7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Splurging

The Rules of Splurging

Ever since the recession began in late 2007, millions of consumers around the country have been forced to downsize their shopping habits in order to make do with less. For some, that has meant nearly four years of pinching pennies and devoting much of their money to paying down debts. As a result, splurging on big purchases – even useful ones like new appliances and electronics – has been out of the question for many, but after years of living this way, some consumers may be giving in just a little bit. Sales on luxury goods increased last year after having declined in 2009, and are expected to have gone up in 2011 as well. Likewise, specialty food sales went up by more than 7% in 2010 and even tourism sales were up in the second quarter of this year. While that doesn’t mean all consumers are suddenly eating gourmet foods and purchasing Prada bags, the sales data suggest that households are increasingly willing to splurge on certain upscale products even if the overall trend at the moment is still to buckle down and save as much as possible. As a personal finance site, MainStreet generally urges readers to practice smart spending and steer clear of unnecessary expenses, but we recognize that even the most responsible shoppers might experience frugal fatigue and feel the need to splurge from time to time, so we’ve put together a guide for how splurge responsibly. MainStreet asked several shopping and financial experts to weigh in on the key questions you should ask yourself before going through with a big purchase to ensure that today’s splurge doesn’t turn into tomorrow’s regret. If you can answer yes to most of these, then congratulations: You can spend in good conscience. Photo Credit: Getty Images