Everyone has their own “code” when it comes to spending money. Some of us (like my wife) are obsessed with saving 50 cents on a box of pasta and yet can’t justify spending an extra $6 on a hotel room. Others of us spend extremely freely. And some of us try and find a nice balance. For me personally, I have my own way of justifying what I spend more on and what I try and save on. By no means is my system any better than anyone else’s but I’ll try to break down my “system” as best as I can. I tend to spend more money when it comes to quality and things that last and I tend to spend less on things that more or less don’t make a huge difference in my life. It’s that “huge difference in my life” that’s extremely subjective. However, in my now 40 years of existence I think I’ve had enough life experience to justify these payments I’m making. So let’s give a few examples.
Something I’ll always spend more money on? A bed, a couch, a chair. These are things that provide comfort, not to mention health in my life. If you’re on a bed for more than a third of your life don’t you think you should take choosing a bed more seriously? I don’t skimp when it comes to bed as I take sleep very very seriously in my life. When do I not care at all if something is cheaper? I’m not a big spender on clothing and I rarely care about certain kinds of groceries, etc etc. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when something can truly impact my life, I tend not to look at price in the sense that I’ll likely spend more. When something is minor, I don’t look at price but it means I don’t care about spending less. I hope this all makes sense. Also, these are more practical examples. What I really wanted to focus on today are things that you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money on that in my experience can make a huge difference in terms of life satisfaction if you just spend those extra few bucks.
Bear in mind I’m not talking about spending your life savings here and preaching “you only live once!” I’m preaching any amount of money that’s probably more than you’re accustomed to and within reason in relation to your savings, income, etc etc. Clearly if you’re a billionaire your price points are way different than if you earn an average wage. This stuff is for you to figure out, not me. Just don’t be an idiot.
Anyway, here they are:
1. Nice Restaurants
To me there’s no worse feeling than paying a lot of money to go to a fancy restaurant only to get a meal that’s completely not worth paying for. My personal worst is going to an expensive Steak House and getting something I can easily cook better on my own grill. But on the flip side, there’s no more rewarding and satisfying a feeling than when you go to a top notch restaurant and they get it perfectly right. Maybe it’s just because I love to eat but man oh man there are few things that give me a grin wider than when I’ve left a great restaurant completely full and ready to go to sleep. Food always comes first for me but when you get the serious treatment where service and ambiance kick in at high gears it’s worth the extra 100 bucks or so. Where I’ve personally experienced this best? Daniel in NYC. I’ve never had a culinary experience quite like it. Will I ever go again? Probably not, but it was hands down one of the best $500 I’ve ever spent (meal for two).
2. Luxurious Travel
I don’t think people realize just how much value you can get out of spending literally an extra $500-$1,000 on a hotel for a week long stay. It can be the difference between a 3 star hotel and a 5 star hotel and just like the restaurant experience, hotels are one hospitality industry mainstay where a few extra hundred bucks can go a very very long way. However, like restaurants, nothing pisses me off more than spending a ton on a hotel and getting reamed. At the same time, like restaurants, when it’s done right? It makes said trip that much more memorable. Am I saying for you to stay in the Penthouse Suite at the Bellagio in Las Vegas and spend $20k per night? No. But I am saying that if you’re going somewhere for an entire week (I think weekends are pointless to spend the extra cash) and it’s the difference between staying at the Ritz Carlton and a Super 8 Motel, just once in your life, spend the extra dough and have that experience. Everyone deserves a taste of the good life once in their lives and if you can scrape together the extra cash, try it. In my experience you can stay a luxurious hotel for as little as $250 a night depending on where you go.
Expanding on travel just a tad, there are other things also worth spending a few extra bucks on. I don’t sit first class but on occasion I’ll do business class and it’s tremendous. On a trip like a honeymoon I’d do first class but that’s about it. But on say Jetblue, I’ll splurge for the extra leg room. All those little perks that aren’t huge upgrades can really make your trip that much better. Trust me.
3. Great Seats to Events
Maybe it’s that I don’t care as much about sports as I used to, or maybe it’s because TVs are so amazing these days, but lately I just don’t feel like attending sporting events as much as I used to. My feelings are if I’m not super close to the action I might as well be in the comfort of my own home, be close to the bathroom, and have food at my leisure while watching. But that doesn’t mean I’ll never go to games or concerts. It just means that I’d rather go to a game once a year and have AMAZING seats than 10 times a year and sit in the nose bleeds. Again, this is personal preference but I can tell you this, sitting on the field at an MLB game is 1000 times different than when they players appear to look like ants from up in the way way upper deck. Same goes for any other sport for that matter. If you can do it once or even a few times in your life, do the amazing seats that come with luxury service, free stuff, access to lounges, the works. For two people you can do this for around $600 or even less at most stadiums. It’s totally worth doing. Think about it. If you go to even 5 games in crap seats, you’re spending at least $50 per ticket. Why not spend $250 on a ticket for incredible seats and experience one time, and watch the other 4 at home?
Finally, there’s no greater gratification with all of these experiences than allowing one of your loved ones or close friends to experience the same special times that you either have or would like to. Call it for selfish reasons but honestly I get a high when I can provide someone with an unforgettable experience or present that they would have never bought themselves. You’ll remember that reaction for the rest of your life.
Again, I’m not telling all of you to go nuts and spend like idiots. I’m telling you that within reason, once in a while, it’s never a bad thing to get a taste of the good life.