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September 12, 2016

Thrifting to Splurge

I’m a huge foodie. I love cooking and eating delicious things made with care and skill. Every now and then I see absolutely nothing wrong with dropping $100 on a multi-course dining event (as long as booze is included). This may surprise many of you who are used to reading all about my tips and tricks for saving money through thrifting and DIYing.

One time I tried to talk a friend of mine into joining me at such an event. She said no, explaining that she didn’t want to spend that much on one meal. Fair enough, but c’mon! It was well worth it.

I stand by my life choices.

I stand by my life choices.

“I feel like you’re judging me, but I’m an incredibly frugal person,” I said defensively.

“No…you’re not. You are absolutely not,” said my friend (and best critic), Erin.

“Here’s the thing. Yes, you buy all your clothes at thrift stores and are ridiculously cheap about buying furniture. But you travel and you eat out a lot. Those things aren’t cheap,” she explained.

My bedroom from 2013. It’s not pathetic. It’s minimalistic.

It’s true. I rarely spend more than $1 on an item of clothing, and I will spend months scouring antique malls and thrift stores for the perfect (and perfectly priced) end table. I do all my own yard maintenance and at least try to perform whatever home repairs need to be done myself.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “A penny saved is a penny earned”. For me, a penny saved on something like clothes or paying someone to do something you can do yourself is a penny you can now spend on fun things like original art, concerts or a weekend trip to the mountains. 🙂


or fantastic seasonal cocktails!

Everyone budgets their money differently, but for this SIOD (single income, one dog) gal, thrifting a new top for $1 rather than buying a similar one for $20 new means I can still look fabulous while sipping my Motor Supply cocktail (and with a little less guilt). It means I can use my $3 skillet to sear a tasty steak.  It means I can feel completely justified in treating myself to a pumpkin spice latte the size of my head after thrifting a new pair of fall boots for $10.

By saving more on material objects, I can enjoy more of the things I love, like good food and travel. 


First PSL of the season!

You get my drift.

So while the experiences I splurge on may seem like ridiculous expenses to the untrained eye, they bring me way more joy than a new living room set. To me, they’re worth it.

Matchy-matchy isn't my style anyways. :)

Matchy-matchy isn’t my style anyways. 🙂


  1. Life is all about balance. Also, the events you go to help keep the money (and the business) in the community. I think frugality is putting your money where it is important (in your life). You dine out, I’ve always loved to cook at home. I would spend more on furniture whereas you would save on it. But we both have a passion for sustainability which is why we thrift and DIY our hearts out.

  2. Agreed. You find ways to invest in your passions and life experience- making memories! Good one Jillian!

  3. You’re a richer person for spending on experiences rather than things. We would all do well to embrace that lesson – even just a little bit. And I totally agree, I’ll pass on the matchy matchy.

  4. Save where you can, so you can splurge on what you love. Makes sense to me.

  5. We are all different and have different priorities – it’s about balance and about feeling good about yourself and what you do. Enjoying yourself with time out or time exploring makes your life richer so keep on doing it.
    Erin probably has different priorities and different ways of enjoying and enriching her life – c’est la vie huni!
    I would rather spend on art supplies myself lol! It’s what makes this world so wonderful and so diverse. Do what makes you happy! xx

  6. Experience over things is valid. Question is do you ‘reduce’ as well as recycle. Is a bargain good?

  7. Someone (ok, probably a lot of someones) said you can’t take it with you, so why not enjoy those experiences you love and surround yourself with things that give you joy instead of spending on all the ‘things’ that others say you should have? To live within our means most of us have to compromise somewhere. I love to cook, but a well made meal and delicious consisting of things I couldn’t construct myself is worth the $. I no longer buy cheap shoes because my feet suffer; I buy fewer pairs now but they are GREAT pairs that I love to wear and that last me well. For the first time in my life I own a new (rather than used) car, but I salary sacrifice it for the tax advantage. It’s all about balance and doing what works for you 🙂

  8. Your friend is right, but oh well. You value experiences over the material. No shame in that at all.

  9. Your logic makes sence to me! I LOVE the thrill of the hunt! I have my own style, love my finds of textiles, clothes, treasures and books. I am fortunate my husband loves to cook for me, family and friends and he is a fabulous cook! We spend money on family/friends parties (homemade) music, concerts (high quality community based orchestras) Art, movies (film society) We never watch commercial tv so we
    are not bombarded by advertisements of what we “need to be happy”. We have a 10 yr old car, lived in same house 36 yrs, have the same 2nd hand furniture furniture we love for 40 yrs, with the odd find added occasionally. No credit card debt, we live within our means, we are happy and have a very good life.

  10. Yes! Everyone has different splurges and I don’t like to judge anyone’s but my own. I do spend more on clothes than you do (because I can’t sew, which is my own fault and kind of pathetic), but I shop sales or secondhand. I travel a fair amount, but almost never pay for flights because I hoard frequent flyer miles (I have one of those credit cards that gives miles) and I try to stay with people I know (free) or find a reasonable airbnb/vrbo. I don’t go out to a lot of fancy dinners, but do spend more on some food at home to make meals I love. Anyhow…blah blah blah…but I loved this post and your splurges sound delicious and they support local people!

  11. I LOVE you Jill! You are an inspiration.