Updated on 06.01.10

The Wonderful Rewards of Not Spending

Trent Hamm

Sarah and I have a lot of similar ideas when it comes to personal finance.

We both believe in saving for the future.

We both believe in spending far less than we earn.

Here’s a tricky one, though. We don’t mind spending on the things we value, but we both cut down hard on the things that don’t matter.

What’s tricky about it? What happens when we differ in opinion on the things that matter?

I’ll give you an example. Sarah loves chocolate. She is passionate about high-quality dark chocolate. She has a few brands that she buys regularly and when she does, she’ll slowly eat pieces off of a bar of it, savoring each bite and making it last for several days.

I know how much she loves it and I don’t mind a bit if she occasionally buys a bar of the good stuff.

On the other hand, she completely sees it as a splurge and often makes herself feel guilty about spending the money on a bar of high-end chocolate (think $5-10 in price).

So the strangest thing happens when we happen to be near a chocolatier. She’ll go in, inspect the wares on offer, and convince herself not to buy (though she really wants a bar). At the same time, I completely don’t mind if she gets a bar of it – and I do see how much she enjoys it.

So we’ll end up having a polite disagreement, each of us arguing the opposite of what we would naturally want. I’ll encourage her to get a bar of chocolate and she’ll state the opposite viewpoint, arguing that $9 is too much to spend for just chocolate.

We tend to do the same thing but in the opposite way in bookstores. I’ll see a title that I want to read, but I’ll talk myself out of it due to the price. If I haven’t picked up a book in a while, Sarah will actually encourage me to pick it up.

Our usual resolution to these “conflicts” is not to buy. Instead, it winds up just being someting of an affirmation that we care about each other when I argue that she should get chocolate or she argues that I should get a book.

What’s the lesson here? You can find a lot of value in not buying things. So many times, people see not buying something as simply having nothing.

The truth is that not buying is often something in itself. It’s a bit of self-esteem from your willpower. It’s the promise of using that money for something strongly life-affirming in the future. It’s packaged with a bit of good feeling that your partner wants you to be happy.

And it increases the sweetness of the splurge later on. Sometimes, I will buy that book, and because I’m not buying a book every week (or even every month), my enjoyment of that book is much higher. Sometimes, Sarah will go ahead and get that piece of chocolate, and the delicate bitterness of the deep dark cacao spreads across her tongue with the glory of the return of a long-absent but much loved queen.

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  1. Jason says:

    Sometimes you use flowerly prose such as this “Sometimes, Sarah will go ahead and get that piece of chocolate, and the delicate bitterness of the deep dark cacao spreads across her tongue with the glory of the return of a long-absent but much loved queen” and sometimes you use the colloquial word “boom” in your writing.

    One suggestion – pick a writing style and stick with it.

  2. shannon says:

    yeah, i’m with jason. that last sentence left a rather bitter taste (much like that chocolate) in my mouth after an otherwise sweet and sensible post.

  3. Michelle says:

    Not digging that last sentence. Stop trying so hard, you’re at your best when you use your voice. And that ain’t your voice.

  4. marta says:

    I have to agree with Jason; as I opened the comments to say practically the same thing. See, I remembered that mailbag where you said:

    “Another part of it is that I intentionally write for The Simple Dollar in a conversational tone, which is easier to write. I make an effort to write in a way that is similar to how most people speak, more or less.”

    There is nothing conversational about that last sentence, it’s just purple prose. I know you often say you don’t care about criticism of your writing, but it might be a good idea to listen a bit to it. That sentence really stuck out like a sore thumb.

  5. Emily says:

    I actually felt the opposite. I liked how it finished – it was unexpected and surprised me, which is a good move considering that Trent’s “voice” is often so repetitive. I guess now though I see why he is so repetitive – it’s what you people want.

  6. marta says:

    Emily, nope. It doesn’t have to be an either/or thing. It’s possible to write in a way that is not too simplistic and repetitive *without* coming up with such flowery prose. That is going too far in the other direction and it feels really forced.

    Tons of bloggers manage to write in a polished but accessible way. For example, I think JD from GetRichSlowly manages to do it well.

  7. kristine says:

    It struck me as sweet but clunky nod of affection to his wife.

  8. Honey says:

    If there was something I loved, and it was that inexpensive, even if I talked myself out of it, my boyfriend would go and buy it for me. My indulgence is expensive shampoo/conditioner (I have very curly, hard to manage hair) – we are talking $35 for an 8oz bottle of shampoo and $50 for an 8oz bottle of conditioner. I was making due with something less expensive (though still not anything you could buy at the grocery store) and when Jake found out he was horrified. He said if I was in that position to let me know and he’d buy it for me.

  9. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    I tried something different (an intentionally flowery final sentence to accentuate a point). Readers didn’t like it (at least most didn’t).

    If I don’t regularly try different things, then things get tired and stale and repetitive. Sometimes new things don’t work well. That won’t keep me from trying them sometimes and learn what I can from the feedback. If I don’t, I don’t grow and this site doesn’t grow.

  10. AnneKD says:

    I figured you were just expanding your style a bit, Trent. ‘The Sentence’ might turn out to be famous after a while.

    My husband and I are a little bit like what’s described in the post- but he’ll buy me the chocolate, sometimes as a surprise gift for no reason, and I’ll do the same with his Amazon wishlist. We treat gifts differently than our own personal buying.

  11. A different Jason says:

    Aaah, I see–the last sentence is a figure for the overall point you’re making–i.e. splurging with a patch of elaborate prose after a spell of self-enforced verbal frugality ;-)

    I was surprised by how completely it distracted some people for your main point.

    As for the advice to “pick a writing style and stick with it”–that’s pretty simplistic. It misrepresents how writers actually evolve a style by experimenting in their work. No stylist of note actually “picks” a style.

    Before blogs, writers usually had the benefit of an editor between their experiments and their readers. Now, you and your peers get to try stuff out and watch it crash and burn within a matter of minutes. The joy of blogging, I guess.

    Enough metacomment, no?

    ON TOPIC: I like the point you make here. Like you, I love to read but rarely buy books. I use my college’s library most of the time. However, when I overcome my learned reluctance to buy a book, I find I enjoy my purchase more.

  12. Tara C says:

    I thought the last sentence was lovely. Why does his style have to be identical in each post? Sheesh.

  13. Daniel Fryar says:

    I enjoy garage-saling. But more and more I see it as a game, and if I don’t buy anything, I win.

  14. chacha1 says:

    I thought the last sentence was a) charmingly unexpected and uncharacteristic and b) a little sexy!

    And frankly, it gives me a much better sense of Trent’s potential as a fiction writer. The “conversational” tone he generally employs is bland, to say the least.

    And, apropos of the actual post, this is a good example of how partners can enrich each others’ lives even when they choose not to spend. Which is worth considering, because I’ll bet most of us are in the habit of expressing our affection by … spending.

  15. Melissa says:

    At least you know everyone really IS reading every word, Trent! I got on the site just to see if the RSS reader cut something off or added something from an ad on me…

  16. Not to mention the tremendous value, literally, from posting lists on the net to the effect that one only has 100 things or some such :-)

    Or simply the value from feeling good about adhering to such quantitative guide lines.

    There’s also great games to be played keeping no-spending streaks going.

  17. BirdDog says:

    I just skimmed over the last paragraph…I think because I now want chocolate!!

  18. Clifton says:

    I’m all for having a critical eye, but good grief, it’s just a sentence! Trent, some of your readers are kinda demanding! When I read it I guess I had the opposite reaction–it made me laugh! It didn’t so much come across as something you were crafting; maybe that was just how it came to mind. So that’s what you put there. And it was random–but cool at the same time.

    So obviously I’ve said nothing here either, but my point is…thanks Trent. One suggestion – keep enjoying your own writing, because that keeps us enjoying it too…well, some of us.

  19. LAM says:

    People are so critical of you Trent!!!

    Anyway, I agree with chacha1 in that I thought the last sentence was kind of sexy! I was reading the post thinking that this was exactly like my husband and I. Then I got to the last sentence and thought somehow I was reading a romance novel.

    BTW, what kind of dark chocolate does Sarah like?

  20. Stephen says:

    I don’t mind you experimenting with the style of your prose, but I can’t imagine why you don’t run a spell-check to catch errors like “someting.” I find that distracting without any justification.

  21. Adriana says:

    Let your wife have a $9 chocolate. Not a big deal if she truly enjoys it. If she dies tomorrow, you are going to be thinking about that chocolate she could have enjoyed.

  22. Johanna says:

    “Instead, it winds up just being someting of an affirmation that we care about each other when I argue that she should get chocolate or she argues that I should get a book.”

    Didn’t O. Henry write a story about this? One dollar and eighty-seven cents, and so forth?

    As for The Sentence: Nothing wrong with experimenting, of course. But writing in a voice that’s not your own, without sounding stupid, is really not easy.

  23. Adriana says:


    Who is O.Henry?

  24. Adriana says:

    Nevermind…I looked it up. Interesting….

  25. marta says:

    Stephen is right. Running a spell checker would be a change of pace!

    Even better: it will never get stale, and I bet everyone will love it. ;)

  26. Wally says:

    I agree with # 18. Keep writing and figuring out what works for you. Just believe other people like it doesn’t mean it’s not crap (see Bieber,Justin).

  27. valleycat1 says:

    I’m with # 8 – & that’s what I was expecting the last paragraph to say – something along the lines of “And it increases the sweetness of the splurge later on. Sometimes, I will go back & buy that chocolate for Sarah, and sometimes she’ll buy the book for me.”

    With 3 small children – and her husband – at home (& a newly adopted stay-at-home mom status), if I were Sarah I’d be sure someone was keeping me well-supplied with my favorite chocolate!

  28. Paul says:

    Setting aside the prose, I very much agree with the sentiment. I always think to myself in terms of “buying frugality” or “splurging on budget relief.”

  29. I am probably going to be slaughtered in some way for saying this but here goes:

    I am a new reader to your blog, i am new to blogging period but since i decided to take the plunge i have been studying many types of blogs and the way the writers are presenting them. I thought the whole point to writing a blog was to share YOUR thoughts with your audience. At what point did the blogger get put on a grade scale.

    Some of the criticisms that are put forth in the comments of blogs are downright mean, just as in life. Why must everyone take the high road all the time and point out to everyone else what they are doing wrong.

    I thought i was reading a post about chocolate and books but by the time i got to the comments it became very apparent that what most got from this was a ‘lets hang the blogger’ post.

    I have not been around long enough to know your ‘style’ but obviously you stepped a little outside your box on this one. Does that make it wrong? If you wrote it, then it is your style. Maybe one that others don’t see too often but honestly, is that any reason to criticize? Why not let the blogger be who he is instead of pretending to be something he is not.

    Continue to write from your heart. Don’t listen to those that try to bring you down. Sometimes you may nail it and other times completely miss the mark. But whatever happens, these are YOUR thoughts and although you chose to share them with others never ever be ashamed of them.

    By the way, i thought your post was pretty good.

  30. Ana says:

    Jesus! Get the bloody chocolate! Makes life worth living at times! He’ll, I’d consider it a health supplement.

  31. Sunny says:

    Trent, I liked your last sentence, I’m dying for chocolate right now. Enjoy your blog and am confused why readers on this sight are so snarky . . .

  32. Nora says:

    In my family, we call the one thing you value and spend money on your “teapot”. It started one x-mas when my brother bought a $160 teapot! I was shocked and appalled that my otherwise frugal brother would spend that much on something I considered so worthless…until my mother pointed out that I spend that much on a pair of jeans. Then I pointed out that she spends that much on a piece of fancy garden equipment. So now when we have those splurges we just say “it’s my teapot so it’s okay!

  33. Bee says:

    Good grief, maybe Trent should try his hand at romantic fiction. Seriously, the last sentence sounded like it came from a Mills & Boon and also made me feel weird and creepy.

  34. I only try to spend money on things that I need or that will make me more money

  35. Ag says:

    This is an awesome post. And I’m only 27, and practice feeling like I baught something, when I baught nothing! Thank you!

  36. Mari says:

    liked the post and thought the last sentence was a nice flourish. (a little surprised by all the carping about it, frankly.)

  37. J. O. says:

    @ #11 A Different Jason


  38. Josh Pittman says:

    A nod to his wife, a wink to us-to me, the last sentence embodied those things and something some of us already knew about Trent, which is that he is a brimming pool, running disturbingly deep. Disturbing in a good way, Trent. Do keep such flourishes up. If you didn’t, it would be like a figure skater who skated in a straight line and called it practice, or a jazz musician who stared at the page and called it improv. You may not be Cormac McCarthy, but he was once covered in amneotic fluid, wasn’t he. What happened between then and now wasn’t magic, let me assure you.

  39. The Editor says:

    You did a good article, Trent. :)

  40. Bill says:

    @Trent, I would never criticize you on grammar or English as I verily passed these subjects myself. But as a warning, there are much more expensive ways to spend money on chocolate. The two best being in San Francisco and Paris, both with excellent and expensive websites.

  41. Jules says:

    I’m spoiled, then: there are some pretty excellent Belgian chocolatiers nearby that sell chocolates for a fraction of the cost, although I hafta say that, when it comes to the dark stuff, nobody does that like the Swiss :-)

  42. sara says:

    @#13, Yes! That is exactly how I do it too, after many misspent years just buying anything at garagesales that caught my eye. Buy = have something really nice, Don’t buy = one point for frugality. It’s a win-win really.

  43. Ajtacka says:

    The Sentence: It made me intensely regret not savouring the chocolate I’d just finished! It happened to be my last piece :(

    The sentiment: I often talk myself out of buying things, and it really does make it sweeter when you do actually buy it. We spent a week last year at a film festival. The part I remember most? Discovering a chocolate shop, debating for 10 minutes if we should buy, then savouring the deliciousness after deciding to splurge. I just hope that this year it will live up to the memory!

  44. deRuiter says:

    Nice post. Thought the last sentence over wrought, lifted out of one of those tacky romance novels which deserve to be tossed into paper recycling instead of read. As for feeling triumphant because you haven’t bought something you liked at a garage sale, what’s the point? If you buy it, and get tired of it, back it goes into your garage sale, the money is recouped (cometimes you can actually get a little more for the item if you’ve chosen well) and you’ve had the fun of owning and then passing it on to another person.

  45. Charles Cohn says:

    Unprocessed, bitter dark chocolate is a health food! It is loaded with antioxidants and is a far more potent source of these than any other food. I hope awareness of this fact will make Sarah feel better about buying it.

  46. AndreaS says:

    Trent, must be a downer to write a thoughtful post, and then have everyone nitpick. Readers, I am sure it is HARDER than you can imagine to crank one out every day… looks easy, but it is hard. Give him a break.
    I think the point is that in our culture we equate spending with love, but very often the reverse is true. When couples agree to save for long-term goals, and one spouse spends (even as a gift to the other) this can undermine the goal. The sweetest time in my marriage was when my husband and I struggled to save for a house. Occasionally, though, he would go off the reservation and buy me something… say a pair of earrings I didn’t need. That was money that was not saved for the house. Above all, I wanted the house. The saving was for a huge gift to us both of having the house we wanted. Not spending to save for a future goal is a gift from him… it respects what I want most.
    It always seemed backwards to me when women in particular expect boyfriends, fiances and husbands to blow money on them. In the dating phase, once you determine that you might have a future with a guy, in a sense his money becomes your money. If he blows money on you now, in the future you might not get to be a stay at home mom, for example.

  47. SMS says:

    OK – I’m hungry for chocolate now. Saving every penny would be depriving. Getting the book and chocolate every time would not mean as much.
    The little bit on the end sounded to me like a special love for his wife. A nice way to express himself. I have been told I must be plagiarizing something when I have to write important stuff. My writing is way different from my spoken language. Get a life and quite picking everything apart.

  48. Heidi says:

    That last sentence made me giggle.
    Is there a food coop near you? High-end chocolate bars are on sale almost every month for $2.50-$3.00.

  49. Steffie says:

    Not buying anything ‘fun’ like chocolate is why some people equate being frugal with being miserly. Again it is all about balance and what you want to spend your money on, I get thrift store clothes but spend a ‘fortune’ on fresh vegetables and the ‘fancy’ tile in my new bathroom. At least Trent knows what his wife enjoys, there are men out there who have no clue even after years of togetherness.

  50. Wow! Everyone’s a critic! I was actually taken quite by surprise by the last sentence, and I supposed you were having fun with it and were even perhaps experimenting a little to see how many actually read every last word. Oh, my! Apparently many others decided they needed to have the last word!

    Oh, and your relationship sounds lovely and endearing. :)

  51. Skeemer118 says:

    My comment actually concerns the post…lol. My husband & I both never mind when the other buys something either for a splurge or out of necessity. We just have a hard time justifying our own purchases. Sounds like what you guys do. You want her to have what she loves & she feels a little guilty.

  52. Mol says:

    I interpreted the point here a little differently. It’s a great milestone in a relationship when you come to that point that you are arguing your partners side, but I know that I am guilty of feeling more lax about spending money that is a gift to my partner (or family and friends) than I am with myself. I will much more readily break the budget for other people than myself.

    On the last sentence. People are so uncomfortable with change. You tried something different. I roll my eyes about these people.

  53. littlepitcher says:

    There is a huge difference between writing a sentence, and having that sentence turned into a sentence of imprisonment within the confines of a single style.
    Write any way you want to write. I subscribe for the content, and you are truly faithful in providing excellent and relevant material.

  54. Jayne says:

    Loved the post – even the fancy sentence at the end! My husband and I often do the same thing and it’s neat to see that others do, as well!

  55. Maureen says:

    I think you missed a golden opportunity Trent. Why didn’t YOU buy her a lovely chunk of chocolate? She may enjoy it even more if it comes as a token of affection. If you can afford the occasional splurges, then indulge each other.

  56. K.C. says:

    Rosa and I budget for personal items so there is no guilt when one or the other exercises their personal indulgences. That is the freedom a budget gives us. When we spend on ourselves, in line with the budget, we know that we are spending money that is set aside for that purpose and that all other expenses are covered. Since we are not taking away from other financial needs, we can really enjoy the purchase.

  57. Ashley says:

    I found “The Sentence” to be quite corny, unnecessary and just weird. But that’s just an opinion.

    On a different note, my husband grew up with a very frugal father and he has made a vow to himself to never be that way with his own family. He is a financially responsible individual, but he also believes in indulging when appropriate and doesn’t want his future children to feel guilty about purchasing a $9 bar of chocolate or a $15 book on a whim. I’ve seen how his father’s extreme frugality has damaged my husband, and after many years of working on himself, he has found a balance between saving and splurging.

    I think that there’s a point where frugality becomes counterproductive. Guilt is a powerful emotion and can easily be internalized by a sensitive child who grows up with a frugal parent who emphasizes that purchases made based on need and not want are “bad”. This can be just as damaging to a child as spoiling them. I’m not saying Trent does this is any way – I just wanted to say that feeling guilty for purchasing something that you can afford and gives you pleasure (and done in moderation) is sad. Life is too short to take it so seriously.

  58. Ashley says:

    Meant to say in my third paragraph that “purchases based on want and not need are ‘bad'”. Sorry about that!

  59. Evita says:

    I find this post a little sad. I find no “wonderful rewards” in denying ourself small, affordable pleasures……

    Trent always writes about finding value in what we buy. Expensive chocolate is obviously a great value to Sarah. But why is she ridden with guilt upon this small purchase? $5 for a bar is not the end of the world for a family who is apparently not destitute…… I would suggest setting up a “splurge” budget (I personnally have a $10 per week “no-guilt” spending which includes magazines, my weakness). And Sarah, lighten up! You DESERVE that chocolate!

  60. sillygirl says:

    My husband and I get a monthly “allowance” even though we are senior citizens – it’s to splurge on ourselves without guilt. Several diet plans now include a good amount of premium dark chocolate.

  61. Rachel says:

    I’m going to be honest here–I appreciated the post, but the final sentence made me burst out laughing in an otherwise quiet office. The complete change in writing style took me by surprise and I’m not saying that’s bad, but to me, it made me completely forget the rest of the article. It is sweet, but it still does crack me up even thinking about it! :-)

  62. Adam P says:

    Wow, your wife and I have that in common (Dark chocolate). Although I haven’t tried the really expensive kind yet (more in the $2.99 bar from Lindtt..have to work up to the $9 bar stuff). I’m up to about 85% cocoa…what kind does your wife buy Trent? What’s her favourite and what %? I’d love to know if its not too personal to post here.

    As for the topic, I’m of mind that as long as your saving goals are being made and your fixed expenses are paid, just spend the rest on what makes you happy. As long as the fun money is spent in a place that gives you good happiness/dollar ratio, then its fine. Books and dark chocolate seem to be what works for you guys, and I hope you both learn to let yourself have the pleasure besides just the pleasure of self-denial.

  63. Esme says:

    I thought the last sentence was a little love note to your wife (because I expect she reads your blog posts) and thought ‘awwww- sweet!’ Its lovely to see that. Never mind the wannabe editors and critics. Its your blog, you can experiment and try out different styles if you want. Nobody’s forcing them to read it.
    And yeah, my husband does the same thing for me when I try and talk myself out of a little treat. I’ll talk myself out of necessities like clothes too and he helps me there as well. My frugal nerve gets out of control sometimes.

  64. Jacob says:

    Some of the readers on this site remind me of the critics T. Roosevelt so famously chastized. Here’s a hint: get over yourselves.

    If you don’t like how a sentence was phrased, feel free to point it out – that is the point of feedback, after all – but at least try to do so with a modicum of civility and grace.

    Simply put, grow up.

  65. Kris says:

    I love both chocolate and books. I think Sarah should buy her dark chocolate because the high quality dark chocolate is incredibly good for you. She can view it as an investment in health. However, I do agree that 9 dollars is a lot for some chocolate. I would find a cheaper version that is still high quality.

    I have a soft spot for books too. I try to go to the library as much as possible, but sometimes, I cannot resist a new book, depending on the author and how long I will have to wait for it. I do admit I have that great feeling of saving money every time I walk out of the library.

  66. Maybe this has already been suggested, but why don’t you surprise her with a bar of chocolate once in a while? Hmmm? :)

  67. Joan says:

    I loved this post including the last sentence. I bet you could write great poems.

  68. Sue says:

    I hope at that price that it’s organic chocolate! I agree with other posters that dark chocolate, in small quantities, is good for both body and spirit.

    I personally go for the Green and Black’s – their Mayan Gold bars are fabulous, and are often on sale here at $3/bar – hardly outlandish!

    What is the point of all that daily frugality, if not to create the opportunity to indulge from time to time? As long as it doesn’t create financial hardship, of course! One appreciates it more when it is both affordable and occasional, rather than the daily expectation of pampering that has driven so many into bucketloads of debt. But to never indulge – what a sad state of affairs that would be!

  69. karishma says:

    @Clifton, #18; See, I had exactly the opposite impression from that sentence. I think Trent was watching Sarah eat a piece of chocolate, and had that sentence pop up in his head, followed by “I have to write a post in which I can use this great sentence!”

    I don’t think the problem was with the floweriness of the sentence itself; just how it was completely different from anything in the rest of the post.

    On the topic of the post, I think that’s a great place to be in your relationship, rather than having each partner feel resentful of the other’s splurges while feeling his/her own are justified.

  70. Crystal says:

    In case there is a vote, I liked the final sentence. A whole post like that may be hard to enjoy, but a single sentence shows some personality. I liked it.

  71. sumokitty says:

    Loved that sentence. Has Sarah tried Cacao Powder ? or what about Artisana Cacao Bliss ? Food from the Gods, fit for that much loved queen of yours.

  72. Claudia says:

    Trent, I liked the last sentence. I thought it showed the love you have for Sarah and the pleasure you get from watching her pleasure while savoring her chocolate. So, what if it was hokey, it was sweet and I’m sure Sarah thought so too. When we go to the tourist town 20 miles from here, my husband always pushes me to buy some fudge. because he knows I love it. It makes buying some much more fun and enjoyable.

  73. Rachel says:

    Apparently the folks who are griping about The Sentence are not fans of the good stuff. The Sentence itself is very much like a morsel of 85% cacao Scharfenberger Chocolate… It takes a moment to melt on the tongue, then slowly your tastebuds are encompassed in the multi-layered bliss that is *Chocolate.* It’s sultry, romantic, unexpected, and completely enjoyable! It’s also something the Hershey-bar folks will seldom be able to appreciate.

    On to the point of the article: I don’t see this as “denying yourself” that book or that bar of chocolate. As most overspenders have come to realize, the purchase itself is often about filling a void. When Trent can reaffirm to Sarah that she is “worthy” of the $9 bar of chocolate, that same void is filled to overflowing. When you reach a point where you can argue the other person’s side, but then accept when they stick to their decision, that is a very healthy relationship. Comments phrased as “Don’t be stupid, buy the @%#$ chocolate, it’s only 9 bucks” doesn’t show very much respect for the other person.

  74. Peggypoo says:

    Here’s an idea…since this is HIS blog and YOU don’t like it, just don’t come back anymore. These comments are insane. Let the guy get a bit poetic, and you guys act like he used cursive talking. I thought is was interesting.
    Lets read it again…
    “Sometimes, Sarah will go ahead and get that piece of chocolate, and the delicate bitterness of the deep dark cacao spreads across her tongue with the glory of the return of a long-absent but much loved queen.”

  75. Peggypoo says:

    See how poetic that is?

  76. The rewards of not spending are wide and varied.

    IIt comes down to distinguishing between wants and needs. If you forego a certain amount of wants in order to afford some need, the rewards are obvious and very well deserved.

  77. Ben says:

    It is your blog, write however the hell you want. Relative to the topic at hand, enjoy your splurges. I experienced no greater a feeling of freedom than when I shed a house full of stuff and kept only that which was needed for my day to day life. On the occasion when I have 15 people over for dinner, I use paper plates. I keep a bottle of 23 year old rum on my shelf and enjoy the occasional snifter as much as you enjoy your books. We each choose our own “finer” things of life; the opinion of others in this regard is irrelevant. Keep writing, you perspective is valuable.

  78. AmyG says:

    Keep mixin’ it up, Trent. A little fun, fresh writing never hurts and just look at all the comments you got on it ;0)

  79. ChrisD says:

    One point about resisting buying chocolate. It’s fattening!. I’m half swiss and whenever I go there I buy over a kilo of chocolate, just the very basic Frey 100g bars which are excellent quality, I buy the ones that come in packs of three which is cheaper (dark, milk and plain with hazelnuts, in any Migros supermarket).
    Then, if I allow myself to eat as much as I want, I eat about 50-80g a day. This is a bit more than I should eat.
    So eating as much chocolate as you want is probably a bit too many calories and using the price to limit that is probably a good thing.

  80. gail says:

    my love language is gift giving, so i would have bought the special something for my love and would have loved to recieve the special something from my love. like others mentioned, you guys aren’t destitute, so why are you saying no? do you not have a personal blow it fund?

  81. teresa says:

    I seem to remember reading that your not a fan of Aldi stores but they have decent chocolate. (roth branded) Surprise your wife buy her some to try or just buy her favorite kind.

    I stash some homemade truffles, molded chocolate (easy) and dark chocolate cheesecake in the freezer for a surprise for my husband. I make them when he is busy at work so he doesn’t know they are there. I get very good bulk chocolate from trader joes or you can order it online.
    If homemade is not her thing head up to minneapolis: Abdullah candy is the place to go. They sell Seconds and it is fabulous stuff.

  82. Cree says:

    @32 Nora.
    Our teapot. I love it, succinct and abstract. Great name for such spending!

    My teapot is running shoes, I’m slow but I push the miles. My husband is even more frugal, but I do find him lusting after decent cheesecake!

    We’re both pretty happy with spending on sporting equipment – anything that gets us active is great.

    We’re both against spending on labels/brands, clothing, restaurants, even high end grocery items. They just don’t give us as much satisfaction.

  83. Hannah says:

    I understand and thoroughly relate with the point of this story.

    That said, if Trent wants to write novels, constructive feedback on his more creative writing should be helpful to him. My point being CONSTRUCTIVE feedback. Saying (in often unpleasant ways) that The Sentence doesn’t work for you is not helpful unless you explain why. So I’ll try to give some constructive, thoroughly unsolicited, feedback.

    I’m an avid reader who is turned off by overtly rich flourishes but there are many readers who love them. (Write in the style or styles you most enjoy writing, Trent!) My biggest fault with The Sentence is that it makes no sense. I think I understand what you are trying to say but the verbal logic isn’t there. I’m pretty sure that nothing can spread across a tongue “with the glory of the return of a long-absent but much loved queen”. That’s not comparing Sarah to a queen, it’s saying she is enjoying the chocolate as much as she would enjoy the return of a much-loved queen. Sort of. But not really that either. Because you just can’t spread across a tongue “with the glory”. “Like” would be better than “with”, but not much. If the taste of the chocolate makes her light up in a way that makes you feel like you are witnessing the return of your much-loved queen, then you should clarify that.

    Soooo, Trent, if you ever bother to read this and care one bit, I hope it was helpful and not snarky.

  84. Johanna says:

    To add to Hannah’s constructive criticism: I think that another big part of the reason why The Sentence comes across as weird and inauthentic to so many people is not because of the flowery style, but because you’re trying to describe somebody else’s subjective experience. Sure, you know that Sarah loves chocolate, but do you know if she thinks it’s anything like witnessing the return of a queen? (And if she does, how does she know what *that’s* like?) Or does she think it’s like putting on her favorite cotton sweater on the first cold day of autumn? Or stepping into the sunshine at the end of a long rainstorm? Or something else entirely?

    The fact is, you don’t know. Even if she’s told you in detail about her emotional reaction to eating a piece of chocolate (as I suppose is possible), it still sounds very strange to put that reaction in your words, not hers.

    When I imagine this post rewritten from Sarah’s point of view (basically, changing “I” to “Trent” and “Sarah” to “I,” with a few other small changes), the last sentence doesn’t sound nearly so jarring to me.

  85. Kirsty says:

    For goodness sake! Just allow the chocolate!! Sometimes you just HAVE to have the good stuff, which is a bit more expensive…..

  86. elizabeth says:

    I love this post because I now recognize this in my own relationship. I pride myself in keeping my decisions frugal but allow myself small splurges. I now understand why my SO will encourage these for me and how resolution to abstain makes it sweeter in the long run. I also now see how I encourage him to splurge and why he’s content with a lower priced alternative.

    I read this post when it was first published but thinking about it again today motivated my comment. I read a lot of posts daily, and only a few stick out as insightful. It may not be the secret weapon to debt elimination but it helps me understand my relationship better.

    Thanks for writing this!

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