When it comes to being young and broke, I know a thing or two. Saving money isn’t so much a goal as it is a necessity — but every now and then, there are a few things that are worth spending your hard-earned money on. I’m not saying you should go off and blow loads of cash on all of these items all at once, but think about it this way: we spend more than a third of our waking hours at work making money, and occasionally you deserve a treat yo self kind of day to reward yourself for all that you do. You work hard to earn your money, so you should be able to spend a little bit of it on something other than bills, right?
But before you go out swiping your credit card at the nearest mall, consider what it is that’s actually worth spending your money on. Long gone are the days of saving up for boom boxes and beanbag chairs (ah, simpler times), and you do still have that monthly loan repayment and your cell phone bill to think about before you start cashing in your paycheck. But some things definitely warrant spending a few extra dollars. From nonstop flights to top-notch cheese, here are things that are actually WORTH the splurge.
For the Home
Especially as you get older, your apartment and your house become more than just the place you sleep at between the bar and work. It becomes your home, and even though you might not be able to splurge on the penthouse suite, that doesn't mean you can't make your sixth floor walk up in Queens a palace of your own. It's the little touches that count in the home, and some things are just worth spending the extra money on.
1. Fresh Flowers
Nothing works as well or as quickly to brighten up your day as fresh flowers. Not only do they smell good, but they also add a punch of color to a nightstand, your kitchen table, or even above your medicine cabinet in your bathroom. Stop by your corner florist for one large mixed bouquet, and split it up into smaller vases to spread around your house. Make sure to choose flowers like chrysanthemums, sunflowers, roses, or Peruvian lilies, which will last longer than other cut flowers.
Your bed is so much more than where you sleep. It is your safe haven, your sick bed, your sexy place, your sanctuary. Your bed is where you curl up with Netflix after a bad day at work, it's the place you let your best friend cry in after a break up, and it's where you and your own significant other make up after a fight, so you better have some nice sheets to show off. Not only does nice bedding look better, but spending money on the higher thread counts means softer sheets that last longer and hold up better after washing.
3. Cleaning Supplies
No one likes spending money on cleaning supplies — they're expensive and the exact opposite of fun (unless you're like Monica from Friends ) — but they're a necessity. Instead of skimping out and buying the "all-purpose bleach cleaner" from the dollar store, spend some money on a cleaner that doesn't leave weird white streaks and a lemony-hospital smell behind. I'm a fan of all-natural cleaning scents, like lavender or basil, because believe it or not, your spring cleaning gets a little more enjoyable when you're using something with a bearable scent, and your guests will notice the fresh scents too!
So maybe it's too early for the monogrammed set of china, but isn't it about time you had matching plates for the table? Mix and match dishes may seem charming when you're serving ramen noodles from your dorm room, but once you start having to throw birthday brunches and cocktail hours for your friend's bridal shower, you might want to have at least one set of plates and bowls that go together. They will make your home seem neater, more organized, and dishware can be another place for you to express your personal style.
Fashion & Beauty
When it comes to expenses, clothes, shoes, makeup, hair products — it adds up, and fast. But when it comes to how I look, what I put on my skin and hair, and what I wear, I don't mind forking over the extra cash every now and then to know the products I invest in are healthy for me to use, and that they will last beyond one wear or one use, or even one wash. A lot of times, a black cami is a black cami, no matter where you buy it, and the cheaper chapstick will do the same job as the $10 option, but trust me when I say that you don't need to feel guilty about spending your cash on these.
5. Professional Hair Coloring
Don't get me wrong, I have spent many a night with my best friend, a bottle of wine, and some at-home hair dye. Most of the time, it comes out alright, and it has been a life saver when I couldn't get an appointment before a last-minute job interview or a wedding, but it's still a far cry from perfect. Next time you need your roots retouched, and you have the means, spend the extra dough and get your hair professionally dyed. You'll leave the salon with healthier hair and color that lasts longer — and you won't have to worry about the bathroom clean up after.
If you need a reason to splurge on mascara, consider this: you put it near your eyes, YOUR EYES! You don't want to skimp out on cheap mascara and end up with swollen eyes because you were allergic to the ingredients, or the formula was loaded with unhealthy chemicals. This paired with the fact that if you wear any makeup at all on a daily basis, it's likely mascara, so if you are splurging, you should be sure to splurge on something that will give you your money's worth.
7. Black Pumps
When can't you make a pair of high heels work? Find a pair of black heels that work for your style, and don't feel bad about dropping some serious dough on them. Black pumps can be the confidence booster you need in an interview, or the last-minute heels you toss on for that magical first date, or just your everyday go-to shoes, so they should be high quality that stand up against your daily commute and your bar hopping habits, while being comfortable and stylish. Got all that?
If you are going to spend your money, what better way to spend it than on an experience? Unlike clothes or throw pillows, experiences won't wear thin with use or shrink after washing. They become snapshots in photo albums, and memories that last forever. So maybe scrimp and save when it comes to your online shopping, but splurge away on your next getaway (and make sure you are doing it in style).
8. Nonstop Flights
Flying isn't really the glamorous mode of travel that we would like it to be, so instead of splurging on extra leg room, why not put the money towards securing a nonstop flight? The ticket might be more expensive, but you will save time on traveling so you can enjoy your destination for longer. That, and you'll save money on expensive airport drinks and useless souvenirs you would have inevitably ended up buying by skipping the layover boredom.
If you haven't yet, it's time to retire those free drawstring bags from the gym and the monogrammed knapsack your mom bought you in high school. As an adult, especially one traveling on work trips, destination weddings, or romantic getaways, it is important to have luggage you aren't embarrassed to claim. Whether it's a weekender bag or a set of suitcases, your vacations seems that much more luxurious when you pack in style.
Food & Beverage
Restaurants, coffee shops, bars, grocery stores, farmer's markets — they're all places where your wallet goes to die. But if you can justify spending more money on beauty and hair products because they go on your body, then it shouldn't be hard to convince you to spend more money on what goes in your body. I'm all for $5 Halal carts and the store-brand cereal, but go ahead and kick some of your food and drink spending up a notch. Your body deserves the very best.
No, I don't think you should spend $7 on a cup of coffee, no matter how delicious it might taste or how tired you are. So instead of running up your barista tab, spend the extra money on good ground coffee and an at-home coffee maker. Nothing is worse that watery or burnt coffee, so avoid that all together by splurging for the home.
Everyone loves cheese — it's a proven fact. So when you are cruising the grocery aisle for snacks, spring for some fresh mozzarella or creamy brie. Your body and mind will thank you, and your wallet will understand.
To me, spending money on fruits and vegetables is a no-brainer. It might seem tempting to buy the cheap pint of strawberries or the bagged and pre-cut lettuce, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice taste or your health just to save a little money. Spend more for locally grown or organic options, on behalf of your body and taste buds.