In my life and in the work I do with clients, one thing is for sure: Spending wisely, is something only about half of us implement with any real success.
Then there are those at the extreme end of frugal. This is not something I agree with, unless you are on the poverty line or struggling with large amounts of debt. I’ve seen some so-called ‘frugality experts’ claim a win after they saved 50c on an item after driving an extra 20 minutes to get to the shop that had it cheaper.
Unless you place zero value on your time, this is absurd.
So I thought I’d break it down and share some of the areas my partner Tash and I spend money on that allow us to spend more time doing the things we love. They are investments that free our time and help us get more out of life.
Here are five areas in our lives where we believe we’re spending wisely on the things that really matter. Hopefully this list will help you too.
1. Get a cleaner
Ever heard about those people who clean up before the cleaner comes? Crazy… Our cleaner is more likely to ask us if we remembered they were coming this week, because even they weren’t expecting to walk into what they saw!
There was a time after our baby arrived where for the first time in quite a few years, we didn’t have a cleaner. At that time, having Tash at home and me working remotely meant we could manage it. Otherwise, we have always spent around $120 a fortnight for a nice couple to come in and make the place spotless.
When managed right, this a great example of spending wisely. A cleaner is someone who can free your time to focus on more important items.
You might think that this is a luxury and a waste of money because cleaning an apartment isn’t that difficult. You’re right, it’s not that difficult, but in our lives, and I’m pretty sure in yours too, you can do far more valuable things with your time.
2. Invest in travel
Money spent on travel is not wasted. As long as you’re learning, seeing somewhere new, or getting some valuable downtime. It’s an investment in you and definitely ticks the spending wisely box.
Find somewhere new and exciting, plan it out and make it happen.
3. Buy a decent mattress
When I was at uni my parents helped me out with a bed and a mattress. Tash and I met, we moved from Newcastle to Brisbane, then to Sydney and the trusty mattress followed. It outlasted two or three bedframes and was finally turfed after 12 years.
When we finally came to replacing it we dropped about $2000 (on sale) on a human sleeping cloud. This thing is phenomenal. If I hurt my back surfing, I wait until bedtime, jump in and presto, all sorted. It’s literally like having an in-house physio and is definitely money well spent.
There is a huge chunk of your life spent in bed, don’t skimp on this.
If you haven’t read Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution, then you really should. The benefits of getting proper, deep sleep are lifelong and the right mattress might just be the thing you need to lift your outlook on life, or just give you the best rest ever.
4. Pay the delivery fee
Often delivery is free and it pays to do a quick shop around online as often there will be one provider using free delivery as a drawcard. If it’s not, it doesn’t mean you should drive the 10 minutes, wait another 10 minutes and burn half an hour to save a few dollars to bring home a lukewarm green curry.
Your time is valuable, so the more you can have someone else delivering random things to your doorstep the better.
5. Invest in self-education
Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune – Jim Rohn
Actively pursuing further education in an area that interests you is one of the best examples of spending wisely that I have. It also doesn’t have to cost much.
In high school I think I only ever read the books that were given to us for assignments. Throughout uni, the only book I read apart from textbooks was Richard Branson’s Losing my Virginity, another cracker.
Since then I’ve found the love of reading and have probably upped my average to about 10 per year. I’d read more if I could find the time.
It could be reading more, watching TED talks, taking short courses, learning a new skill, or something out of your comfort zone. There are a billion investments you can make in yourself that when utilised for enjoyment, different perspective or a new opportunity, will likely be worth the dollars spent.
WARNING – IT’S NOT ALWAYS AN INVESTMENT
When reviewing the items above and others in your life, be a little careful. Lots of advice out there states that you should calculate your hourly rate and if the cost you’re weighing up for a cleaner for example is less, then it’s a no-brainer.
I’m not entirely in agreement with this. As a financial adviser, I could say I charge out at $350 per hour, so every minute is worth nearly $6. The issue here (unfortunately for me!) is not all my time is spent earning that rate. Some of it is family time. I also surf, sleep, eat and use the bathroom. This diminishes my hourly rate and hence my benefit of giving someone else the work.
This allocation of cash flow is an area we help a lot clients work through. How do you plug the money solution in, that works to give you more of the life you desire?
The lesson; don’t spend in areas that don’t add value to your life, but critically evaluate areas where spending wisely might help.
This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on Sufficient Funds and is republished here with permission. This article contains general information only. This should not be relied on as independent finance or tax advice. If you are after specific professional advice, speak to your registered tax agent/financial advisor or reach out to James at Sufficient Funds.