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After months of restriction and strong recommendations to stay in homebound sweatpants, I have felt the urge to splurge, otherwise known as revenge spend.

Society seems to be taking a deep breath and assessing the damage as the vaccines are being dispersed frantically. The elixir of lost experiences is turning reluctant savers into exuberant spenders. I may feel the rumblings of guilt but is there a better way to celebrate my values than throwing money at them?

After the prolonged period of stress, a little spending on new experiences can improve our mental health and overall well-being.


Revenge spend is an old, salty friend of mine. I have felt the urge to splurge after a 6-month deployment to the sultry heat of the Middle East where steel walls dripped sweat just like the 5,000 sailors within those stifling walls. Last time, I was confined to a floating metal box of jets, jet fuel, and the world’s largest supply of sweaty sailors.  

This time a devastating pandemic created a confine that was distinctly smaller and more expensive. But, higher on the fun scale because I could shower longer than 15 minutes and had access to unrestricted internet.

Different circumstances, same feeling.

It’s a quiet feeling that builds. Everyday nuances grow until I feel overwhelmed by an urge to leave daily routines in the dust. Or go on vacation.

Most of the time, I go on vacation.

Gratitude Attitude

I have many layers of gratitude for what I did and didn’t experience. I held (almost) full employment, didn’t dance with COVID, fully vaccinated, and the one family member who had COVID managed to have few symptoms.

My experience was fortunate, and the discomfort was mild.

A robust shout-out to the modern-day hermit lifestyle. Home-cooking is 99% of my meals, I rarely shopping, and have a less than dazzling social life has sheltered my monk-like lifestyle from the ravages of the pandemic.

The introvert wins the grand prize which would probably be a highly rated self-help book or 15 minutes in a deprivation tank.

I felt a sliver of loss when space camp and tough mudder were canceled. There was an upwelling of sadness, but it was mild when compared to other first-world problems.

As an annoying optimist, I turned canceled discomfort into motivation. I use it as a reminder that anything, literally anything, from civil unrest to catastrophic pandemics to blistering wildfires can happen. In a year. In one country.  

Historians could devote their entire life to writing the apocalyptic layers of 2020.

Urge to Splurge

After that semi-soul clearing disclosure, I have yet to unleash the Kraken of spending and continue to save with my financial hygiene rinse and repeat routine.

I have avoided fancy shoes, purses, or vehicles (not judging your Mr. BuLL. You got a great deal on your new truck, and it is very pretty). But, I’m giving the side-eye to my life list.

I have many expensive items on my life list. The 15-year due date wrapped a warm, fuzzy comfort around my focus, and I slipped into a hazy state of mindlessness.

A cold shower of mindfulness prescribed by 2020 fixed that!

I won’t be standing in line for the latest Gucci purse or getting head-butted by a goat during goat yoga. But I’m planning my life list expeditions as a way to channel the revenge spend feeling. 

As the 2020 dust settles, I’m looking to 2022. I’m giving my powers of prediction a whorl and hoping the world is in a better place by then. The plan is to start at the novice level with stateside experiences like Burning Man and Niagara Falls. I have learned from other splurges it is best not to try to devour a whole gallon of ice cream in one sitting.

Ice cream belongs in my stomach, not in an extending bathroom trip.

Revenge spend will be unleased for carefully crafted experiences that don’t make my bank account cry, unless Lion King is playing in the background.

Happy Hobbit Ways

I live like a happy hobbit, and I plan on keeping my hobbit ways.

There may also be found money in permanent life changes, says Jody D’Agostini, a New Jersey-based certified financial planner. “By spending smarter and in ways that better align with your values, you’ll be happier and your finances will be stronger.”


During the 2020 dumpster fire, I used large amounts of mental energy on saving from no-spend months, to growing passive income love, to selling everything that isn’t a body part.

Each of these opportunities had a season. As an opportunity arose, I accepted the offer. I journey the bumpy road, orks and all until the cash flow moved on.

It is the way of the introvert hobbit.

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4 thoughts on “Revenge Spend: The Urge to Splurge

  1. I can’t imagine how many people will adopt the revenge spend mentality once the coronavirus pandemic is over, hopefully in the next coming months. If we are in a lockdown for another year, I have no idea what I would do. It would be tragic.

    There’s nothing wrong with spending a lot of money after being cooped up for so long.

  2. The whole pandemic was a non-event for us. We traveled all over the US by car to remote locations. Kept playing team tennis, hiking, fishing and playing pickleball. My wife ran a marathon and we continued to run three times a week with our running group. We camped with our grown kids. We bought two new cars, one lightly used and one brand new. Virtually none of our normal fun things were impacted because we prefer outdoor sports that are naturally socially distanced and didn’t require masks. Only my volunteer work on a college and a foundation board went remote, but that was kind of nice for a change. It is strange how the pandemic was a serious disruption for many and really just business as usual for us.

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