- No matter your budget, there are a few things that are always worth the money.
- Staple items, self-care (including therapy), and your health are good areas to invest.
- You don’t have to spend a fortune, but it’s worth it to work these things into your budget.
Conventional wisdom tells us that in order to be “good” with money, we have to spend less. While this can be true, you should also consider the value of the items you’re purchasing and how certain expenses affect your overall quality of life.
Sometimes going for the cheapest option is not always the best financial decision in the long run. Here are five areas of your life where you can spend money guilt-free, regardless of your budget.
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1. Staple items
Some purchases are timeless. Spending money on quality items can prove to be a good return on investment. My mom always told me to spend money on good-quality shoes and undergarments. Other wardrobe staples, such as a classic pair of jeans or a crisp button-down shirt, are long-lasting items that create a solid foundation for your wardrobe.
Classic furniture is another category where staples win over trendy pieces. Studies show that we spend a third of our lives sleeping. A good mattress can help ensure a good night’s rest. Even a nice sofa or dining room table is worth the splurge.
If you love to cook, kitchen basics are a great investment. We have cast iron skillets and pots that have been in my family for generations. High-quality cookware and knives often come with a lifetime warranty. When it comes to staples, spending more on something that will last many years is better than constantly replacing cheaper items.
2. Things that buy you time
We’ve all met someone who spends half a day making trips to the hardware store and watching YouTube videos to make a home repair that a professional could have completed in a fraction of the time. When you’re on a tight budget and have limited funds, it can be easy to take on additional tasks instead of delegating. In reality, you’d probably rather spend that time with friends and loved ones, or maybe you just prefer to have a break.
Consider hiring someone to do the tasks you don’t want — or don’t have time — to do. Spending money on a housekeeper, landscaping company, handyman, or assistant is well worth the money because it helps you get back more time.
If you’re having trouble cooking healthy meals for your family, meal kits or even prepared meals are great options. You might spend more than you would on groceries, but the cost is often less than daily takeout (and much healthier).
A combination of clever marketing strategies, social media, and the desire to “keep up with the Joneses” has conditioned us to want more things. Buying the latest gadget or fancy car can give you a sense of satisfaction, but that feeling can be short-lived.
Elizabeth Dunn, author of “Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending,” found that those who spend money on experiences are happier and less likely to exhibit buyer’s remorse.
Experiences don’t have to mean a big expensive trip out of the country. A quick weekend getaway or staycation is cost effective and well worth the splurge. Other experiences like concerts and festivals can create wonderful memories that last a lifetime.
4. Your health
The cost of healthcare in the US had been increasing long before COVID-19 and continues to rise. To some, spending extra money on your health can seem like a luxury. The reality is that your health is an investment, and if you don’t invest in your healthcare now, you’ll pay for it later.
Give yourself permission to spend money on healthy foods, a nice gym membership, or a personal trainer. It doesn’t always have to be expensive, but make sure you actually use the services.
Spending money on good health insurance also pays off. People with health insurance are more likely to get preventive care, which can help them catch medical issues early. In addition to basic healthcare, consider dental and vision care, like regular cleanings, a quality electric toothbrush, comfortable eyeglasses, and sunglasses.
Self-care goes beyond a day at the spa. While a massage or pedicure can help rid the stress from your week, anything that protects your well-being and happiness is worth the extra money.
One of the more expensive forms of self-care is seeing a therapist. Therapy provides many long-term benefits and teaches skills to help you work through your daily thoughts and interactions.
Self-care can also mean dedicating time to hobbies or interests. If you love to read, buying books or subscribing to an audiobook service are good investments in yourself. Again, these don’t have to be expensive. Think about how you’d like to prioritize all the types of self-care based on what’s most important to you, then budget accordingly.
When money is tight, it can be tempting to cut back on things that are most important and pay less for lower-quality items. Consider splurging on things that will improve your life and make you happier. You won’t regret it!