Rationalize away the future

Every penny a person spends money on has some value – to them at least. Even a $5.00 cup of coffee, a tattoo or some souvenir that will be forgotten upon arrival home has fleeting value.

How we spend money is emotional, trying to do the best for our child and having a pet among the most emotional. Eight years ago I bought a car I didn’t need, but it was an emotional purchase I has wanted for over fifty years.

A blogger who prides herself on frugality, buying clothes and toys at thrift shops, heating with wood cut from their land, etc. recently posted the family had acquired a rescue dog. Follow are some comments from her blog.

Me Your new puppy just added to your budget, but you know that already. On average Americans spend $1,000 or more each year on their cats and dogs and some people have more than one. I love dogs, cats not so much as I’m allergic, and a pet can be a great companion, but I don’t think they fit into a frugal lifestyle so much.

Comment Ahhh but frugality is saving on some aspects that many others spend on (such as fancy phone plans, store-bought toys and gifts) to be able to spend intentionally on others that bring joy (pets, few meals out, charities)… or at least that seems to be how most who consider themselves frugal

Comment I never think about the “cost” of our family dog. He is such a gift to our family and also a member of the family, so his expenses are just part of having an additional member of the family. He is also a really cheap therapist – one big dog snuggle and all is right in the world.

Me Seem like one expense offsets the others.

Comment But if you’re an animal lover, it’s 100% worth it 🙂

Comment Oh yes they do, especially if it is just frugality and not out and out poverty. Poverty status would be difficult for pet ownership but even that can be done perhaps with a tiny pet. The love, laughs and companionship and health benefits are all worth it.

See, it’s always worth it‼️ Always a way to justify spending and that’s the trap. Don’t get we wrong there are things we just need to do, we need some fun, some joy in our lives and much of that does require spending money. The trick is to keep the right balance, to not lose sight of priorities. And, thinking long term means living within our means.

  • Save first – first an emergency fund and then investing for retirement
  • Make sure necessities are covered – all forms of insurance included
  • Don’t charge credit cards beyond what can be paid in full each month
  • Spend what’s left anyway you want to

If there is nothing left, your spending or income must change because you can’t support your lifestyle. You must look at those things you previously rationalized 😢


  1. An interesting discussion on a complicated topic. The ending is what I guess is the best advice, feel free to spend only what is left after the necessary bases are covered.
    It made me think this morning of all the stuff in our closets and basement that we have spent thousands upon thousands on and will probably be tossed or donated when the wife and I are gone. A lot of it must have had some importance in years past but I can’t think of what it was that made us buy it. The money spent could have been saved and passed down to the offspring or donated but I have a feeling they would use it to accumulate a pile of stuff that would have no significance over time. That’s why I say it’s a complicated topic.


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