Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Big (Distant Future) Splurge


One of the things that I've started to do with my budget is put aside bits of what's "extra" into a "shopping fund." Whenever I receive an infusion of funds (whether my last student loan disbursement this past spring or actual income), I first allocate it into my living expenses for the relevant time period and then into some of my other savings goals. There's usually just a bit left after that ($50-ish, maybe), and after I look over my work one more time to make sure I haven't forgotten anything, I put what remains into my shopping fund. It is small as of yet, only around $250 because so many other things take precedence, but it's likely to grow at a steadier rate once I start work.

It is completely premature to actually think about how I intend to use my shopping fund. I have quite a few other things to address in the next few years: taking a significant pay cut for a year while I hit pause on my corporate career to do an academic fellowship-thing, expenses associated with friends' weddings, the need to accumulate a more substantial emergency fund, and aggressive student loan repayment throughout. If I'm running a little short in one of the other categories, the shopping fund will certainly be the first thing I raid.

Still, a girl can dream, and when it comes to spending on my wardrobe, handbags remain one of my relative priorities. I think it's generally reasonable for a young professional to put aside money and eventually splurge a bit on a nice handbag if they're so inclined. I won't personally be comfortable with making the splurge I'm vaguely thinking of for a good four years or so, barring some unexpected windfalls. The upside is that I have ample time to reflect on what I want. Presently, my hypothetical tastes lean towards the practical and versatile. This is seen in my relative inability to break out of my medium-large work-appropriate black or navy purse rut (the Pinterest link is my entire actual bag collection except for one brown Lockheart hobo that I can't find a picture of online). Maybe my tastes will change, but for now, the top candidates for my eventual big splurge are the Mulberry Bayswater, a Givenchy Antigona, or a Givenchy Lucrezia.

Do you set aside a shopping fund for yourself? What big splurge do you eventually hope to make? 


  1. I don't have a shopping fund, just my savings account. But it does sound like a good idea. That way I wouldn't feel like I was spending money I might need for an emergency. Although it worked out so far :) I wouldn't mind owning a Céline box bag in the future, but I don't think I could ever justify it.

  2. I use a software called You Need a Budget (YNAB) to categorize my money because I like to really micromanage and allocate everything very specifically. (I think an Excel spreadsheet would serve the exact same function, but I'm not too savvy with Excel!) For the most part, it all sits in one high-interest savings account that I use for funds I don't plan to touch for at least a few months, though in YNAB I keep track of what amounts in that one account account are for my "emergency fund," "attending weddings fund," etc.

    I think the Céline box bag is gorgeous! Alas, some of these things can only be daydreams. (It can be kind of fun to think about splurge-y pipe dream items, even if I probably will never pull the trigger!)

  3. Ah yes - I probably have seen Givenchy or, at least, similar price-point stuff at places like TJ Maxx and Filene's Basement (before Filene's went out of business and before I knew much about brands). It is kind of interesting to see how brands come and go. I'm not even very patched into what is popular when it comes to handbags, outside of looking at photos of celebrities. Entirely new things will probably be on my radar by the time I'm thinking about an actual purchase!

    I've been using a software called You Need a Budget to allocate money to my different "funds." I think it might function a little bit like what you might be doing with Excel? The software is definitely just a fancy spreadsheet, but it makes it easy for me to visualize everything without struggling over how to set up a spreadsheet that will allow me to micromanage everything!

    Paying off the student loans will definitely be a very high priority for sure. It is a sobering thought, but almost every other financial goal in my life (except for putting a bit into my 401K every year and setting aside an emergency fund) will probably take second place to trying to repay everything in about 7 years (6 without the pay cut that comes with the fellowship). The interest rates on my loans (almost all federal/set by the US government) are quite bad for sure, ranging from a low of 5% to a high of 7.9% (one particularly bad year). I do need to keep them as federal loans in the short term rather than refinance them, alas, because I might need to take advantage of some form of income-based repayment during the fellowship.


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