Initially I gave one main reason.
Sharpening the saw, a phrase used in the book "7 Habits for Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey, teaches us that if we take the time to care for ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally/socially, and spiritually we will be more effective individuals.
I see it as a form of health insurance. It has become more common for people to need medication to function from day to day. I'm not saying medicating is bad, it's not, I've just found other ways to function. "Me time" is my medication. That means I spend money to purchase craft supplies to feed my innate need to create, BUNCO prizes to participate in a monthly get together with other ladies, manicures at the local beauty school, and so on.
I always come away from "me time" feeling ready to tackle my "must do's" and seem to be more productive too. Simply said investing money in myself makes me last longer.
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I also think that it is super easy to become so wrapped up in being frugal that I miss out on creating great relationships and memories. It is certainly possible to spend little if any money to create memories and strengthen relationships, but occasionally doing something special that costs more than you might normally spend can be a nice thing.
Anyway, I kept thinking and thinking about how people spend their money. It's clear that everyone does it differently. What we think to be a perfectly legitimate purchase, one we've carefully considered and determined to be worthwhile, may be frivolous and extravagant to another person. We all evaluate our needs and wants differently. What we consider a "good value" might be not be to others.
There have been numerous times when friends or family don't want to do an activity or eat out where we planned because they can't afford it, but will later spend money on gas to go on trips, purchase electronics, go on shopping sprees etc. To me, it's not always an issue "we can't afford it" but rather an issue of priority. Like I said before, everyone spends differently, and that's ok.
Occasionally the "we can't afford it" phrase does make for an awkward moment. In my mind, the person may as well be saying "I can't believe you are spending your money on THAT!" It makes me think I'm somehow not as frugal or wise in my spending as the other person. I know that's not the case, just how I perceive it...probably out of guilt ;)
I too have been that person who says "we can't afford it" but I think I may just start to say "we are saving our money for something else right now" so as to avoid unwanted awkwardness.
In the end, to each their own. It's not my place to judge what anyone does with their hard earned money, but to live in a way that honestly represents what I believe in- frugality and self-reliance.