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In the personal finance blogosphere, saving money and being frugal is highly encouraged.
After years of following this advice there comes a point when you actually reach your goal.
A strange phenomenon occurs when you reach your financial goal line.
Because saving money and living frugally has become so ingrained into your psyche, it almost becomes a mental obstacle that you must hurdle before you feel comfortable spending money again.
If you feel guilty of spending money after saving it, you are not doing it right and not enjoying life.
Accumulating money for the sake of accumulating money should not be the goal.
Using your accumulated money to bring happiness to you and your loved ones is what we should all be striving for.
So at a certain point the purse strings that have been pulled tight during the accumulation phase need to be loosened.
In order to lessen your guilt, or perhaps eliminate it entirely, I thought it would be beneficial to list some categories of expenditure where I feel spending money is not only okay to do so, but also encouraged.
The following categories are not in any particular order or ranking.
The importance of each category may vary depending on the individual and you certainly do not need to spend money in each one in order to have a great life.
Money spent on experiences.
Life is meant to be experienced, preferably with loved ones.
Unlike materialistic things that soon get outdated/become obsolete or broken, a memorable experience can last a lifetime.
When I finally started enjoying life and traveling I had no problems spending money on myself and my travel companion(s) to extricate the greatest joy from that particular moment.
On a scale from roughing it to being pampered, I like to hover on the pampered side.
I therefore have no qualms dropping money on experiences that take it to the next level of luxury.
I have spent extra money so that my hotel suite in Bali had a private swimming pool attached.
That vacation created memories that my fiancee and I still cherish to this day.
Not once do I think about what could have been if I did not use that extra cash for those upgrades, had invested it instead, and what it might have grown to.
You know you have reached the level of having enough when every expenditure does not cause you to do mental calculations of future cash value.
I try to do something over the top with every trip I have taken now that I can afford to do so.
Money spent on food.
It is no surprise to my long term readers that I have a love for food.
One of my favorite dining activities is going to a wine-pairing dinner where the chef and sommelier combine to create a truly memorable experience for the participants.
These dining events typically carry a premium but it is something I am happy to pay for because it is for something that I know I could not recreate on my own.
One of the most memorable, and most expensive to date, dining experiences was with my now fiancee in Washington DC when we attended FinCon in 2019.
The absolute gastronomical highlight of that particular trip was dining at Minibar.
I first heard of Minibar by chef Jose Andres when I saw the restaurant featured by celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern.
Minibar is a renowned 2-star Michelin restaurant that specializes in “molecular gastronomy.”
Because there are only 2 evening services seating around 20 each, getting a reservation can sometimes be tricky but I was able to secure two when the date first got released by the restaurant.
[Minibar has an interesting reservation policy: Coveted reservation spots are “released” the first Monday each month with a 60 day rolling window.]
Already an expensive dining experience at $295/person, I decided I really wanted to indulge and opted for the premium wine pairing add-on, which added another $195/person.
It was by far the most incredible meal I have ever eaten, appealing to every sense.
Having world-class chefs preparing, plating, and then serving your food just a few feet away from you really took it to another level.
Having each ingredient explained and why a particular glass of wine was paired with a particular course made me feel like a true gourmand.
After gratuity, I believe the bill neared $1500 for the two of us.
Again the memory from that day still stays with me and I truly felt that it was money well spent.
Another category of food that we should not skimp on is healthy food.
We all know that healthy food carries a higher price tag, especially if it is organic or if it is gluten-free.
However if you typically have GI issues from eating less expensive food, the premium for minimizing them is certainly justifiable.
Much like building wealth, eating healthy is a long game.
You may not immediately notice the effects from healthy eating but your future self can benefit from doing so tremendously.
It truly is a shame that the foods that are inexpensive, especially at fast food restaurants, are often the least healthy for you.
In the long run cheap food can cost you more as your are more likely to suffer health problems such as high cholesterol, atherosclerotic disease, obesity, etc.
Money spent on your relationship.
Having a partner in life really makes life worth living.
I know I would not enjoy vacationing or eating out if I did not have someone to share that experience with.
With the right person, the sum can truly be greater than the individual parts.
It is a great feeling knowing you have someone in your corner, someone who has your back.
If you feel that you have won the lottery with your partner you truly are blessed.
Unfortunately too many people fall into a rut and take each other for granted.
Everyone wants to feel special, and not just on those commercialized holidays when society dictates you have to.
Money spent on your partner, whether it be date night at a romantic restaurant, a weekend getaway, flowers, or my favorite, lingerie, is money well spent and the rewards reaped from these expenses far outweighs the cost.
It is incredibly sad, and incredibly ironic, when you hear of people who have concentrated so much on building their net worth that they neglect everything else, including their partner, only to find themselves losing half of everything because of a divorce.
Couples counseling, if needed, certainly qualifies as a worthwhile expenditure and can save you far more money in the long run.
Money spent on education.
I think most physicians agree that, for now, the upfront cost of obtaining a medical degree is justified because of the higher income that comes with it.
It would be hard to go into a field that requires the time and monetary commitment that medicine does if there was no financial payout in the end.
Other areas where spending money on education can save you more money in the long run is by taking courses that can improve your finances (financial courses, finance books).
Money spent on your self-improvement.
Spending money for classes that improve your life is also a worthwhile expenditure in my book.
While these courses may not improve your finances, they do improve your self-esteem which is priceless.
Clubs such as Toastmasters have reasonable membership cost and provide opportunities for improving certain facets of your life such as public speaking.
Other courses can help you obtain a skill that can result in a side gig or hobby, such as classes in photography or cooking.
These skills are vital to fill the void created when you are no longer working and enjoying your golden years.
Money spent on your health.
You really do not want to cut corners when it comes to your personal health.
We are only gifted one body for this trip and it behooves us to take care of it as best as possible.
If the only way you are motivated to exercise is with a personal trainer, well that expense is well worth it if the alternative is you just sitting on your couch and becoming deconditioned.
Similarly health club fees or personal gym equipment are justifiable expenditures if you indeed make use of them.
As mentioned above, having your body in the best physical state now gives you the best chance to enjoy your golden years later on.
Vitamins and supplements can add up in cost but are worth it to avoid potential nutritional deficiencies.
Money spent on your safety.
There are times when a cheaper alternative is more than adequate.
Items regarding your safety, however, do not qualify as one of those times.
No amount of money saved is worth forgoing safety, such as purchasing a questionable vehicle or forgoing routine car maintenance.
There are some items, such as an infant car seat, where it is safer to buy new than second hand (you never know if the car seat was involved in a previous accident and had its structure compromised or just routine wear/deterioration with time).
After decades of saving people may find it difficult to open up the purse strings and start spending.
Money is meant to be spent, hopefully on things that bring lasting enjoyment.
You cannot take your net worth with you when you leave this planet and no one wants to be the richest person in the cemetery.
The above spending categories are only suggestions where spending more money is worthwhile.
As long as it brings you happiness you should not feel any guilt when spending your hard earned dollars.
If you are in search of financial help, please consider enlisting the service of any of the sponsors of this blog who I feel are part of the “good guys and gals of finance.”
Even a steadfast DIY’er can sometimes gain benefit from the occasional professional input.
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