Your Money is Yours


What would you guys say if, after paying all my bills, putting money towards my debt and the some aside for long-term, I spent the rest on marshmallows.

Yes, marshmallows.

Maybe different kinds of marshmallows, like those coloured ones or the jumbo sized ones, or those jars of marshmallow cream. Let’s say I spent every leftover penny I had on marshmallow things because it just brought me unequivocal joy to stock my cupboards with sugar fluff — would I be wasting my money?

I feel like respondents will be in one of two camps:

YES you are wasting your money! What return does marshmallow cream give you? Nothing! vs. NO you are not wasting your money! Marshmallows bring you happiness, so why not?

At this point you probably understand I’m using marshmallows as a metaphor to represent any materialistic want that generally serves no purpose other than short-term enjoyment.

I’m bringing this up because a friend sent me a somewhat horrified text message when I confessed on twitter I dropped $200 at the spa — only shortly after I shared that I like to cut my own hair. She asked me to “justify” my outrageous spending while claiming to be frugal. I have only one justification:

My money is mine.


Actually, my first justification was half of my spa bill was going to be immediately reimbursed because massages are covered by my employer health plan.

Just for future reference, I actually drop that amount at the spa on a monthly basis, only this month my regular appointments landed on the same day inflating the bill for the visit.

I, of course, prioritize the most essential aspects of my budget like housing and health costs. But, if there’s room in my budget for not-so-essentials, it’s my choice to spend accordingly!

When money comes in and you have to decide how/if to spend it, these are the questions to ask:

1. Are all my needs taken care of?

Food, shelter, clothing! If you’re short on one of these, you can be in immediate physical danger. You have to take care of your health & safety before anything else.

2. Are all my obligated payments made?

Credit card bills, loan payments, car payments, insurance. These are things that won’t put you at risk if you miss, but it can cause problems like hurt your credit score later!

3. Have I put some money aside for long-term and short-term goals?

This means contributing to a retirement fund and an emergency fund, and also for something else you might be working towards like a vacation or a down-payment on a home.

If the answer is YES to all of the above and you have cash left over, I say do whatever you want with it. You can tackle more debt or put it towards a goal, or yes, you can buy out the local grocery store’s supply of marshmallows.

It doesn’t matter, it’s your money.

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25 Comments. Leave new

  • I agree with you – but I would encourage you to examine how much happiness unlimited marshmallows are really bringing you, and to think about if you could get equal happiness from a smaller supply 🙂

  • I’m with SP.

    Actually, I’m torn. I’d totally stuff my face with marshmallows (mine are shopping marshmallows), but I’m starting to realize that I need to scale back or I’ll be nutritionally deficient.

  • Great post. You hit it on the head. The great thing about personal finance is that it’s personal. What appeals to me, might not be desirable to anyone else and that’s okay.

  • First of all, putting all of your disposable income into marshmallows is INSANE. What in the heck are you going to do with all these marshmallows if you don’t also have chocolate and graham crackers? Come on, now!

    Seriously, though. I completely agree with you. If all your basic needs are taken care of, and you’ve planned for the future, then your money is yours to do with as you please. I mean, I might suggest you examine your marshmallow jones and see if you really DO enjoy all those marshmallows, or if you’re just buying them out of the habit of always buying a lot of marshmallows, but other than that, you do what you want.

  • Girl, as usual, you and I think exactly the same!

  • This is why I’m a big advocate for fun money. Yes, it’s important to put money aside for your needs and savings, but wants are important too.

    I wish you and your marshmellows happiness. 🙂

  • This is basically how I live although I prefer gummy bears. Once my needs and obligations are met I don’t usually stress myself over spending the rest of my money, except in cases where murphy drops by, then I get peeved.

    Like most of the others said, depending on what brings me joy, I would reevaluate it to see if I actually need that much of it but if I was a card collector or something I wouldn’t let it bother me so much. Also there is also the possibility that you don’t have that much left in which case you might only be able to get one small pack of marshmallows.

  • Hooray for marshmallows! You had me there for a moment (and I secretly wish there was some truth to this marshmallow business), but honestly, point agreed. If I must (keyword: must) make every dollar be “productive,” then who is the real master?

  • I was in the convenient store today and saw a s’more display. I almost took a photo of the bags of marshmallows for you, but I didn’t want to look like I was casing the place….

  • -cartwheel roundoff- She works hard for the money! So hard for it honey!

    I completely agree.

  • Bravo *clap clap*

    Now I have the urge to dig into a bag of marshmallows and make pie charts.

  • Finally, a refreshingly honest view of how someone spends discretionary income! I’m retired (very early), have no debt and no mortgage, and a healthy retirement investment portfolio, in addition to my spouse’s pensions and SS, which more than cover monthly obligations even with medical coverage premiums taking a substantial percentage of income. I enjoy the occasional massage and having my hair done professionally, although not with the same frequency as when I was working. I stopped having pedicures because I felt indulgent doing so in retirement, but every time I look at my feet (particularly in this warm weather), I’m embarrassed that I don’t start doing it myself. After reading your post I decided to treat myself today (we can certainly afford the $20). Living in the dark eating cat food so our heirs can have a larger inheritance is not my idea of a happy retirement. I guess they can bury me with highlights and red toenails! Thanks for the enlightening post, you just made my day.

    • haha I have another post coming on the same subject so if you stick around I think you’ll enjoy it =)

      I agree I’m so over the uber frugal ways the PF community can’t stop singing the praises for. Definitely treat yourself! You’ve earned it!!

  • Yes! Everyone has something and we have no place judging one another for our indulgences! Although as far as the unlimited marshmallows, I always say “Everything in moderation.” 😉

  • Nice post. Most people aren’t going to cut all discretionary spending, but getting people to practice conscientious spending is a realistic goal. Be sure you get enough enjoyment out of something and you really care about it, then by all means spend your money.

  • I fit very nicely into the second category of people. If you have paid your bills, paid your mortgage, and put a respectable amount of money into savings, ALL of the rest is to spend on marshmallows. I mean all of it.

    In my case, its car parts or ATV parts, or even tools that i don’t need, but after the essentials are taken care of, the rest is to have some fun with. I refuse to life my life scrimping and saving every single penny possible. I don’t believe that true happiness comes when you get rid of all your consumer items and become one with nature.

    You work hard to earn money, anything left over should be blown on the fun stuff.

  • Whoa! $200? At first blush that does seem a bit extravagant to do regularly. But hey, if your high-interest debts are paid off and you’ve got a tidy emergency fund and you’re on track to have enough stashed in your nest egg to enjoy the sort of retirement you want when you want it, then go for it!


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