Last month, I posted a video & blog post about all the things I no longer buy as a minimalist. As I expected, this got a lot of clicks– many people who consume personal finance advice LOVE reading about ways to cut back on spending. I think this is because it’s the type of advice we’re used to; all this latte factor and anti-avocado toast business is easy to internalize when it’s everywhere.
But at the end of the day, money is a tool to improve your life, not something to be stressed about or think about in terms of deprivation. That’s why I wanted to talk today about all the things I actually enjoy spending money on. So let’s get into it! Here are 13 things I LOVE spending money on:
- Fancy dinners – I keep a large budget for eating out because I love food, and I especially love going to some of the high caliber (and sometimes expensive) restaurants around DC, which is a great city for food. I don’t worry about these big meals anymore, because I have the money in my budget and they bring me lots of joy.
- Unfrugal travel – If you don’t know what it means to be “unfrugal,” then watch this video. For the purpose of this item, it simply means that I love travelling in a way where price is not the main concern. Instead, I prefer to focus on experiencing the place I am in. Because I save for travel every single month, I can afford these experiences without so much worry. Just like your budget gives you permission to spend on smaller purchases, your savings give you permission to spend on bigger ticket items, like travel experiences.
- High quality, sustainable clothing – Instead of buying fast fashion on the cheap and contributing to a system that depends on unethical labor, waste, and emissions, I can now afford to purchase clothing that is timeless instead of trendy and will last longer because it is produced to do so. While many sustainable clothing companies are expensive, everyone can purchase sustainably by buying secondhand.
- My students – When I was in debt, I set a standard that I wouldn’t spend money on my classroom. I spent about $40 setting it up, relying heavily on secondhand items or things I already had. And I didn’t throw any class parties or even buy small things like candy every now and then. I forgive myself for these sacrifices given that I owed so much money, but I do regret that this is something I cut out of my budget. Now, I don’t hesitate to get things for my classroom or students, and happily buy food and supplies to give out freely.
- Expensive grocery store items for fancy meals – When I want to try new recipes, I don’t want to skimp at the store. I love buying specialty items, regardless of price, if it’s for an exciting new meal. When I was in debt, I pretty much bought the same items at the grocery store all the time. Now, I love to mix it up and try new, delicious things.
- Things that are both utilitarian & beautiful -This might be stylish and comfortable furniture, versatile and classic clothing, or maybe a beautiful planner that keeps me organized. I am happy to pay the high price for intentionally curating the tools around me to be both utilitarian & beautiful.
- Going out (pre-and-post pandemic) or staying in with friends – In a HCOL area like DC, food, drinks, and Uber’s can add up fast. I’m happy to pay these costs when I want to go out But having friends that you enjoy just staying in with, maybe with a small picnic or a bottle of wine, is just as awesome and way less expensive. Having amazing, supportive friends who I love just talking with means I don’t really have to sacrifice anything on nights when we choose to stay in.
- Concert tickets for my favorite artists – The days of me getting tickets for bands I know one song by are done— not that this was ever a major point of spending. The thing is, I actually *dislike* concerts by artists I don’t care about or don’t know enough songs by. But, for my favorite artists, concerts have been some of the most amazing and formative experiences for me.
- Rent in DC – Yes, it is crazy-expensive to live in DC. As you guys know, my half of the rent is $900, about $400 more than what I paid when I lived in the suburbs. But it’s worth the price in my life. Access is so important to me: being close friends, cultural events, museums, and restaurants has already greatly improved my life. It’s not for everyone, but city life aligns with the lifestyle I want to lead.
- Furniture, artwork, and plants for my apartment – At first I was impatient with making these purchases because we had to do it slowly, month-to-month, in order to cash flow everything. Now I’m kind of enjoying finding the perfect pieces at the right price. Living in a space that feels calming and homey physically changes how I feel about going home.
- Candles – I just love always having a candle or two in the house to make things feel more homey 🙂
- Gas money to visit friends and family – I’ve learned that keeping a margin in my gas budget line each month is key to being able to make longer trips to visit friends and family without ever having to stress about finding money somewhere else in my budget.
- Camping gear – I never thought I was a huge lover of the great outdoors, but have discovered in early adulthood that camping is awesome! Even if it just means getting away, unplugging, getting out in nature and cooking amazing food on a fire. And having the right gear, like a great tent and a cast iron skillet, makes everything so much easier and more enjoyable. And you’d be surprised how affordable you can make it.
I owe my ability to make all of these purchases to the fact that I keep a monthly written budget. Before I started working full time and keeping a budget, these types of purchases either a) weren’t an option for me or b) stressed me out to no end. Now, even with my teacher salary, I’ve been able to make my life more comfortable and enjoyable than ever before.
If you’re ready to change your relationship with money from stressful to abundant, I cannot recommend my Money Map Workbook enough. It has all the exercises that I practice to make sure my money is serving me, rather than me being controlled by my money.
HAPPY spending everyone!