If I Didn’t Care About Frugality, Here’s What I Would Buy

Frugality is a bit of a love hate thing for me. I have to do it to stay on track with my budget but it often means saying no to ordinary things I want.

Before I begin I have to mention that this is my last week with Frugal Rules. I’ve really enjoyed my time here, but needed to free up some time for a new freelance gig I recently landed, which is something I’ve been looking for for a long time. Thank you all for reading my posts, commenting, and sharing. I truly appreciate it! And thank you John for this great opportunity.

This past month I’ve been off my game, big time! In addition to things I needed to buy, like new tires and an oil change for my car, there were mishaps that came up (like a cracked windshield when I traveled to Utah), but also bad spending choices (like buying some clothes and shoes at an outlet mall).

Now really in the grand scheme of things, what I bought was not that much. I really did need a new pair of sandals because my last pair were so worn down I was having foot pain, but I only bought a couple skirts and tops and two other pairs of shoes. And I swear I’m not even a shoe person. No big deal. Nothing fancy. No high end designer stuff.

But to me, in my current financial situation, it IS a big deal to live frugally…that is if I ever want to stay on track with my personal and professional goals. Sacrifice: Ain’t she a bee-otch?

if I didn’t care about frugality…


After the crack in my windshield (post shopping), I was kicking myself and moping around that I had made a bad decision, and had kind of a poopy pants disposition all week. And on more than one occasion I went off into fantasyland about what it would be like if I no longer cared about being frugal.

Lots of people play the game: what would I do if I had a million dollars? It’s a fun game of course, but most of us will never receive a windfall of that amount. Most of us, if we are smart or lucky, will have the million for retirement, and thats just to live kind of the same life we are living now.

So this game is a bit different. This one is thinking about all the semi-realistic wants I have right now, that if I did not care about frugality I would buy. This means spending money within the exact same financial state I’m in right now, (i.e., it means not saving money and more than likely going into debt).

…This is What I Would Buy


The Apartment – I’d give my apartment a serious makeover. I’d hire a cleaning person for the day and get a professional carpet cleaner. Scratch that second thing. I’d rip up the carpet and add hardwood floors. I’d buy some new furniture, and definitely new bedding since I’ve had the exact same sheets and quilt for over 10 years.

Clothes – I would love to revamp most of my wardrobe. I have plenty of workout clothes, but I seriously lack cute casual clothes. You know, the kind you wear on a date…which has been non-existent in my life as of…well, I don’t even want to say. I long to look a lot more stylish than I currently look.

Personal – I’d get a weekly massage, and a pedicure at least once a month. I like pretty feet.

Frugality is a bit of a love hate thing for me. I have to do it to stay on track with my budget but it often means saying no to ordinary things I want.

Work – I’d for sure hire an assistant. He/She would pick up the slack on all those little tasks that I have to do that eat up much of my time, letting me focus on the big picture items. I can imagine how much time I’d save by not having to schlep to the laundromat each week or the grocery store. I’d also be able to hire people to write articles so that I could grow my website.

Travel – I’d take one big international trip each year and several domestic trips, and attend conferences which focus on personal and professional development.

Gadgets – I’d buy more video gadgets which would add to the production value of the videos I’m making.

So why would I bum myself out by making a list of things which may be out of reach? Because there is nothing wrong with wants (gasp!)! I just put it all out there what I’d like in my life, so now I can begin to prioritize them, and perhaps stay focused with financial goals, so that I can make some of them happen. For instance, right now I’d like to target my work wants first and foremost. It’s all about priorities, and making your budget work so that some of these things can actually happen.


What are some of the things that want in your life right not, but may be tough to come by with your current budget? How do you live frugally day in and day out? What would be at the top of your ‘want’ list if you could have anything you wanted?

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Tonya Stumphauzer

Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. Visit her blog Budget & the Beach!


  • I would have my house cleaner come once per week, get my nails and toenails done frequently, take vacations to the Maldives, and buy a nicer car.

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      Oh a regular house cleaner would be heavenly, although when I’ve hired them in the past for random deep cleaning, I always end up “pre-cleaning” anyway.

  • Definitely a house keeper… and have a car payment 🙂

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      A housekeeper would be very nice. At this point I’d settle for a washer/dryer IN my apt complex.

  • 1) A cleaning lady
    2) Remodel our bathroom shower

    Neither gets me closer to my financial goals,but wouldn’t it be fun not to worry about cleaning and having a nice pretty shower that works perfectly. I do eventually plan on having both. I think wants are important to keep focus on meeting your goals so you can spend on non-necessities without feeling guilty.

  • I think it would be new clothes and shoes, regular haircuts (haircuts are too pricey where I live currently to justify regularly, since my hair is long anyway), more items to make my new apartment feel like home and a nice new camera. Nothing too crazy comes to mind, and I’m actually planning on buying most of these eventually — other than the camera, which I may request for Christmas. But if I weren’t frugal, I think I would have bought them already!

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      It’s funny because I bought a nice camera earlier this year and it was the best investment I ever made in my business. It has led to SO much more work than if I didn’t have one. I hope you get all those things!

  • Revanche says:

    I just did this list with a friend! Some of mine: regular masseuse/physical therapist, reliable childcare, a house with a bit more elbow room and land.

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      A regular massage would be just do heavenly. I LOVE them! A regular facial would be nice too!

  • Carolyn says:

    I have been frugal most of my life , was seriously ill ( almost died ) last summer ! All the little things I wanted -not needed were always back burning for me ! I bought for my children , grandchildren and even my husband , but not for myself ! I realize life is for the living and not put yourself in debt ! If you want something put it on the list and don’t ignore yourself , I like nice soaps – bought them . Spent over 120 days out of my home , hospitals and rehab , not a good hairbrush , stupid , simple things that make life better ,I did not have ! Not being crazy but now making my life more enjoyable …finally !

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      I think those little touches do add to the quality of life and if that makes you happy, that’s so awesome! I’m glad you are doing better!

  • Sarah says:

    Definitely new clothes for me and my two daughters! I would also just live a bit more free…you know, eat lunch out when I felt like it, go out to dinner, buy a few home decor items…just not worry about money. I wouldn’t upgrade my life in a huge way, but I would love to have more discretionary income.

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      I think that’s just it…just having more discretionary income so you/I didn’t have to think about what you can and can’t spend money on all the time! At least that’s my situation. But the trade off is being able to work on MY business.

  • Now that I’ve had a taste of outsourcing, I can see that if I had more funds I’d definitely outsource even more. Right now I have a 2x/month cleaning lady and I have a gal on staff for my blog that I’d love to give more work too so I can do more of the big picture stuff like you mention too. Ugh! If only money was unlimited 🙂

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      no kidding! Outsourcing is sometimes so worth it. Especially if that frees up your time to work on things that are your strengths. Even if you don’t make as much or you have to cut your budget in other areas, I’m finding out it’s worth it!

  • I would definitely travel more if I wasn’t worried about frugality. I didn’t travel out of this country until I was 24 years old, and I don’t want that to be the case for my son. We are working on travel hacking as a means to accomplish this goal without breaking the budget. I too would also love regular massages. I got one about a year ago after helping a friend move, and it made a huge difference for someone like me who is on the computer all the time. I wish I could indulge more, instead I take baths or sit with my heating pad.

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      I was 29! Much too late! I seriously love massages too. There is a place practically across the street where I can get one for $45 which is great….it’s always SO tempting.

  • I think a funner way to approach this topic is the whole “if I had x million dollars, what would you buy?” I think about this sometimes when I play the lottery (don’t judge! I only play when it’s past a quarter billion….). If I suddenly had millions of dollars I would do a $100k-$200k makeover of our current home – perhaps more with a second story expansion….

    • Tonya Stumphauzer says:

      Yes I like that game too, but since I don’t have a million…lol! I love seeing people’s B&A pics when they remodel their home…so in case you do ever win/make that million…I’m into house porn. 🙂

  • Jason B says:

    I would travel more. I would also have property in Atlanta, Southern California, Miami and Washington D.C.

  • Melissa says:

    Tonya, I love this! I have a long list of stuff I’d buy if I weren’t frugal, but I don’t mind because looking at that list makes me prioritize. It’s like, yeah, regular massages would be sweet, Melissa – so what are you going to do about it?

    Sometimes I make more than I anticipated and I do throw in some nice treats, like a massage every 6 months. It’s nice to feel like you’re splurging, even though you’re doing it in a fairly reasonable way 🙂

  • Meghan says:

    I’d buy a couch, a desk, a chair, and a printer. I’d also go ahead and go to the grocery store. I am making myself eat everything in the house before I go buy more.

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