Personal finance experts are constantly trying to get people to cut back and spend less. If only everyone would pack a brown bag for lunch and cut out the lattes every day there would be no retirement crisis, they tell us.
While I think that lifestyle inflation is an issue for many people when trying to save, there are plenty of areas where it makes sense to shell out some cash. Here are 10 things that are worth the money:
1. A king-sized bed, preferably of the memory foam variety. A king-size bed is one of those things you never realized you couldn’t live without until you had one. Once you try a king-sized bed it becomes nearly impossible to sleep on anything else. It’s like you’re sleeping on your own island. I was skeptical of the memory foam claims, but they’re all true — it’s magical. When you consider how much of your life is spent in bed it becomes clear that paying up for a good mattress is a good investment.
2. A good TV. TV prices continue to fall every single year, but I still think it makes sense to pay for up for a name-brand model. The technology is so good these days that TVs can last you a very long time. The name-brand model may cost you an extra couple hundred dollars, but it’s worth it when you consider the amount of sports, TV shows, movies and streaming that people watch every year (which, if you’re like me, is a lot). My favorite feature from the past few years is the smart TVs that have built-in WiFi that let you pull up Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. with the click of a button. If you use any of these on a regular basis it’s worth it.
3. Guacamole. “Sir, you realize the guac is extra, right?” Yes, yes, yes we all know it’s extra. It’s worth it. Put it on there.
4. A house. There is a caveat here however — I think the idea of buying a starter home is one of the worst moves you can make financially as a younger person. Buying a starter home will likely cost you way more money in the end as opposed to waiting until you’re ready for a more high quality home. Around 70% of your mortgage payments in the first 5 years will go towards interest costs on your loan, so you build up very little equity in a starter home by the time you’re ready to move. Then you end up spending a ton of money trying to fix the place up. And when you do decide to trade-up to a nicer place you end up paying closing costs and realtor fees. In the majority of cases it will prove to be a far better move to rent for a few more years and save enough money until you can afford a nicer house. At that point the pros far outweigh the cons because of the sense of community, place to call your own and the psychic income involved.
5. Vacations. I’ve regretted many purchases in my life but I’ve never regretted spending money on a vacation. Good experiences and memories are always worth paying for.
6. Amazon Prime. Prime just might be one of the best deals on the planet at this point. I’m so spoiled by the 2-day shipping that it feels like an eternity if I ever order anything online from anywhere else. And when you combine the free shipping with Subscribe-and-Save, Prime Pantry, and the 5% cash back Amazon credit card, it’s a wonder anyone ever shops anywhere else. The Prime video service was a throw-in at first but now they have a number of solid shows worth watching, as well.
7. A nice pair of boots. This one is important for me because I live in Michigan where the winters can get pretty nasty. You don’t want to mess around with a cheap pair of boots when things get cold, slushy or snowy. A good pair should last you a number of years so it makes sense to pay up for quality here. A recent favorite pair here that are both durable and fashionable enough with a pair of jeans or khakis.
8. Apple music. I have shoeboxes filled with old CDs I bought back in the day because I liked one or two songs, only to discover that the remainder of the album was terrible. Now I can listen to almost every new album and pick and choose which songs I want to put on a playlist and which ones to never listen to again. And for the cost of a single CD each month — $10/month for an individual or $15/month for a family plan — you can get 40+ million songs through Apple Music. 18-year-old me is so jealous of this service because he’s stuck sifting through his CD tower or lugging around his huge travel case everywhere while trying to buff out all of the scratches on his compact discs. It’s not perfect, but Apple Music is pretty great.
9. Term life insurance. I pay around $20/month for the peace of mind that my family is covered should anything ever happen to me. I’m a relatively young, healthy guy so it’s a little more expensive if you’re older or have health issues. But especially if you have a spouse or children who are dependent on your income it would be crazy to skip out on this one.
10. A dog. My wife and I have spent thousands of dollars on our dog over the past 8-9 years — annual check-ups, haircuts, vaccinations, vet emergency room visits, having teeth pulled, medication, basic health procedures, etc. Every time one of us comes out of the vet with a new bill we’re astonished at how much they charge us. But it’s all been worth it over the years.
Our dog is extremely loyal. No matter how my day goes I know when I walk through the door she is going to go bonkers because I’m home. My toddler loves playing with her. She forces me to get out of the house and take her for walks all the time. It can be a lot of work at first and they can be expensive, but dogs are totally worth it.
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