It’s good to be frugal by nature. You will likely never get into financial trouble as a result. You will always be able to appreciate things since you’re never buying the best and most expensive stuff. Sometimes, however, it’s good to splurge.
You’ve already read “‘No Point Making Money If You Don’t Spend Your Money“, and I’m sure many of you agree. We work so hard every day for our money, and to just hoard all of it in a bank account is such a crying shame. There is no dearth of ways to make money, so we are actually much more afraid of running out of money than reality.
Time and time again, I see people who’ve been let go find jobs and security again. I’ve seen people invest their life savings in a project, only to lose it all. But, they are still alive and finding ways to live fulfilling lives again.
I get a sense we’re now too cautious with our money. We’ve been permanently scarred by the multiple evaporations of wealth over the past 15 years that we’d rather not spend on some of the most important things that give us happiness and comfort. Look at wealth indicators now vs. 2008. It’s taken 3 years, but on average, we’ve all breached our 2007 highs and some of us, by a lot. This is important since I can’t imagine us going through such a massive downturn like that again, at least for the next 10 years. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to spend your money on things you cherish, like a $1,000 doggie stroller for your beloved Chow Chow named “Bear”!
THINGS TO SPLURGE ON THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR LIFE
* Bed / mattress. You spend a third of your life sleeping. It makes sense to get the absolute most comfortable, most supportive mattress as you can. Go top of the line so that you are fully rested and rejuvenated to have a most productive day. You can get a wonderful queen size mattress for $1,000-$3,000.
* Personal dental care. Buy the absolute best sonic tooth brush you can with all the bells and whistles. You can’t grow back your teeth or your gums. Floss and brush at least twice a week!
* Grocery food. Your body is your temple. If you eat junk, you’re going to start feeling and looking like junk. Your energy, mood, and outlook all are affected by the food you eat.
* A hot trainer. What’s more important than your health? Not much! A hot trainer works you good and teaches you all the right moves to improve your fitness and extend your lifespan. Meredith has been great to me, and I’ve lost 8 pounds in 2 months!
* Home theater system. A 40″+ LCD/LED TVs and a 5:1 high end surround sound system. You’ll never want to spend $25 for two going to the movies ever again with a money home theater system. I spent $2,000 for my sound system and $1,000 for my TV which has paid off in spades since I’ve only gone to the movie theater three times in the past 5 years and have probably seen over 200 movies since. 200 moves X $25 = 5,000!
* Massages. Last year I spent $700 for a year long passage package that consisted of 14 hours. I basically got two hours free if I bought 12, and it was the best $700 I’ve ever spent in my life. It was incredible to just book a massage if I was feeling a little sore, tired, or stressed out. I could also give hours to my friends, clients, or loved ones as well.
* Ski season pass. Tahoe lift tickets cost roughly $80-85 a ticket per day for adults. With season passes averaging about $500, after 7 trips you’ve paid for your pass already. So many times, I’ll go up to Tahoe for 4 days and only ski for two days because I don’t want to spend $85 bucks for a full day when all I can do is board for a couple hours. With a season pass, I can now snowboard for a couple hours a day everyday without thinking about costs.
* Work clothes & shoes. Instead of buying a lot of mediocre quality clothes and shoes, buy only a few items as if you are building a boutique of high quality items. Go for the most finely woven suit and the finest grain leather for your shoes. Sure, you may have to pay 2-3X the average price, but the items will last longer, and you’ll have less clutter.
* Prime property. You want to buy property in the most prime of location. Prices hold up better in a downturn and rise faster in an upturn because there is only a limited supply. Think about prime property as being at the top of a triangle where there’s a huge base that’s looking to always get in. During the downturn, the outskirts of San Francisco fell at one point by 30%+, whereas prime property corrected at most by 10% and are resuming their uptrend again.
* A solid college education. The only people who say a prestigious college education isn’t worth it either can’t afford it or can’t get in. If you get into Harvard, you do whatever you can to attend over Chico State. You’ll look back on your career and be thankful you did because $43,000 a year is actually chump change in the grand scheme of things. Besides, many students get grants and don’t pay the full amount. Don’t let a silly thing like upfront cost deny you the best education possible. Your life, career, and children will thank you!
* A digital camera. Memories are our treasuries, and we can keep our loot always in the front of our minds with pictures. You might as well get the fanciest digital camera with the nicest lense(s) money can buy. What if you missed capturing that moving target crisply because your shutter speed was too slow? Don’t you want to accurately capture that moment in all its honestly instead of having bleached images due to lack of functionality?
* Vacations. Many of us up until retirement are unfortunately confined to at most 6-8 weeks of vacation a year. It’s taken me 10+ years to regularly get 6 weeks of paid vacation after only getting 2 weeks when I first started. Given vacation time is rare, we should spend the most on them. We shouldn’t skimp by not spending 60 Euros for the all day hop-on-hop-off bus pass to see Rome. We shouldn’t try and save money by getting an indoor cruise cabin instead of one with a balcony. I say go on that helicopter tour in Kauai, an spend the money to go swim with the dolphins in the Bahamas. Get that 28-day dry-aged rib-eye with that vintage pinot noir for two. We spend 80-90% of the year working. We should maximize the time when we are not.
* Safety. Let’s say you’re working super late one night and the neighborhood your office is in turns sketchy after 10pm. Instead of walking several blocks to wait for the bus, call a cab to pick you up! Although I’ve recently had some issues with my insurance company, it’s worth getting as much coverage as you can afford – ideally, full coverage. Health insurance, auto insurance, property insurance, personal liability insurance, and an umbrella policy are all recommended. You never know what will happen and you want peace of mind, especially if you have a family. Just be vigilant by not getting overcharged.
IDENTIFY THE THINGS IMPORTANT TO YOU!
It’s important we identify things that are most important to us and spend accordingly. For the most part, I always recommend buying less and focusing on quality. All that stuff you’ve accumulated over the years that you don’t use is because you didn’t buy the nicest alternative. What’s your list of must splurge things?
RESOURCES FOR A BETTER LIFE
Manage Your Finances In One Place: The best way to build wealth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where I’m spending my money.
The best feature is their 401K Fee Analyzer which is saving me over $1,000+ a year in portfolio fees I didn’t know I was paying. The future is never going to be certain. But at the very least, we can stay on top of our money so we’re prepared for whatever comes at us. Personal Capital only takes a minute to sign up and it’s free. No other tool has helped me reach financial independence more than Personal Capital
Negotiate A Severance Package: Never quit your job, get laid off instead if you want to move on. Negotiating a severance package provided me with six years worth of living expenses to help me focus on my online media business. Check out my book, How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Good-bye. The book provides solid strategies for how you too, can escape a job you hate with money in your pocket.
Updated for 2018 and beyond. Time to live it up a little now that we’ve fully recovered from the financial meltdown.