Luxury is an experience, not an expense

The message that luxury is a frivolous and excessive expense is a tale that many frugal bloggers preach to FI followers. The old frugal folklore that luxury is the evil child of consumerism and the fodder to greed reins supreme in FI territory. There are articles upon articles telling readers to focus on the importance of cutting down on excessive lifestyle expenses in order to maximise their savings ratio and reach FI in record timing.

To put it simply, this message sets one up for FI failure.

For me, frugality is as much about minimalism and seeking quality not quantity as it is about saving money. It is about simplifying your life and focusing on goal-driven actions which are carried out with intent. Both go hand in hand and complement each other in spirit and aim.

Being frugal should not feel like punishment; the more frugality feels punitive the less likely you will adopt those frugal habits willingly and will not adopt frugality as part of your lifestyle. Frugality must be part of a greater goal which drives you towards your goal of FI.

This is the reason I will never give up my luxurious habits. I love good quality clothes and enjoying a glass of wine here and there. I can still enjoy these luxuries while being frugal – I focus on substitution instead of deprivation, that is, changing the method by which they are enjoyed. Instead of going out to bars or brunch, I now enjoy a glass of wine or cook at home. If I want good quality clothes, I now thift-shop in areas where I know designer pieces are donated, sometimes with the tag still attached.

Finding the core reason behind your purchasing behaviour is the centre of changing your lifestyle. It is about questioning the habit-loops which may have be ingrained for years and questioning why do something out of habit.

For example, think about how often you buy take-away coffee. I thought about what my actions and feelings were every time I bought a cup of coffee and realised my habit of buying a coffee had nothing to do with coffee itself! Usually I would buy coffee to escape the office, have a quick chat and walk with a colleague, de-stress from work or to have a warm drink on the brisk morning walk to work. Now I make coffee at home in a re-usable take-away mug or chat to a colleague in the office kitchen instead of head out. Same trigger, same reward, different habit.

Do you agree? I would love to hear your opinion in the comment box below.

xx Miss Piggy


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Girl, preach it. Lately, I’ve come across so many articles dogging on luxury. About how “buying expensive stuff is stupid,” or about how you’re a “mindless consumer trying to keep up with the Joneses.” To be honest, I think people who say this have very little experience with real luxury. It’s easy to criticize something you don’t know. They don’t know that some people just value quality (like me), and that’s part of who they are. If you value quality, then getting all your stuff from Target just isn’t going to cut it.

    Like you, I find ways to get my luxury fixes for less, and I’m super cheap about the stuff I don’t care about. That way I have more money to pay for the things I DO care about. It’s that simple.

  2. Miss Piggy says:

    Hear hear girlfriend – we’re on the same wavelength.

    As much as I love following frugal personal finance blogs, there is a strong sentiment that buying luxury is another form of irrational exuberance.

    It’s amazing that some people have that view when it comes to designer clothes or products. I find it comes down to having a preconception that it’s only accessible to the wealthy or a show of elitism however they don’t breaking down the cost v benefit of investing in quality and longevity. Or instead, spending money on many cheap thrills which cost multiples more than one good quality product.

    I approach the way I buy my clothes the same way I approach investments; they need to be strong, sound and have underlying value so to reap me dividends over the years.

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