Miscellaneous Spending The Frugal Handbook

TFH #34: Happy Money

Do you set aside a portion of your salary or budget on things that make you happy?

As we try to become more financially responsible, we often end up looking for ways to reduce our expenses.

While cutting out things that don’t particularly make us happy is fine, and in fact, beneficial, this line can get blurry at times.

How much joy must something bring us in order for it to be important enough to keep?

Or, conversely, how little joy must something bring us in order for us to decide to cut it off?

I think that if something gets you excited and you can’t stop thinking about it, or if you’re constantly looking forward to something, that’s probably worth spending money on.

Of course, such spending must be done responsibly – within reasonable and affordable limits.

Setting aside a portion of your salary or budget every month can help with this, though personally, I don’t do that.

If you feel indifferent or merely lukewarm towards something, you can probably afford to live without it.

The crucial thing is to remember to allow ourselves to spend happy money – money that is spent on things that make us happy and that are important to us.

This ideology is so simple, yet is often forgotten.

Recently, I too had to remind myself of this when contemplating a purchase.

I took part in the funding of a Kickstarter project for a board game that I enjoy.

They were releasing a new season of the game, and the project started just weeks after I had discovered the game.

The new season boasts new characters, new expansion sets, and new mechanics – which are all exciting in their own right.

Also, I had never taken part in a Kickstarter project before even though I’ve gotten into the hobby of board games for a few years now.

It was perfect timing, and it got me excited – I knew that I had to be a part of this.

However, the project was fairly expensive.

The core game was already 65 USD – a much higher price than I’ve paid for any other game.

To be fair, the core game comes with a huge set of Kickstarter-exclusive rewards, which are a token of appreciation for helping fund the project.

So the price of 65 USD is arguably reasonable, though the fact remains that the starting price is higher than all my other games.

Even the expansion sets were in the range of 30 – 45 USD each, which is usually the cost of an entire game.

As excited as I was about everything in the new season, I decided to be minimalistic and just get the core game + 1 expansion, which totalled 100 USD or ~135 SGD.

Now, my partner saw how excited I was about this project and decided to get them for me as a gift, so the 100 USD came out of her pocket (thank you!).

But the cost doesn’t stop here.

In this Kickstarter project, shipping fees are calculated separately, and there is an option to add on more items while paying for the shipping.

The shipping cost for the core game, the Kickstarter rewards, and the 1 expansion came up to a whopping 50+ USD or ~70 SGD.

Given the chance to add on more expansions, I spent a long time thinking about whether it was worth it.

There was 1 other expansion that I was quite interested in, but it cost 50 USD including shipping – yet another 70 SGD.

At this point, I hesitated for a long time.

In my opinion, 70 SGD for an expansion set is quite expensive.

Including the 135 SGD that my partner spent, this puts the total cost at ~200 SGD, which is a lot of money to spend on a game.

And, the content that I’d be getting from what I had already purchased is probably more than enough to keep the game feeling fresh for hours and hours of gameplay.

Strictly speaking, I didn’t need this additional expansion set at all.

It was a tough decision, but I eventually decided to get it for myself.

The main reason is that I seldom spend much money buying things I want.

Most of the time, I only buy things that I need or things that I want but are heavily discounted.

I felt that it was reasonable to spend some money on myself even though I didn’t need it.

Furthermore, it’s not like the price was ridiculously high that it would strain my budget – 70 SGD is well within my means to afford given my frugal lifestyle.

Also, the expansion set was a Kickstarter-exclusive set only – that is, it will not be sold in retail, which means this was the only chance to get it.

I didn’t want to regret not buying it, so I pulled the trigger.

This means that the total cost of the game, 2 expansion sets, the exclusive rewards, and shipping came up to 200 USD, or 270 SGD, split 50-50 with my partner.

This is my biggest purchase ever for board games, and it’s probably more than what I’ve spent in total on all my previous board games.

But at the end of the day, it’s a purchase I’m happy about – I’m excited and I can’t wait for it to be delivered in early 2024.

You can bet that when it’s finally delivered, I’ll be feeling like a kid on Christmas morning.

To me, that is 270 SGD well spent.

What do you spend your happy money on? Let me know in the comments below!

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