Things that are good for you are generally good for your wallet. Now, I don’t mean things that bring you momentary or instant gratification (i.e. cupcakes, shoes, new cars, etc.). I’m talking about habits, routines, consistent behaviors that are good for you NOW, and actually better for your wallet in the LONG run.
Generally, you’d expect a financial counselor to say, “no, don’t spend, save your money, do it yourself.” Although that’s certainly true for many things, let’s challenge some conventional wisdom on other things. Here are some places that you wouldn’t think a financial counselor (me) would advise people (you) to spend money, but it is actually better for you now and better for your wallet in the long run if you spend it now:
- Good for your body/health (disability, pain and poor health are expensive):
- Good for your relationship (There’s almost nothing more expensive than divorce):
- Good for your family (Stressed out parents, spend on silly things like take-out and endless activities):
a. Get a sitter so you can go to the store alone and cook actual meals
b. Get a trainer or gym membership so you exercise and have a healthier lifestyle,
c. Get help mowing the lawn or cleaning gutters if you’re risking injury or irritating your back or knees
a. Get couples therapy if you think it has a chance of helping your relationship,
b. Go on date nights or weekends away
c. Get a dog walker or housecleaner or any other household help if it relieves marital stress
a. Get help at pick up time so you’re not running home (and getting take-out because you’re late) to get the kids.
b. Get a house cleaner if it keeps you from screaming your head off and feeling guilty later (guilt=buying stuff)
c. Get a sitter so you can run errands alone and not overspend buying things to busy your kids at the store.
All of the ‘purchases’ listed above should in the long run, cost less than the alternative of doing it yourself with no help. However, getting a sitter any time you have to buy band-aids at the store is not a good choice. You still have to work as hard as you usually do to consolidate chores, make lists, and plan ahead.
I have seen with my clients that generally, if parents are less stressed, if couples get time for themselves and most of all, if one person can do some planning for meals, activities, and vacations, a LOT less money gets spent and wasted. In order to get that time for focus and planning, you may need to spend some money at the outset on a sitter, a cleaner, a tutor or a therapist, but it’s worth it.