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If you love saving money as much as I do, it might be your policy to spend as little as possible whenever possible. Trust me, I know how you feel.
Once you’ve adopted a frugal lifestyle and started to reap the rewards, spending a lot of money on any one thing can feel like a personal failure. I’m here to tell you, though, as one tightwad to another, there are things worth splurging on.
Travel is one of those experiences for which there are no substitutes. There’s simply nothing like getting out of your comfort zone and visiting somewhere new.
I recommend seeing as much of the world as you can, as often as you can, for as long as you can. Don’t wait until you retire – the time is now. You never know what the future holds, and you can’t ever get back lost time. If you’re lucky enough to have your health today, go ahead and take advantage of it.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Traveling sounds great, but it’s just so expensive.
Sure, it can be. But lucky for you, there are ways to travel for cheap.
For starters, you can save thousands on travel by leveraging credit card rewards! In fact, my family has traveled the world for pennies on the dollar using these awesome perks.
Basically, it works like this: You apply for the card and get a generous sign-up bonus when you make your first purchase or meet a certain minimum spend in the first few months. Then, you earn points on every purchase.
Some cards offer extra points on certain spending categories (e.g. travel, groceries). When you’ve accumulated enough points, you redeem them to cover your flights and/or accommodations and take a sweet trip!
Because some of the sign-up bonuses are so large, it doesn’t take long to accrue enough points to shave hundreds (or even thousands) off the cost of travel. Chase rewards offer some of the most lucrative rewards around, and they happen to be my favorite. However, American Express, Citi, Barclay’s, and more all have programs that can benefit your travel plans.
Bottom line, traveling is worth splurging on. And with the help of credit card rewards, you can do it for a lot less than you think.
You can save a ton of money in the short-term by eating instant noodles every day – but I wouldn’t recommend it (and neither would your doctor).
When it comes to food, it’s worth splurging on the healthy stuff.
No, I don’t mean spending a fortune on pre-made salads and meal kits, or on buying a bunch of ingredients you don’t know how to use. I mean creating a healthy meal plan, making a shopping a list, and sticking to that list.
Yes, fresh fruits and vegetables cost more than processed crap. They’re also exponentially better for you.
Here’s the thing: You can save a few bucks by skimping on the quality of your food, but over the long-term, your health will suffer. You’ll end up spending at least that much on medical bills, instead. So don’t do it, ok?
A good mattress
Just like it’s worth spending a little extra on healthy groceries, it’s worth splurging on a good quality mattress.
I’m not talking about a fancy bedroom set. If you’re trying to save money, you don’t need a cherry wood headboard and a matching nightstand. What you do need, what everyone needs, is a supportive mattress that will allow you to get a solid night’s sleep.
Sleep is just as important to your health as eating right, and if you’ve ever suffered long-term sleep deprivation, you know what a toll poor sleep can take on your quality of life.
The right mattress can help you sleep better and prevent back pain. It might cost a little more than the cheapest alternative, but a good quality mattress will also last longer, so you won’t need to replace it as soon.
When it comes to your health, don’t cut corners. That includes making sure you get the best possible sleep. Invest in a good mattress – your back will thank you.
Continuing with the health theme, don’t try to save money by skipping visits to the doctor or dentist.
Depending on your insurance situation, these visits can be expensive. I’m not gonna lie, that sucks. But it’s almost always easier to prevent a health problem than it is to treat it. So you’re much better off staying on top of your healthcare than waiting until something is really wrong to address it.
If you see a dentist every year for regular cleanings and check-ups, you’ll probably catch any dental problems before they become serious. You’ll also benefit from the regular advice of a professional and hopefully, establish healthy oral care habits.
If you don’t go to the dentist for three years and then develop a nasty dental problem, it’s going to cost you a ton to get it fixed.
Honestly, gambling with your health isn’t worth it. Shell out the money for regular healthcare; you won’t regret it.
If you’re a self-professed cheapskate (or even if you’re just trying to make sensible financial decisions), you probably hope not to replace your car for a long time.
If that’s the case, I have two words for you: regular maintenance.
You know how we talked about not skimping on regular medical and dental check-ups? Well, think of maintenance as check-ups for your car.
The same principle applies: It’s a lot cheaper to prevent a serious repair than it is to actually fix one.
So, if you want to keep your car on the road for years to come, make sure you get regular oil changes and an annual inspection. You don’t have to go to an expensive dealership, but do make sure you go to a reputable and certified mechanic.
There are tons of great ways to cut costs and save money, and I all for trying many of them. These five things? They’re not on the list.
Even the cheapest among us should splurge a little when it comes to traveling, taking care of our health, and maintaining our cars. In a lot of cases, investing a little money in the short -term will actually save you money over the long-run. You’ll also enjoy a higher quality of life, and it’s hard to put a price on that.
Greg Johnson is a personal finance and frugal travel expert who leveraged his online business to quit his 9-5 job, spend more time with his family, and travel the world. He is the co-owner of the popular blog Club Thrifty, where he teaches others how to spend less and travel more.
14 thoughts on “Five Things Even Cheap People Should Splurge On”
I really cant argue about any of these points. We don’t go away all the time but when we do they are top notch. I don’t think travel is something people should cheap out on. The points in the U.s are way higher than ours here though, i wish we had that. Food is something im guilty of and tend to try to cheap out.
The mattress is huge though. Before I cared about money I lived in a bachelor pad and bought a $2,000 mattress. I think it helped the cause, haha girls slept over more! Me and my wife still have it now and want to upgrade to a king size bed but don’t want to lose this mattress and I’m to cheap to spend 2k on a mattress now. Queen it is! This thing is super comfortable..
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That must be some mattress by the way you speak of it. $2K does sound like a lot for a mattress but I guess you can amortize the expense over the years you own it. As long as it’s good, keep it. Seems like it has some sentimental value as well 🙂 I know everyone loves a deal or wants to buy things ‘on the cheap’ but sometimes it’s just worth the extra expense for additional peace of mind, comfort or experience. As always, I appreciate your comment.
It’s funny how some people can try and do everything on the cheap to save money, so that perhaps one day they can… not do some things on the cheap? Agree with all 5 – you can also still save money on good quality groceries if you’re smart.
I only wish my parents had the foresight to spend more on their children’s dental care – fixing is definitely far more expensive than prevention… just like the car…
Frankie @ Fully Franked Finance recently posted…Fund Performance Update – Miserable March 2018
You bring up a good point about preventative care, whether it’s for yourself or your possessions spending time and money on preventative maintenance can save a lot of money in the long run. The bottom line is that it’s a very personal choice if one decides to save or splurge on certain things. We all have our own set of priorities and only over time can we know if those priorities were arranged in the proper order. Thank you for commenting.
This is a pretty good list and even being pretty frugal, I agree. We practically took out a second mortgage to by a sleep number bed. It was some of the best money we ever spent. You can’t underestimate the power of a good night of sleep. Tom
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A good night sleep can do wonders for the mind and body. There are just some things that are worth splurging on even if it might make a serious dent in one’s budget. I had no idea those sleep number beds were that pricey. As always, I appreciate your comment.
Great list, I agree with all of the points. I really wish healthy eating were cheaper. I read about others who are spending just a couple hundred per month on a family of four, but I spend several times that for a family of two – because we eat mainly paleo and organic, which can be expensive.
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I don’t think healthy eating will ever become cheap until it reaches a massive scale like other food products. That being said, one can still eat ‘healthy’ without necessarily buying only organic items. It just might take a little work and creativity. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.
Groceries and mattress, definitely don’t cheap out! Eating healthy isn’t cheap at all, but totally worth it. Also, sleeping on a crappy mattress is hell on your back.
MrSLM recently posted…Financial Update – March 2018
Well said. I guess it’s those little luxuries that are always worth the extra dollars to us in the long run. A crappy mattress can lead to a crappy back which will, no doubt, lead to a crappy life full of pain and discomfort. As always, I appreciate your comment.
I agree that you should spend a bit on travel. It seems also that there are very good ways to accumulate “travel points”, in the USA. However, it seems that in Switzerland, where I live, the deals are much less interesting. You have to spend thousands of dollars each month to really profit from the deals :s I really have to find more information on how to replicate what I see in the US in my own country.
The Poor Swiss recently posted…March 2018 Update – Excellent month
No need to convince me to spend money on travel and it’s my favorite thing to do. I have already visited many countries and those experiences have all been amazing. I don’t own a home, drive a new car or wear fancy labels but I’ll gladly spend on travel any day. Too bad in Switzerland earning rewards is more difficult. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
I’ve started buying thick wool socks for work, which make your feet so much more comfortable throughout the day, and then the extra thin socks for everything else. They feel better, look better, last longer, and if you really think about it, aren’t that expensive.
Those wool socks might even keep your heating costs down during cold winters. Relatively inexpensive and versatile. Thanks for sharing.