Go ahead and splurge a little

Published 8:57 pm Thursday, July 13, 2017

By Nathan Rice

We were on our way to beautiful Buckingham, where the kids would enjoy a weeklong camp at the Virginia District Nazarene Campground. I decided to add to the fun before they even reached the campgrounds, so we stopped at a mini-golf and go-kart place on the way.

I could tell the go-karts were a hit as soon as they started going around the course. Their time on the course went quickly and the worker called them in to park. They leaped out of the go-karts and quickly made their way to me in the viewing area.

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“Can we go again,” they asked. “Please?”

A receipt for our mini-golf game and their go-kart race was still in my pocket, and my credit card was still processing charges for gas and meals on the trip. My check for their weeklong camp of games, fishing, swimming and more had not yet cleared, but I knew that, too, would soon be hitting my account.

I glanced at the price board to see how much additional tickets would cost, and I looked at their faces eagerly anticipating my reply. Knowing they are only young once, and the magic of summer doesn’t last forever, I replied, “Okay. One more time.”

The following statement may sound strange coming from a financial services manager, but sometimes it is okay to splurge.

Life isn’t always easy. There are times we need to do something a little special for ourselves, and there are times it is OK to let the kids go one more time around the go-kart track.

We must be careful, however, when we do make the decision to splurge.

We should not be splurging if the money we are spending will cause us to be short on funds for necessary items such as food, gas, electricity or water. A moment of “I deserve this” or “They deserve this” can lead to difficult times down the road if we are not careful.

Splurging should only be done when we know the money we spend will not destroy our ability to continue paying for the necessities of life. The power company will not accept go-karting as an excuse for not paying the bill.

We must also be aware of where to draw the line. Splurging can quickly go from a special treat to a wasteful expense that hurts our overall financial health.

While it is okay to spend a little extra from time to time, we must never lose our awareness of how much we are spending. Know your limit and remain aware of what you are spending.

Lastly, we can feel more confident spending a little extra when we have been careful with our funds throughout the year. If we follow a budget, plan for the future and save for the unknown, we can occasionally splurge but know that we’re still on track with our financial goals.

I encourage you to enjoy this summer. Take the kids on a vacation and let them go around the track one more time. Just don’t lose track of your spending, and make sure you haven’t put yourself in a jam upon your return home.

Have fun, but remember the big picture of your financial health.

Nathan Rice is the Relationship Manager of the Downtown Suffolk branch of ABNB Federal Credit Union. He is a Hampton Roads native and can be reached at nrice@abnb.org.