5 things I’m glad I spent money on

If you spend any time on websites dedicated to the frugality side of personal finance, you may get the idea that it’s bad to ever spend any money. The truth is that its all about surplus money – how much you are earning beyond what you are spending. This surplus is what allows you to get rich, retire, or do anything beyond simply paying non-discretionary bills. You can affect this equation on either side – by raising your income, lowering your expenses, or both.

The frugality blogs and websites tend to focus mostly on lowering spending, because anybody can do it, and most people have some easy low-hanging fruit in their monthly spending.

The problem is that a constant focus on lowering spending can lead to an attitude where spending almost any money is painful, and this can handicap your ability to be truly financially independent. The solution is to not ONLY focus on cutting costs, but also to figure out what things you SHOULD spend money on. Sometimes these items might have a positive net cost (meaning they bring in or save money beyond what you spent to buy it), or they provide utility that is disproportionately large compared to what it costs to procure.

Sort of the opposite of buyer’s remorse, sometimes you will buy something that you use so often, or performs so well, that you feel like you got an incredible deal. These items will be different for each person as our interests, needs, and lifestyles are all unique.

Following are a few completely random items where I feel I’ve got way more than my money’s worth over the years:

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Money CAN buy you happiness

 I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “money can’t buy you happiness”.  I don’t really like using the word “happiness” in this context, because it doesn’t really fully represent what people are trying to say then they repeat this saying.

Happiness is more or less a fleeting emotion, and isn’t necessary 100% of the time to have a fulfilling, amazing life.

I enjoying playing adult kickball and I am super competitive (laugh all you want, that shit is serious). When my team loses a game, I can’t honestly describe my emotional state for the next few hours as ‘happy’. But at the same time, I am not depressed or miserable and I am still content and satisfied with most aspects of my life. You don’t need to be ‘happy’ 100% of the time. You can’t be, really.

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Should you try to save money or make money?

If you have been reading this site, and are a self-motivated human being, you probably have decided you want to own your time; to own your life. The most basic key to a lifestyle of freedom is to self-sufficiency – to be able to take care of your basic needs without having to be a slave.  Despite what many people will try to tell themselves, money is the best path to this kind of self-sufficiency. Not riches, but money. Enough money to take care of your basic necessities so that you how you spend you time is a choice. Some still choose to work for somebody else, and that’s fine – but it is a CHOICE. You have no idea how much easier it is to go into work when you know you really don’t have to.

And for those of us who want to be totally free from the job paradigm, obviously income is needed for that. Like I said above, you don’t need riches, but you do need money. No matter how frugally you choose to live, it is the source of your income that determines if you are free or not.

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