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When Is It OK to Splurge?


It finally happened; we bought a TV! My husband and I have been watching our favorite TV shows on Hulu and we either rent movies from the library or stream oldies on Netflix. Dave’s laptop is a 17” Dell Inspiron he got in 2005 that still works pretty well. It’s large enough to watch a movie on and we really don’t mind it.

Why get a TV after three years without one?

I feel very fortunate to have wonderful parents who love to bless us with gifts. I felt guilty when we initially got married and they always brought something with them when visiting (like a dining table or a quality paper shredder). After three years I’ve since learned that my parents love giving gifts because they love blessing their kids; no strings attached. This past Christmas my parents gave us a gift of $500 and let us decide what to do with it. For the record, we don’t get that amount in gifts every year! Up until this point, every extra dollar I brought in from my multiple jobs went right toward our savings for a down payment on a home. Dave and I talked about our options of what to do with the money and we came to the conclusion to use this gift toward a TV.

Buying a new TV

We waited a couple months after Christmas because we heard that President’s Day was a great time (if not better) than Black Friday to get a TV because they are trying to get rid of last year’s products and promote the 2013 models. We went to Best Buy the Sunday of President’s Day weekend and talked to a really helpful employee. We explained that we got a gift of $500 and were willing to pay $100-$200 of our own money. We didn’t care to get a smart TV because we would rather have a slightly bigger TV with average picture quality than a smaller TV with great picture quality. For our price range and the size we wanted, we went with a 46” Insignia LED and a Sony Smart Blu-Ray player. Lucky for us, there happened to be a returned TV with an $80 discount. The employee opened up the box and we learned that nothing had been opened except for the actual box itself. Apparently someone returned it because they either wanted a larger or smaller TV; that was our guess at least.

Total Cost

After taxes, the “open box” discount, and a promotion with our rewards, we left with the TV and Blu-Ray player for $624, which means $124 out of our own pockets. We’ll likely never get cable but the Blu-Ray player allows us to stream Netflix movies. Unless we get a HDMI cable, we’ll still watch TV shows on our laptop because you have to subscribe to Hulu Plus in order to watch it on the TV.

Wisest Choice?

We don’t watch movies/TV shows any more than we did when we used the laptop. I know we could have put the money toward the house or bought a used TV for less, but we have been very intentional about saving for a home and decided to use this unexpected gift as a gift. When my dad gave me a convertible he bought and fixed up for my 21st birthday, we sold it within a month and put the profit toward student loans (FYI my dad was aware of and in favor of this decision). There is always some place better to put your money than into “fun” things, but we are content with our splurge.

How do you decide when/how much to splurge on “fun” expenses?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I think you made a smart decision! You can always get a cord to connect your laptop to the tv so you can stream Hulu through the tv. It’s a backdoor option that could help you.

    • That’s what I’m thinking. We still have a $25 gift card to Best Buy so it will likely go toward that purchase.

  2. I think there’s no easy rule for when to splurge, but you do need to do it sometimes. The occasional controlled “spurge” can be a great way to help keep yourselves on an otherwise tight budget.

    We recently were gifted with a tv we never would have bought ourselves. We actually invite people over to watch movies now. It’s become a way for everyone to enjoy a cheap and cheerful night in.

    • I agree. We are super-savers so this was a big deal for us. Dave’s excited we can rent Blu Ray DVDs from the library and I’ve already had a couple girls nights with wine and a movie 😉 I love some cheap, fun entertainment!

  3. I am glad you seem to have gotten a great deal and are happy with your purchase. Just fyi, high quality inexpensive HDMI cables can be found on Amazon.

    • Thanks, Lance. Since we never shop at Best Buy we might just use our $25 gift card toward this purchase but if Amazon has them way cheaper then we’ll definitely go with that option. Thanks for the tip.

  4. I’m okay with the occasional splurge, as long as it isn’t an impulse buy. I think impulse buying does more to hurt your finances than splurging does.

    • I agree with you. It helped that we had to wait two months after Christmas before we would get the TV so we had time to evaluate our decision instead of rushing out the day after.

  5. My wife and I have an account that we contribute to monthly until we max it out just for this purpose. We don’t believe in impulse purchases but if we ever have one we take the money out of that account. We never purchases something until we save up for it, so in this case we’re already saving up for it, we just didn’t know we were going to purchase it.

    • That’s a good plan! We’ve enjoyed ING because you can set up up to 25 “accounts” to help keep track of savings. We’ve got one account for emergencies, house, car replacement, and will likely open a few more as needed in the future. It helps us track how much money we have where.

  6. It is never bad to splurge a little after sacrificing fun for quite some time of spending on more important things and necessities. I also give small rewards for myself at times.

    • Great point. It’s great having the discipline to managing money wisely but it’s also wise to allow yourself some fun!

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