Quality of Life Purchases

Jacob Allred

My wife and I are tightwads frugal. We’ve managed to save a good chunk of money by cutting a lot of the “extras” out of our lives, such as frequent trips to the movies and eating out on a regular basis. Occasionally we have friends or family imply (or sometimes outright say) that we aren’t enjoying our lives, and that we are missing out on life.

Instead of going over the virtues of frugal living or the feeling of safety we have in knowing that we have money in the bank, I’d like to talk about what I call quality of life purchases. These are purchases that, as the name implies, improve our quality of life. For example:

So what are the criteria for a quality of life purchase?

  1. Long-term. It is hard to say something is changing your life if it only lasts for a few minutes. A good quality of life purchase lasts for more than a day, a week, or even a month.
  2. Quality. Lets say you have the option of paying $20 for something that you expect to last 6 months, or $100 for a similar item that you expect to last 5 years. Which do you think is the better deal and will ultimately leave you happy with your purchase?
  3. Improvement. Whether it makes you smarter, builds your confidence or self-esteem, or makes your life easier, a quality of life purchase has to improve your life.

So yes, my wife and I are cheap. We don’t watch every movie at the theater. We don’t eat at Ruby Tuesday every week. But we are happy, and I suppose that is all that matters.