Guilty Money: How Much Do You Have To Spend Frivolously Before You Feel Guilty About It?

Over the weekend, I had an IM conversation with an old friend of mine in which he stated that he felt guilty about spending $50 on a video game. This led us into a lengthy discussion about frivolous spending and guilt, and we found that his guilt threshold is substantially higher than my own. I tend to feel I’ve wasted money each time I spend more than about $5, while he generally doesn’t feel guilty unless he spends $50 or more.

Very interesting, I thought, so I conducted an informal poll of several people asking how much they have to spend frivolously at once before they feel guilty, and what did I find? There was almost a direct connection between their debt levels and the amount of money they felt guilty spending on frivolous things.

In almost every case, the higher the debt level, the higher the “guilt money” level. This wasn’t surprising to me: people who spend more than they earn tend to have an inflated sense of how much spending money they have and thus their concept of what they can reasonably afford is inflated.

What is surprising is that in almost every case, the lower the dollar amount that triggers guilt, the better the financial shape of the person. This is completely independent of income, actually – I tend to be among the high end of the people I surveyed in terms of income, but my “guilt level” is actually much lower than most respondents (sadly, it used to be very high). The result? My financial ship is pointed in a very healthy direction.

What can be learned from this?

First, evaluate all of your individual frivolous purchases. Look at your last few credit card statements and identify the ones that made you feel guilty after the purchase. What sort of spending threshold do you have to cross before feeling guilty?

Next, concentrate on those purchases that are expensive enough to make you feel guilty. If the purchase is more than that dollar amount, ask yourself whether you really need it and think about the feelings that other such purchases have generated.

After that, focus on questioning your smaller purchases. If you don’t feel guilty buying a hardback book once a week, ask yourself whether or not that $20 each week might not go to spectacular use somewhere else. Remember, that’s $1,040 a year, enough to partially fund a Roth IRA or make a big chunk of an extra house payment.

Remember, guilt can be a powerful motivator if it’s actually used for positive change. Don’t try to ignore it, but welcome it as a method for your psyche to give feedback on the things you’re doing right – and the things you can improve on.

Just for kicks, how much money is your “guilty money”? If you want to, share it in the comments.

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  1. Peggy says:

    My guilt threshold varies, actually — if it’s books, $100 or more. But I quaked at spending $30 on a DVD set that I really wanted.

    On the other hand, I don’t buy many clothes (perhaps $500 per year total, for work clothes, underwear, T-shirts, jeans; add another $100 for shoes), and I rarely buy music or software…

    That said, we still save about 20% of our gross income — so naturally we’ll skew your results, sorry about that.

  2. Drew says:

    I feel guilty for every cent I spend. It’s terrible.

    With that said, I don’t have a cent of debt to my name.

  3. Jenny says:

    My guilt threshold for frivolous spending also varies (and it’s also higher for books). If I had to pick a generic, I’d say $15. For absolutely wasted or lost money, it’s around $5. On the other hand, I tend to feel guilty before I buy things, which generally leads to not buying them, at least not right then.

  4. Brett says:

    Mine is $20 and my wife’s is about $50. As you can imagine, this creates problems where she feels perfectly fine about spending $40 and it bothers me a bit. We don’t have any debt, but there are plenty of places where I would rather put the money.

  5. Ms. Clear says:

    That depends on what you mean by frivolous. Manicures are a frivolous expense that I enjoy getting and I shell out about $18 for my favorite French manicure, but only about once per month. I don’t feel guilty about that.

    Generally, my hubby and I don’t go shopping unless we need something or we are planning to spend for fun (it’s called the “spendies” around here). Probably happens no more than 4 times per year, so I don’t feel guilty about it.

  6. Amber Yount says:

    It normally takes me forever to decide to buy something if its more than $5…I just wish my husband was on the same level, because he always ccomes back at me with “but its only $50!!”

  7. Patrick says:

    What a set of great observations. When I think about it, my guilt level has changed through the years, and like Peggy mentioned, it can vary depending on what I spend the money on. I could actually see a large scale study done on this.

  8. Olivia says:

    $20, including tax (and tips, if applicable).

  9. Andrew says:

    I think the premise that the lower the guilt threshhold, the healthier the financial picture holds true to a point – then swings the other direction.

    I earn $700k per year, and my guilt level is generally at impulse purchases above $10,000. I say this because last week I bought a collectible drum kit from a popular band (I don’t even play drums) for $10,000 and felt somewhat guilty and considered some of the other things I could have bought.

    I think that once I surpassed the $300k salary point is when I hit this guilt threshold and I imagine most similar income earners are the same way. I know that a $10,000 impulse purchase sounds absurd to most people, but at the income I have been blessed with I still have plenty of room in the budget to give to charity and save. (I also live in the midwest, so my cost of living is relatively low)

  10. Robert says:

    I’m not sure I have a ‘guilt’ threshold. It is totally dependent on the circumstances. I have no debt, no kids, and a good job – so I could more than afford spending, I just don’t.

    Because I have lived for the past few years of spending very little outside the necessities and a few comforts (cable, occasionally eating out, etc), I have no problem when something comes up that I really want. But, when I buy this (most recently a wii), I cut back somewhere else. To get the wii, I cut back on extended cable to make up the difference in about a year.

    My wife and I have a budgeting system that allows for some of these pleasures. We have a set amount that we use for eating out every month. We have a set amount we can use when we travel to see family every month. We have an allowance that we get to spend on whatever – wii games, disc golf, work lunches. This allowance allows us to spend some guilty money yet not feel guilty about it.

    The short answer is I think about spending anything over $1. But if I spend it, I refuse to feel guilty about it.

  11. Jen says:

    There have been times in my life where my guilt threshold was $0. As in I felt guilty spending ANY money on anything that wasn’t urgently needed because of how tight the situation was. Then things got better income-wise and my threshold went up Up UP! I am a poster child for your ideas, because as my threshold rose, so did my debt level. (Or, is that vice versa?)

    As I’ve battled to get out of debt (just under 6k to go on my last non-mortgage debt) and as I’ve gotten more financially savvy, my threshold has gone back down. I still teeter-totter between the old “But I can afford to buy Starbucks every so often” and the “CAPPUCINO FACTOR ALERT! This should go on the debt snowball” mentalities.

    Truly, it’s exhausting to think like that! But I think other variables ultimately make the decision for me–what I’m buying, or who I’m buying it for etc. If I can justify it in a reasonable way, one that is in line with our goals and the program my husband and I committed to…then I spend and do so freely (and hopefully without guilt)! ;)

  12. Lisa says:

    My guilt threshold is about 5 bucks for most things, maybe a little higher occasionally. What’s more interesting is my husband’s guilt threshold. His is pretty low for most things, but if he can justify it by saying it’s a “treat” for me, he’ll spend almost anything. I have to set limits with him sometimes about buying stuff for me, and even argue with him to spend money on himself. He doesn’t usually want me to buy him presents for b-day and christmas – I have to convince him it’s ok.

  13. Lana says:

    I agree that I think it’s party circumstantial. $20 for a trendy t-shirt gives me pause; I’m much more likely to take $20 (of my allotted free-money) and spend it on dinner out with friends, a gift for someone’s birthday, or a book I’d need for longer than I could check it out from the library.

    I think certain expenses for certain people are difficult. I don’t buy a lot of DVDs or CDs but I know people who do. Buying something to “fix up” my apartment (shelves, paint) or make my life easier (a vacuum, closet organizers) comes easier to me than spending money on myself just to indulge.

  14. Imelda says:

    Like others, I don’t know that I have a set guilt threshold. I do know that I felt guilty today for spending $4.25 on ice cream.

    That being said, I have to question your assurance that this guilt is always a good thing, Trent. As someone who grew up fairly poor, I think that contributes to my own low guilt threshold. And that low threshold tends to cause some anxiety, even when it comes to necessary purchases. I’m not sure that lowering one’s threshold is a piece of advice to apply universally.

  15. Wendy says:

    $10 now, maybe $3 when i was a poor college student and the first year on the job. My husband definitely has a higher ‘guilt’ limit, but having a budgeted allowance for each of us has really made it easier for us to both feel comfortable with our joint money.

  16. After reading this, I did an informal poll of co-workers. Here are the results and my guesses on their net worth, based on my knowlege of the person.
    1) $150, $30k in debt (just out of college)
    2) $50 (but varies), $92k net worth
    3) $10, $100k net worth (secretary over 45)
    4) $250, $1 mil net worth (my boss)
    5) $50, $75k net worth

    I think there are a few factors.
    1) person with net worth near 0, whether negative or positive thinks a low ammount is too much.
    2) high net worth or high debt takes much more to feel bad about it
    3) ammount decreases with age (if net worth remains constant)

  17. Elaine says:

    It depends on what it is! Eating out for example, the guilt level is usually about $5 for lunch and $10 for dinner. But then on the occasional nice dinner out I don’t blink at $40.

    Bike-related expenses can get into three figures, but if I need whatever part it is, then I don’t feel bad. Yarn sometimes as well, but I’ll probably feel guilty if I don’t have a pattern in mind for it.

    I think it comes down to need, really (in a broader sense, obviously I don’t need a new suit to survive, you know?) but if I need something it doesn’t matter if it’s a pair of shoes or a wheelset or a haircut, I won’t feel guilty. If I already have a perfectly fine stapler or headset and I go out and buy another one because it was just so funny in Office Space, or HELLO IT’S A PINK HEADSET (I’m in love) or hell, a $2.50 DelMonte Real Fruit popsicle, I do feel a little guilty because I didn’t need it at all.

  18. It really depends on the value out of what I’m getting out of the frivilous purchase. If I can get a long time of fun out of a video game it fits well in a normal budget – even at $50. If I spend $200 on a PDA that I’ll use to save me money down the line (by using Skype in Aruba rather dialing long distance), I’m okay with that purchase. I only get guilty pangs when money is wasted. For instance if I could have prevented incuring a cost, but I didn’t. For instance, if I go the movies hungry and buy candy, that is guilty money spent, because I could have just eatten at home. Thus for me it’s not really a number, but the function.

  19. Laura says:

    For me it’s about $100, IF it’s truly frivolous. To put perspective on that though, I have no debt except the last $1300 of a car loan that will be paid off in October. (Yes I know it’s stupid to finance a car with a loan, but I bought it 5 years ago when I was 22 and didn’t know any better!)

  20. Dave says:

    This is -really- interesting Trent. I’d actually love to see a real study on this sometime because I think this could be a good indicator of financial IQ if you will. Look at cross correlation of guilt spending, debt levels, and income as well as the other standard factors.

  21. Um….I don’t get satisfaction from frivolous purchases. This has been an interesting article, because I realized that my spending is very much in line with my values.

    I’m not debt-free, but our total household debt, including mortgage, is just under $45,000. We save 30% of our gross income.

    If I buy too much fresh produce, and some goes bad, then the guilt kicks in.

    Purchases from the last week or so I guess I could choose to beat myself up over: two mocha slushees at Costco. A whole lotta good deal organic chocolate at another store.

    Wait. A rare dinner out with kids set me back $40, which I didn’t like, but due to circumstances had almost no way to get out of. I didn’t like spending that, and do feel a small amount of guilt. But that’s it for at least the last two weeks.

  22. Dave says:

    You shouldn’t feel guilty for spending money. After all, that’s what it’s for. Think about things before you buy them, and decide if it’s worth the cost.
    I could probably spend $5 a day on soda, but since I know at the end of the day I’d have nothing but an empty bottle, I don’t.
    Perhaps the only people who feel guilty about it are those who didn’t think it through in the first place.

  23. T. Davis says:

    I dare say you could be onto something with this theory, Trent.

    My problem is that I didn’t adjust my “guilt threshold” when my income dropped from $60k to darned-near zero (job layoff), so even though I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, and bring in very little money to offset that debt, my guilty feelings don’t kick in for purchases under $50!

    Well, at least until a few days ago when I came across this site and read your multi-part story of your trip back from the cliff. I’m happy to say that I STILL haven’t purchased that $10 candle! :)

    Here’s the really sad thing, and by saying this, I mean no disrespect to someone who is suffering through a real addiction problem, but sometimes I think my desire to spend money I don’t have must be what an addict feels when they want to quit but don’t have the willpower. Sounds crazy, I know, but sometimes I can’t think of anything else but buying some little trinket that I will completely ignore a few days later. The wanting is more fun than the having, I suppose.

  24. chazzman2000 says:

    I feel the same way as Robert above. I pay myself first and have a budget for my bills. I know I’m on a good financial track and don’t feel guilty about my purchases. Now if I decided not to pay myself first or throw away my budget…then I’d go crazy.

  25. Brian Auer says:

    I just did my own little poll with my wife and her friend. The friend has almost no debt and is very financially mindful. My wife is a shop-aholic and will spend money on herself every chance she gets.

    The mindful friend said $200, while my wife said $100. This was the opposite of my expectations. So basically, it turns out that my wife feels guilty about spending what she does, but she does it anyways.

    For myself, I feel bad about spending more than $30 or so on myself — even if it’s for things that I need, like work clothes and such.

  26. Brip Blap says:

    Eventually all of your money will be spent on something, if not by you by your inheritors. None of your money will be put up on the wall on display. It has to be spent at some point. Ideally some of it is spent now, on things that matter to you (kids, travel, books, etc.) and some is spent in the future when it’s withdrawn from your savings account. The point is that you should set boundaries for yourself, then relax within those boundaries. As Dave said above, as long as you have a good grasp on consequences you shouldn’t ever have to feel guilty.

  27. Jared says:

    A little off-topic, but I honestly believe that the guilt threshold is what leads people to do things like download illegal software and games – I’ve got my Xbox, and I hate the idea of paying $50 for a game i’ll play through once and then not touch.

  28. Rebekah says:

    Like many of the other posters, it depends on the purchase. I only buy clothing on clearance, and only what I need. (Unfortunately, I’m between sizes, and can only find my Big clothing and my Goal clothing, not my One Size Away from Goal clothing – which, if I remember correctly, wasn’t appropriate for my current job, anyway. I got three pairs of pants on clearance, and they’ll have to be enough. My shirts will just have to be too big for a while.)

    I’ve cut everything but my Internet service from my phone line, since I don’t remember the last time my land line rang. Once upon a time, I’d have felt guilty about other purchases but not about the phone.

    Instead of $3 cards, I’ll look for a cheaper card and include a letter, write a long letter instead of sending a card, OR send an e-card for free. (The exception is an elderly aunt who loves store-bought cards, and they are one of her few pleasures; in that case, it’s not money wasted.) A one-page letter with neighborhood gossip to a hospitalized neighbor made her just as happy, if not happier, than if I’d bought a generic card.

    I don’t feel guilty when I buy fruit, even [small quantities] out of season, but the only new DVD I’ve purchased for myself in over a year was one that a friend produced.

    My friends and I all agree that, for books or CDs as gifts, used, and not new, is the PREFERRED standard.

    I just discovered that a local church has book sales every month, and books range from a quarter to a dollar. I can get enough books for a month for the price of a cup of coffee (which I almost never buy out when I can make it at home, because of the price). After the 25ยข book has been shared and made its rounds, it can be donated back to the church, to the Help Yourself shelf at the local cancer center, or included in a care package for whatever charity is collecting. There are fewer than five authors whose new books I’ll preorder, and for one, right now, I’m still shopping around. (The best deal I’ve found 40% off and I’m still looking.)

    I’ll also learn something from each book, and will possibly blog about it. Books are worth every penny.

    I’m not sure if it’s legal (I’ve heard questions about it) but my auto insurance was lowered this past year, based on my credit, by about 20%. My debt is almost entirely for prescription drugs. Because I pay out of pocket for health insurance, my medical expenses in 2006 exceeded 64% of my takehome salary and, because of increasing insurance prices and vital testings, that percentage will be higher for 2007. I still manage to put something into my ROTH every month.

  29. Tori says:

    Back in my spendy days, I didn’t have a guilt threshold. You know where that got me.

    I’m going to echo previous posters and say that my guilt threshold varies depending on what I’m looking to purchase. I feel more guilty about spending $4 on a magazine then having a pizza delivered every month.

  30. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    I’d rather feel “guilty” once about one $5,000 purchase that I carefully planned out than guilty 100 times over 100 $50 purchases that really weren’t all that memorable.

  31. Dave says:

    So I talked about this IRL with a few people, and came up with an interesting realization.

    The thought of “what is my guilty point” has been solved for most products, but not who you expect. It’s the marketers. Those that write the ads or determine how much something costs. They determine how much of a markup people would be willing to accept without trigger this threshold.

  32. Tori says:

    Trent – Well, the guilt for my past retail indiscretions has caught up with me now. Better late than never, I guess.

    I love your blog and read for updates multiple times per day.

  33. Dean says:

    I do not feel guilty for spending any amount of money no matter what the cost. I do, however, feel guilty about wasting my money on anything, regardless of the amount spent. That being said, I am a lot more comfortable with my purchases if they are under $20. Anything more than that and I have to put a reasonable amount of thought into how much I really want or need it. I am debt free. Well, at least until next month when I close on the loan for my first home.

  34. Tim says:

    i’m the same way, it depends on the purchase. I recently bought a watch for $16k and had no guilt about it. I bought a bottle of water and felt guilty about it, b/c I could have waited and bought it for a few cents cheaper. normally, my guilt or regret is dependent upon whether I see the same thing for cheaper moments later. otherwise, i don’t feel guilty about purchases. i buy things because i either need them or want them. if i want something, i usually wait and hold off on the purchase unless i feel it is a good deal.

  35. Lauren says:

    Spending $50 on purchase never got to me till we had a child, now my husband and I guilt out at about $10. We are saving for more than our benefit now.

  36. Pam says:

    “A little off-topic, but I honestly believe that the guilt threshold is what leads people to do things like download illegal software and games”

    Maybe you should feel guilty about stealing.

  37. Thanks for an interesting post. I think I have a guilt range more than a guilt threshold. I’ve always had a problem spending small amounts of money, but never large amounts of money. I won’t spend $3 on a fast food meal, but I’ll _plan_ and spend $2,000 on a new computer without blinking. (The planning part is important, I don’t tend to make large impulse purchases!)

    My wife, on the other hand, has no problem spending $3 on something, but has a huge problem spending $2,000. So in some sense we help balance each other, and in some sense our spending habits get on each others nerves. =)

    So my threshold is about $1 – $200. Anything above that is usually planned and doesn’t cause worry.

  38. PiggyBank Raider says:

    Mine varies, too. But we’ve found that our guilt level is definitely tied to income. Years ago, when we were buried in credit card debt and earning peanuts, our guilt level was $5 or so. Now, with all our credit card debt gone and earning a bigger salary, our guilt level has risen.

  39. Jeff Winkler says:

    A great site for those with a book habit, but not close to a library, is bookmooch – bookmooch.com. Basically the way it works it this: 1. you list your books you want to trade. 2. Someone wants to ‘mooch’ it..you send it to them ($2.50 postage), and get a point. 3. You exchange that point for a book and have the book sent to you- to read and keep or re-trade. I love the site and it’s a great way to break the Amazon “buy now” habit :)

  40. Kristi says:

    On miscellaneous items, my guilt level is around $5.00, although if I see that it’s something that I really didn’t need and will just end up being in next summer’s garage sale anyway, then I can’t even handle spending $1.00 on something.

    For clothes, my limit is $35. Unless I’m buying professional or formal wear, I see absolutely no need in buying expensive clothing.

    Other than student loans, my debt is around $1,800. Is that pretty typical from your survey? Do $5 limit people tend to be at around that range?

  41. Crow says:

    0 – 99 cents. Beat that.

  42. MARY ANN says:

    WHAT IS EXCESSIVE FOR ONE, SAY $10,000,COULD MEAN LIFE OR DEATH FOR ONE PERSON OR FAMILY. WE OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED AT OUR LOWERING GUILT LEVELS. ‘WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES…’

  43. Scott says:

    I try to think about every purchase, especially the small ones. The big ones ($200+) are always planned but the small ones eat away at your conscience and your bank account.

  44. Jane says:

    I’m like several of the people here and realized that I really don’t have a guilt level. I only have house debt and I save at least 25% of my income. As for the rest I guess I live within my means and if I was going to feel guilty about it I wouldn’t buy it to begin with. HOWEVER, I do it admit I sometimes buy stuff that I pretty much immediatly decide “That wasn’t worth it” like a Starbuck’s Latte or dinner out but I don’t consider it the same as guilt.

  45. natural says:

    if i need something i don’t feel guilty, but if i don’t need it, then it can be as low as 50 cents or 1 dollar. if i don’t need it and i buy it anyway, why?

  46. Barbara says:

    In my case, I feel more guilty for not spending when perhaps I should. My husband and I funded our retirement plans at work from day one of employment, we are now set to retire early with more than enough to last until we’re 90 (barring any MAJOR catastrophe). We can afford almost anything we could want, yet we keep guarding that pot and at the same time we realize how stupid it is to work hard at accumulating a large sum only to die with it still in the bank so that it goes to someone else. SO, conceptually we know we should start spending it now on people we want to “inherit” it, in reality its hard to change an attitude….and that’s when I feel guilty….not giving more of it away, when we can easily afford to.

  47. Financialgal says:

    Instead of ruminating over each purchase that I put on my credit card each month, I set a maximum monthly amount that I will spend on nonessentials, about $200.00. This amount is low enough so that I don’t feel guilty about spending it and it is easy to pay off every month. I also don’t fret over every purchase as long as the total credit card balance is under that amount. The anticipated guilt should I go over that amount is what keeps me close (most of the time) to what I already decided to spend.

  48. Macinac says:

    Not a single rule here:

    1. For large amounts I consider what the return might be if invested. For example, I bought a car about a year ago that cost close to 20K. Invested at a reliable 5% that could produce $1,000 per year forever. So this car is costing me a grand per year indefinitely. Serious guilt!

    2. Academic and development opportunities for my kids: I don’t know the limit but it’s high.

    3. Occasional dinner out to assuage the wife: $25.

    4. Things I know I can get free, such as books from the public library: $1.00 or less.

    5. Things I should be able to avoid buying due to conservation or reuse, such as glass storage jars (think spaghetti sauce), note paper (cut junk mail envelopes in half and write on the blank side): very low, maybe five cents.

    6. Services I can do for myself, such as repairing a leaky sink drain: cost of the replacement parts.

    I have no debt.

  49. PiFreak says:

    My guilt level varies, especially since my parents pay for things for me (in lieu of an allowance, my parents buy necessities for me, and extras as well when I ask) Books are generally a no-guilt thing, because I love the library. Everything that I own was either a free, or dirt cheap paperback, or in the case of series like harry potter, twilight, artemis fowl, pendragon, and others, are nice copies that I got that I’ll re-read over and over. Dan Brown, I got the dirt-cheap paperbacks of them, and I’m totally happy with, but I love the look of my twilight series sitting on the shelf in matching hardbound… under $15 each.

    Clothes- Thrift Store GURU here. I know all the thrift stores in my area, and what they have good at each of them. Spending more than $5 on an article is out of range, unless it’s a dress for prom/winter formal (two formal dances at my school, that require nice dresses, and I really want a new dress for each of them) My freshman year, my dress was only five dollars, sophomore formal was 7.50, junior formal was FREE (but I bought $20 shoes), junior prom was 7.50(but I wore those same shoes), this years formal was $8 (I shuddered at that, but will be wearing the same shoes) and prom hasn’t been decided yet.

    Everything else is generally a $0 guilt level, except dollar tree. I shudder at buying more than ten things there (though some things are a great deal, so I will splurge then).

    More than $2000 in the bank!

  50. steve says:

    I wonder what inspires the guilt feelings for people. I’m wondering if it’s the awareness that they are not taking care of some financial basics and that the frivolous spending is in a sense unaffordable to them.

    Speaking from my own experience, I don’t think I actually ever feel *guilty* per se about spending money over a certain level. What I would describe it as having a “resistance to spending threshold” though. I can feel regret over wasting money, if that is what you mean by “guilt”.

    Here’s the deal:

    After reviewing my projected lifetime savings over the next 25 years (till age 65) and seeing that I am currently on track to be severely short of adequate financial resources in in my 60s, 70s, and 80s, I have decided to increase my income significantly and reduce my spending to only essentials (groceries, gas for the car if I need it, and anything else that would have a significant negative repercussion if I didn’t buy it. This is to bring my savings rate up to the necessary level.

    I have decided that once and if I am on track to meet my retirement goals, I will consider increasing my spending, but only once that is the case.

    Having that decision framework available to me has served as an effective tool when evaluating potential purchases. And it has made me much more effective at saying “no” to purchases, since it is clear that I don’t have spare money around for things that are not truly essential.

    Another thing I do to help this is to shepherd excess money out of my checking account and into a separate savings account every month. I keep one and a half month’s expenses in my checking account, and once I make all of my deposits for the month, I shunt the rest to the separate account.

    This prevents my checking account from appearing to be too flush with cash, making things look slighly articicially tight, to keep my frugal/ lean spending mentality in place.

    Until my savings rate is in line, I have made it so that dollars *squeak* when I pull them out of my wallet.

  51. Chris says:

    For me the threshold is about $3, the cost of two energy drinks from whichever brand happens to be on sale that day.

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