Inside: We’ve all heard about things we shouldn’t spend money on, but what about what we can spend money on, guilt-free?
Save your money, be frugal, be thrifty, think about your budget.
Ugh. Sometimes it gets tiring. I mean, aren’t there some things we are allowed to spend our hard-earned money on?
Yes, yes there is. Besides budgeting (ack! there I go) for fun stuff, there are things you should be spending a bit more of your money on and feel good about not taking the cheap route.
What is quality? Is it a brand name? Not necessarily. I’ve run across plenty of higher-end brands that just aren’t impressive.
Quality is clothing that is well constructed, furniture that is sturdy, and a car that won’t breakdown all the time.
That does not translate into a $200 shirt, new furniture from a store you need to make an appointment to enter or a car that costs over $35,000. It does translate into well-sewn seams using good fabric, good joins on furniture (even if it needs refinishing), and a car with a good reliability record.
You won’t waste your money on these types of purchases if they are items you need and will use often. They will last far longer and cost less overall than their low-quality counterparts.
Just as quality helps you spend less over time, so does maintenance. Spending a little money on yearly maintenance should lengthen the life on your home systems, vehicles, and home.
Getting regular tune-ups for your car will help you avoid far more costly repairs. And cleaning out the dryer ductwork a couple times a year could prevent a house fire and help your dryer work more efficiently.
Are you one of the 54% of Americans with eligible vacation time that hasn’t used all, or even most, of it in the past year? Not only is it part of your compensation package, but everyone needs to unplug and relax.
Go see your family, go camping, take a cruise, or do an unplugged staycation. Taking a break from work not only is good for your health but often workers come back and are more productive than they were before vacation.
4. Preventative healthcare
Getting regular checkups is basically a maintenance plan for your body. Getting routine dental and medical checkups can help you make sure you are on-track healthwise and don’t start down a path of poor health that will lead to hefty medical bills.
Spending money on a few co-pays will hopefully help avert costly medications and surgeries. Immunizations and seasonal flu shots could also help keep you at work and out of the doctor’s office.
5. Healthy food
Eating healthy food is also considered preventative health care if you choose to think of it that way. A diet with lots of fruit and vegetables is likely to make your body feel and run better than one with lots of french fries, milkshakes and hot dogs.
Not only that but by spending money on healthy food, you’ll be saving money on healthcare in the long run.
Once you get the hang of shopping for and eating more healthy foods, you may actually find yourself spending less on food.
The public school system is free and in most cases, you don’t need to spend a lot to get a good education.
But, sometimes you do need to spend some money. Investing in a good tutor if your child needs one will be rewarded when he graduates and can find a good job or get into college.
Spending a bit of money to learn a new hobby or new skills is rarely a bad decision. The same is true for spending money to learn another language or another culture.
Shop around for the best options if good free ones are unavailable and make an investment in yourself.
I can’t imagine living without music.
Listening to the radio is fine. But going to live performances breathes life into the music that a stereo can’t replicate. Whether it is season tickets to the symphony or your favorite band is in town, don’t feel guilty for making room in your entertainment budget for music.
Also, spending money on music lessons, if the budget allows, is worthwhile. You learn to make music and can pass down the appreciation (and maybe even the skills) to younger family members.
Books ignite the imagination and can teach new skills. If you find a book you will read several times, reference frequently or use to learn a new skill, then get it and don’t feel bad about it.
Bonus: Good chocolate
This is the most important item in the list. Yep.
If I want to satisfy a chocolate craving, no amount of poorly made chocolate will do. But a square of a good dark chocolate?
I will gladly spend a bit more for a small bit of good chocolate than go cheap with a large bar of not-so-good chocolate.
Managing your money doesn’t mean you need to hoard cash and go cheap all the time. Knowing when and where to spend money is smart.