At the beginning of the year when Jay and I made our money plan, we decided we'd keep a few fun things in the budget. I'm referring specifically to alcohol and movie rentals.
Obviously, we don't need these things, but they are relatively inexpensive and they keep us sane. At the end of the day, when I sip my wine or my vodka tonic, I'm not thinking about money. In fact, I've found it's hard to worry about anything with a wine glass in your hand. (Oh, thank you wine.)
If I'm going to be totally honest, I should tell you that when I first subscribed to an online movie rental service, it was with Blockbuster.com because at that time Alec was doing the voice overs in the commercials. (This, people, is indicative of how the mind of a crazy person works.) We were with Blockbuster almost a year, but the service was crappy, the selection sucked, and we were always getting cracked dvd's in the mail. Recently, we switched to Netflix and it is so much better. The movies come quickly and the selection is huge. It's so nice to be able to type in the name of a small, independent documentary, and have Netflix know exactly what I'm talking about. Plus, the movies they suggest to us are much more in line with our personal tastes. I'm still not sure why Blockbuster thought I would want to watch Beerfest.
Jay and I aren't the only ones that benefit from Netflix. Our kids are so far apart in age that they rarely want to see the same movie. Plus, the girl is kind of a loud mouth, so we never get to go to the movie theatre as a family. With the movies coming right to our house, we can plan a family movie night easier, or we can schedule one for each kid.
I realize I'm starting to sound like a commercial for Netflix, and that wasn't my intention. It's just that movie rentals are one more way in which we've made the spending stoppage seem less ominous, and for only about $10 a month. I'm sure that $10 could be better spent paying off a credit card quicker, or the bill for someones broken arm. (Yes, that bill still haunts me. It's the gift that keeps on giving.) But at what cost? In the grand scheme of things, that $10 isn't going to make a huge difference in whether I pay off a bill now, or in six months.
I think every person, and probably every family, has a few things they try to hold on to even when money gets tight. I'd be interested in hearing what little splurges you rely on to keep you happy.