one we were looking for wasn’t offered around here. We are pleased with what they are learning.
I think the important thing, as you said, is that they are quality, private lessons. Whether they’re the survival swim approach or the more traditional approach, having the more intensive private lessons is what will hopefully help kids get over the hump (kids like my son, anyway, who weren’t making good progress in group lessons).
You and your husband sound so similar to us. I’m the saver, and he’s the spender. We have only been married ten months, and I am already learning that his generous heart truly is an asset. Sometimes I really do need to just loosen up . . .
I love what you are spending money on . . . While not absolute necessities, they are absolutely beneficial to your growth as a family.
I’ll be praying for your trip to Costa Rica. Updates sound great 🙂
Thank you Melody! It can be a struggle but is also a blessing when we allow our God-given strengths to play out in our marriage. Thank you for your prayers!
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life
I really know what you mean about spending money on clothes. I have been able to find good name-brand clothes at Goodwill for several years now. But what often ended up happening is that I would buy more than I needed because of the low price or buy something because I mostly liked it. I’m beginning to understand now that the value of having quality clothing that fits really well and which I love. It’s worth the investment, even if the transition to spending a little more can be hard to swallow.
Also, I’d love to hear about your time in Costa Rica. It’s so great that you are able to go and that your girls will be able to experience it all with you.
I think swim lessons are a great idea! I always wondered if I would enroll my kids but I’m starting to realize how important it is. Thanks for sharing!
I do think it is so important. Even as an adult, I am not a confident swimmer, and I want my children to be.