Spending more than you earn is a problem. And, it’s easy to look at debt amounts and realize when something needs to change. On the opposite end there are super savers, saving more than 20% of their income. There are a lot of benefits to building financial independence; however, saving too much money may be a problem as well. Do you fear spending money? Do you avoid spending money at the expense of your health or happiness? This year especially has taught us that we won’t always have the opportunity to go on that dream trip, see a Broadway show or see a sports game. We’ve seen firsthand how many people and businesses are struggling and that we’re in a position to help. Here are 7 reasons why it’s OK to spend money.
Your Favorite Small Businesses May Not Be Around In A Year
This year has been incredibly difficult on small businesses. Many of them had to close for months and are struggling to barely get by, if they’re even still open now. According to a small business survey by PNAS the median firm with over $10,000 expenses a month only had enough cash to last roughly 2 weeks. Small Business for America’s Future polled 1,500 people and 34% said they can’t make it to the end of the year without some help from the government.
That restaurant or bakery you only go to for special occasions or a rare treat? They may not be open when that special occasion comes around. Now more than ever small businesses need our help to stay in business. With the high unemployment numbers many people can’t afford to support local businesses right now. If you’re employed and have some spare cash any business you can give to local businesses will help them avoid closure.
Your Health Is Priceless… And, Being Proactive About Your Health Will Always Be Cheaper
It is always ok to spend money on your health. A healthier diet cost $1.50 a day more than an unhealthy diet on average. This ends up being $550 a year. An unhealthy diet is one of the leading causes of poor health and accounts for up to 45% of cardiometabolic diseases. Now, more than ever it’s important to be in your best shape. Obesity and diabetes are two of the highest risk factors for disease severity and mortality rates now.
There are also plenty of benefits attributed to regularly working out. Gym memberships may even be partially covered by your health insurance driving the cost down.
Don’t feel guilty about the money you spend on your health and staying healthy. It may seem like an area to cut costs but don’t lose sight of the long term high costs of being unhealthy. Your life literally could depend on it.
Your Charitable Contribution May Change A Life
In 2018 an estimated 1 in 9 Americans were food insecure which amounts to over 37 million Americans including 11 million children. If these 11 million children weren’t going hungry, what would they be able to accomplish at school? Unemployment is high right now, and there are countless stories of how long food bank lines are now. Helping these families during these incredibly difficult times makes a huge difference. And, you can possibly quadruple the impact of your charity donation with these simple steps.
Charity Choices shares some statistics on charitable giving in the United States. For example, they share the average adult gave $1,050 and the average household gave $2,030 in 2014. They also found that on average Americans give 2.1% of their disposable income to charity. Now, think about your own charitable giving and consider the amount of money you spend on yourself and your savings rate. Can you afford to give a little more?
You Can Always Make More Money But You Can’t Make More Time
The F.I.R.E. movement (financial independence retire early) talks about making sacrifices now so you can become financially independent and retire early. You either work a ton to make more money early or become frugal so that you can retire on less (or perhaps both!). Sacrifices you make in your 20s do pay off in your 20s and beyond. But, you’ll never get that time back. What are you giving up so that you save money?
Everyone gets 168 hours a week. If you get the recommended 8 hours / night of sleep you’re down to 112 hours. If you work and commute a total of 50 hours / week you’re now down to 62 hours a week. In that 62 hours you have to shower, eat meals, run errands, workout, take care of kids / dog (if you have them). The more responsibilities you have the faster that “free time” dwindles.
Map out your week. How many hours each week you truly have as free time when you’re not working, sleeping, eating, showering, taking care of kids, etc. Now, how much is each of those hours worth for you?
Now, this doesn’t mean to “YOLO” and rack up a ton of debt outsourcing things you don’t enjoy like cleaning and traveling the world. But, you shouldn’t act like money is finite and time isn’t. Just like you create financial goals and plans create plans to manage your time. It’s much easier to make more money than it is to buy more time.
Opportunities Don’t Last So Take Advantage While You Can
You shouldn’t act like every single opportunity will only come by one time. If you can’t go to a dream destination next year you can likely save up for a few years and go at that time. There are certain situations though that will only last for so long, or will only happen once and you should think harder if it’s worth skipping these moments because you want to FIRE.
It’s a lot cheaper to go on vacation with a bunch of friends in your 20s- rent a house, carpool because you all live close together. People grow up, they move away, they have kids. You may be in a financially better situation in your 30s but the opportunity to travel with a huge group of friends cheaply may not be there anymore. This doesn’t mean spend like YOLO, but you shouldn’t say no to a once in a lifetime trip to save $500. Especially if spending that money won’t put you in debt and there are plenty of ways to travel for less.
If you absolutely love a band or love a sports team go to their concert or go to a game. You don’t have to buy the most expensive ticket to get the experience. It’s just as exciting being in the cheapest seat in the house as it is being up front and center. You still saw the concert or sports team live.
If Pictures Are Worth 1,000 Words What Are Experiences Worth?
11% of Americans have never traveled outside their home state. 40% of those questioned have never left the country according to Forbes. International travel helps broaden your creativity, become aware of other cultural values and helps you develop a broader view.
There are plenty of free attractions, including these free attractions across America. Even if the cost of the experience itself is free, often you need to spend money to get there. It’s ok to spend money on experiences that will enrich your life.
Items That Bring You Joy
For years I wanted a quilted Burberry jacket. I convinced myself I couldn’t afford it (I could have) and I needed to invest that money. When I finally bought it (on sale!) I loved it and frequently wear it every spring and summer. I’ve now had it for almost 4 years and it’s still in near perfect condition. I’m sure I’ll have it for at least a decade, if not longer. Looking back, what was the point of delaying this purchase? I still needed a jacket so I bought a jacket I didn’t love instead of this. I ended up spending more money than if I had just bought the jacket I really wanted in the first place! Sometimes by delaying a purchase you end up saving money- for example not having a car for a few years- but in this case I just delayed joy.
Obviously there is a limit to this. If the purchase will put you in debt you should go with something that brings you less joy and is much cheaper or wait to buy. Feeling guilty after buying something expensive is completely normal. Remind yourself that you shouldn’t feel guilty on buying expensive things you can afford that bring you joy.
A Reminder That It’s OK To Spend Money Summary
When you’re a super saver, you may have a fear of spending money. Remember, tomorrow is never guaranteed. So, make sure to enjoy the moments you live today. Set goals for how much you want to save, how much debt you want to tackle this year, how much you want to invest. Automate your savings directly from your paycheck into your savings account so any money in your checking account you’re free to spend. Once you’ve hit those goals, don’t feel guilty about spending money.