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5 Things We Should Spend More Money On, And 5 Things We Should Not

5 Things We Should Spend More Money On, And 5 Things We Should Not

Imagine that you are sitting on the front porch of your house sipping lemonade with your family on a warm summer’s night. You sit back and reminisce with them about how you… bought the newest HG TV?

Materialistic gratification only lasts so long. It is said that our brains adapt to  happiness. With materialistic things buying our happiness, we are successful for a brief moment. New things will lose their shine and we will lose our interest.

Instead of spending your money on things that will eventually be obsolete, try spending it on something that will make lasting memories. Memories become a part of our lives forever and help make us who we are. The good experiences will forever stay good in your mind forever and the bad ones turn into a funny anecdote in the future.

Below is a list of 5 things you should spend less money on and 5 things you should spend more money. Use these tips to save money so that you can spend it on experiences that will enrich the lives of you and those around you.

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5 Things you shouldn’t spend too much money on:

1. Electronics

Electronics in this day and age are almost a necessity, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend money to get the newest thing. The shiny new feeling of your devices are very short lived and it is almost guaranteed that there will be a newer and better model of the whatever device you own within the next year.

2. Home Decor Fads

There will always be a new popular theme to decorate your home with. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get the signature look you see in the magazine; there are always do it yourself ways to achieve the same look. You can make it an experience and a time to bond with friends and family.

3. Cars

Keeping up with the newest car models is not a smart lifestyle unless you can pay each of them off by the time the next model comes out. This is a way to get you into a never ending hole of debt. You will never have the title in your hands if you keep trading your car (half paid off) for this current year’s model (which probably cost more).

4. Newest Fashion

You don’t have to feel guilty about giving into buying new clothes, bags and shoes once in a while. But when it gets to the point where you are trying to get each new bag or pair of shoes for about $300 plus dollars, maybe you should skip out on one of these and save the money for something else. There is always going to be a new fad and there is no point on spending all your hard earned money and losing precious closet space on it.

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5. Jewelry

Fancy jewelry is nice to have for formal occasions, at the office and when dancing on your night out. If you can afford to buy a two thousand dollar watch, good job. For the rest of us, there is a fine line between accessorizing and going into debt for shiny things.

5 Things you should spend more money on:

1.Education

There isn’t another feeling in the world that can compare to the feeling of starting to understand another language without thinking about it. Though some language classes are very pricey, they are worth it. Taking classes on different cultures, religion and different professions will open your mind to a whole different world.

It does not mean you need to convert your religion or change your job. It will simply mean that you have walked into a classroom with an open mind and have added the things you have been taught to your vault of knowledge. You may never know when it can come in handy.

2.Traveling

Traveling can be pricey at times, but it creates memories that last a life time- even the bad experiences. Typically we all laugh about the bad experiences later on in life. One trip to Europe can cost someone the same as good laptop and the long trips can cost less than a car you don’t really need but want.

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Trade all those materialistic things in for a night under the Northern Lights, a kiss on the Eiffel Tower, or a long journey backpacking through the Alps.

3.Music

Learning to play an instrument is a great start to a new tradition in your family. You can pass this down to your children and make new memories. That is, of course, after you have told them about the ones you have when you learned to play.

You can also venture out and spend about a dollar or two to take a chance on a new genre. Who knows, you could end up with a couple (or a couple hundred) songs added to your music library.

4.Books

Book are always going to be something different with each reader that turns its’ pages. It is a completely different experience using your imagination to put the author’s words into images in your head. Books won’t ever require you to turn them on, charge them or restart them. They are things you can pass down from generation to generation.

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It is a much different experience to sit somewhere, with a book in hand, with absolutely no distractions. Books are portals to explore completely different worlds with a turn of a page.

5.Food

Trying new food goes hand in hand with traveling the world. Instead of spending a few hundred on a bag, save it for some great food when out and about. Take some cooking classes on food from different cultures. In Italy, they offer cooking classes at a vineyard. You can learn from an Italian chef how to create a great meal. It is something you can take back home with you and teach friends and family.

There are several chocolatiers in Belgium that are worth spending the extra dime to appreciate a perfectly crafted truffle.

Remember…put your money into things that will create memories over the instant materialistic things. You don’t have to spend all of it on creating memories but if you do, it won’t be something you regret.

Featured photo credit: Packs/ PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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