Updated: Aug 25, 2019
People always tell you not to spend money on things you don’t need or to save your money. I’m sure they mean well and are honestly just trying to help. However, their thinking can be a bit flawed because they believe happy people are people that are well to do or have a very healthy stock portfolio. While some of that may be true, that’s not the whole story. It’s not the healthy bank accounts but the quality of life that makes people happy. Sometimes it’s ok to buy things or spend money on things you don’t necessarily need.
Let me explain…
A good friend of mine was recently thinking about buying a family dog. They searched and found one that everyone wanted. However, it was quite pricey. He told me about it in a tone that seemed to suggest he was not going to go through with it, even though he could afford it. I explained that if you couldn’t afford it then- no- you shouldn’t buy it. However, sometimes if a purchase improves the quality of life of your family AND you can afford it, you should buy it. A family dog fits this description. Not only would your kids learn some responsibility but dogs tend to be loving companions, which can boost a family’s mood, thus improving everyone’s quality of life.
In one of my episodes of The Startup Life podcast, I talk about the idea of buying a house as part of having the entrepreneurial mindset. A house is like starting and running a business in the sense that you can add value to a home by making upgrades from a new roof or remodeling the kitchen.
Some people think that adding a pool adds value but from a monetary standpoint, it’s honestly just a hole in the ground that sucks money out of your pocket. On the other hand, a friend of mine he saw it differently. He has a pool that he has to maintain, and it is quite pricey. He recently added some tile to make it look nicer but once again that costs money, and it took a lot of time to do himself. On top of all of that, you can only really use it for maybe four to five months out of the year. However, when I asked him why he would go through all of the money and labor a pool requires, his answer was a straightforward one.
My friend’s childhood wasn’t the best. He always told himself he would make sure that his children had a better life than he did. He joined the army and started a company to put himself in a position to buy a house with a pool. When he is poolside, drinking a cold beer or watching his grandkids laughing and jumping in that pool, it is all worth it. It’s a reminder to him of what life is all about and, to him, it’s the greatest feeling in the world. In his mind, all the money and time he puts into the pool is more than worth it.
Quality of life, not a healthy savings account, is what you should strive for in life. In addition to that, remember that life requires balance. A person that’s a tightwad about money is just as wrong as the frivolous spender. So if a designer item increases your confidence or a video game relaxes you after a rough day at the office, then it’s worth it. Remember: your goal should be self-actualization.