How to Justify a Splurge (It’s a Skill)

As anyone who knows me will attest, I LOVE a good deal. Although the break in the price helps, for me it’s more about the thrill of the hunt — and the story! Finding something I genuinely like at a price I’m excited about just makes things more interesting, as far as I’m concerned.

That said, I’m also a firm believer in the value of a good splurge. While what’s spurge-worthy can be highly subjective, a truly spectacular piece can elevate an entire space, save you time, enhance a room’s function, and/or increase in value over time. When you’re deciding where to splurge, here are a few things to consider:

Do I LOVE it? A strong emotional reaction to a piece of art or a personal connection — like to the dresser that reminds you of the one in your great-great Aunt Bea’s guest room — is hard to find and even harder to quantify. If you truly love something, if it elicits memories, makes you smile or makes your space feel more personal, it may well be an excellent investment in your home.

Is it likely to appreciate over time? While most things we buy for our homes will depreciate, some items will actually increase in value over time. Fine art, antiques, rugs and iconic original furniture, as well as some china, crystal and silver sets can all be good investments if you are knowledgeable about what you’re buying, the condition of the object and the current and projected future demand for the item(s). I’m no expert on this subject, but if it’s of interest to you there are a number of good resources out there to help you make informed buying decisions on this front!

Is it likely to improve the future resale value of my home? Even if you don’t plan to move anytime soon, your home is a big investment. When you’re contemplating enhancing it with features such as custom millwork, new floors, built-in cabinetry, new countertops, an open-concept space or even a swimming pool, it’s always smart to consider whether this investment will help or hurt you should you decide to sell in the future. It may surprise you to learn that not everything will increase your resale value; in fact, in very few scenarios will you see a return rate of 100+%. You may decide to make these changes for your own enjoyment anyway, but it’s always wise to do a little research or consult a real estate expert before you begin so you can make an informed decision and allocate resources appropriately.

Is it based on a new technology? New tech can be exciting … at least, for the first few months. These days it seems inevitable that newer, faster, shinier models are always on the horizon, and what is currently new can quickly fall out of date. Of course, we can’t ignore technology entirely — and it’s totally fun to be the first person you know to try the latest and greatest “thing” — but if something is based on a brand-new technology, it may be wise to give it six months before you purchase. Often that time will either reinforce your need for the item, surface issues with the first iteration, or allow competitors to enter the market, giving you even more options and often better pricing on the gadget that’s piqued your interest.

Will it enhance my life? It’s almost always worth splurging on the things that will truly enhance your life. If you love to make souflees, perhaps that steam oven really is meant for you. If your morning java or an evening brew is what makes your day, maybe an espresso machine or home kegerator is more your speed. Your thing is your thing — if your budget can handle it, you do you!

There you have it — five things to consider the next time you’re on the fence about a purchase (or need to justify a splurge to your “better” half). To recap, a purchase is generally worthwhile when it meets one of two criterion:

  • It’s a smart financial decision (an investment that will increase the value of your home or itself appreciate over time). In our last two homes, for example, we installed SubZero refrigerators in our kitchens. They’re a great product, but I still found it hard to justify spending upwards of $15k on a box to hold my leftovers. However, we knew that from a resale perspective, new home buyers in our area expected to see a SubZero fridge as part of the appliance package. To play it safe, we stuck to the standard and found it did seem to make a difference when we ultimately moved.
  • It makes your life measurably easier — or just truly makes you happy. While I love stretching a dollar, sometimes there’s a special piece that just calls to you. Original art, beautiful lighting, quality bedding and pretty hardware are available at a variety of price points — but sometimes you fall in love and, well, there’s no going back. If it makes you smile on a daily basis, there’s also value in that!

Whether you’re deciding with your head or your heart, I hope these tips help you navigate your next big purchase. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear how you decide whether an item is worth the splurge!

And stay tuned — I’ll write more about how to get the look for less, which is really just the other side of this coin, soon 😉

2 thoughts on “How to Justify a Splurge (It’s a Skill)

  1. Thanks for the very informative information, Laura. Hope the new house is coming along well. Can’t wait to see more pictures. To one of your points, do you know of a professional who can do art appraisals?

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    1. Thanks so much, Debbie! Unfortunately I don’t know if an art appraiser, but will keep my eyes open. I spoke to someone in Toronto awhile back about a piece I had seen in an online auction, but I’ve unfortunately misplaced his info. Will definitely let you know if I locate it in this mess!! Hope you are well. Xo L.

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