Saving money is important but at some point, you have to wonder, when do I get to enjoy my life? My philosophy is that you should save for retirement and your emergency fund and your long-term goals, but there’s no shame in having a bit of a life. Personal finance should be a balance of reducing costs for things that don’t matter so you have more money for the things that do. Money is a tool – it can be used to bring joy and convenience to our lives and joy and convenience to the lives of our loved ones. I’ve definitely tried reducing costs on boring things like utilities or shopping the sales in order to save money. But I also want to be able to use money.
Here are some products/services I’ve purchased that have been completely worth it.
1. A Roomba
My Bible study, which is filled with 20-somethings, was marvelling at the idea of purchasing a Roomba. Was it worth it?, they asked. Abso-frickin-lutely.
I don’t really mind cleaning but I DETEST vacuuming. Part of it may be that my vacuum was a hand-me-down from my parents and was 20 years old. It wasn’t a great vacuum. But unlike laundry (my favorite chore), decluttering (an ok chore), doing the dishes (a chore I tolerate) or any of a number of other chores, you can’t drown out your boring chore with TV or music. Because I’m not a real adult, I just didn’t vacuum.
Once I bought a Roomba, my place has gotten so much cleaner. My friend noted that after she bought a Roomba, her breathing got much better because the dust was being sucked up more regularly and the Roomba was cleaning up in places where she wouldn’t normally vacuum anyway.
I bought my Roomba on eBay so it was a bit cheaper. But I would buy it again full-price.
I’ve been giving significant sums to charity since I started working. It’s been pretty awesome because 1) I get to help people and 2) I’ve gotten to meet such awesome people by donating and I get a (small) say in the direction of the charity. Plus, giving to charity just gives you such a feeling of love and abundance, the money paid out is given back to me tenfold (what you give, you get back, or thegiveandget, as they say).
3. Cleaning Services
Ok, I’ve already said I bought a Roomba to vacuum. I’m not the cleanest person. I don’t like cleaning all that much. But I do enjoy cleanliness.
I don’t use a cleaning service often because it seems too luxurious but I do use one a few times a year. I still do my own cleaning most of the time. But when the cleaning service comes, it’s something to look forward to. And my stress goes straight down to the perfectly vacuumed ground.
I also purchased a cleaning service for my ex and it not only took away so much of his stress and guilt (because he lived with roommates) but also completely changed his way of thinking. He thought, how odd that the cleaning service would organize my junk mail. Wait, why do I even have junk mail? Why don’t I just throw it away? Bingo! I wish I had given it to him sooner. Then maybe he would have learned not to leave trash in my car….
4. My Bike
This purchase actually saves me quite a bit of money because I commute to work by bike and have gone car-free. Plus, it saves me money on a gym and may save me future health costs because I exercise so often now. More important than the monetary savings. I just love to bike. It makes me feel free and happy.
5. Kitchen Stuff
My Le Creuset dutch oven, Cuisinart knives, and KitchenAid Stand mixer are some of my favorite cooking utensils.
They make cooking so much more fun.
6. An electric toothbrush
No cavities since I purchased one! I bought replacement brushes on eBay, which has greatly reduced the cost of maintaining my teeth. I’ve had the same model for 10 years so yep, Oral-B, it’s a great product.
I’ve heard that the purpose of talking to a therapist is because your friends and family are not objective. They have their own dreams about what you should do, they have motives for wanting you to be a certain way, they have preconceived notions about what you can do. It’s not that your friends and family are bad people or that they expect you to fail, but they know too much about you. An objective third party can help you get a different perspective.
I’ve found that talking to my therapist has really helped me 1) realize I have feelings and emotions and learn to address them; 2) see myself in a different light and see different possibilities. Totally invaluable.
In my 20s, I got monthly massages. I know this sounds ridiculously indulgent but I was always an incredibly tense person. My piano teacher would regularly tell me to relax my shoulders, which were normally right up next to my ears even when I was 12.
Getting regular massages not only helped me relieve stress but it actually helped train my shoulders to fall back. It also helped my neck to stand up. Massage has really helped my posture. In fact, I recall eating with some colleagues where they all made a crack at improving their posture because they were eating with me. Also, people always ask me if I was a dancer as a child. It’s not too bad to be mistaken for someone more graceful than I actually am. Massages restructured my body and changed the way people perceive me. It’s really a small price to pay.
9. My Patio Couch
In my current and past apartments, I’ve had the luxury of a pretty large patio. Surprisingly though, when I look at the other apartments in my complex, many are bare. It could be that the cost of patio furniture can be quite expensive and perhaps people don’t use their patios anyway.
I bought a used Walmart outdoor sectional on Craigslist for about $150 and it is fantastic. It greatly increases my seating space in the summer, has encouraged me to throw more parties to show off my patio (and parties make me so happy) and just encourages me to go outside more often, soaking in that Vitamin D, which we are all so deficient in.
10. Trips to Germany
In a strange twist of fate, I have dated two guys who have at times moved to Germany and I visited both of them. Germany is a lovely country and I guess I can credit it partially for each romantic adventure, as it is the home of so many fairy tales. All travel is memorable and interesting. Germany isn’t even the favorite country I visited, but these were two of my favorite vacations because of the people I saw. Buying the tickets to Germany, totally worth it for the memories.
What expensive purchases have been worth it for you?