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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.