Being smart with your money isn't always about constantly depriving yourself of pleasure. It's OK to indulge the occasional vice, but you want to be smart about those indulgences. Here's how Man Vs. Debt's Adam Baker decides if a splurge is worth it.
LearnVest interviewed Baker about guilty pleasure spending. He says it helps to pick just one of your financial vices to indulge. This can keep your overall temptation at bay.
Baker uses a few guidelines to evaluate these vices and decide which ones are the most worthwhile. For example:
Is the vice impulsive? If the answer is yes, it's probably not worth gratifying. So instead of throwing money at impulse buys, aim to spend on long-term interests and consistent desires. For example, splurging on wine classes because you've always entertained the idea of becoming a sommelier will likely be more satisfying than signing up for an expensive wine tasting because all your friends are doing it.
Is it something you can control? This question gets at whether your guilty pleasure straddles the line of being an actual vice — say, gambling, unhealthy alcohol consumption or smoking. After all, you want your financial vice to be a smart indulgence, not a destructive one.
It seems a little ironic to analyse a guilty pleasure. But this method makes sure you're actually going to be gratified by that vice. You might consider tailoring the questions to your own situation and personality, but the point is: you want to pick the vice that gives you the most bang for your buck.
Check out Baker's other guidelines in the full post.