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10 things that are worth spending money on

What do Kate & Owen value spending money on? Spending money can go a long way to preventing future problems, making life easier and creating lasting memories.

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What do Kate & Owen value spending money on?

We talk about saving and spending money a lot on the Australian Finance Podcast, but something we all do is spend money. Given that most of us only have so much coming into our bank accounts each month, it’s worth discussing what’s actually worth spending money on or more money in certain places.  

Kate’s spent some time chatting about this with friends and family and looking at my own spending over the past year, and she’s put together a list of things where, even if you don’t get a strict financial return from spending money on them, the expense goes a long way to preventing future problems, making life easier and creating lasting memories. 

Here’s what I’ve got…  

Healthy food and home-cooked meals

There’s just something that hits different about a home-cooked meal. I’m happy to spend more on high-quality ingredients from markets and produce stores, which I know will make me feel better in the long term. If I’m short on time, then I spend money on healthy-ish takeout options from cafes, produce boxes from farmers or premium meal kits.

Experiences with friends and family

I’ve been to concerts and shows by myself, and the experience is 10x better when I take someone with me and am able to share the activity together. I love to buy two tickets to anything that sounds interesting, from comedy shows to cooking classes, and take someone who I think might also appreciate the experience.

Plus, as listeners of the podcast and readers of Buying Happiness will know, it’s the quality of our relationships that is the biggest determinant of our health and happiness long-term.

Educational courses and activities

As a lifelong learner, I usually have to hold myself back from signing up for more educational courses, workshops and talks, as there’s just so much great stuff to learn in the world. I highly value adding to my skill set, whether in relation to my career or other domains of my life.

Higher-quality material items

This one can be a little controversial, but sometimes it’s worth not buying the cheapest version of something you want. For certain things you value, it’s worth buying a higher-quality item. Like really good and well-fitting running shoes when I was training for a half-marathon to a premium umbrella that doesn’t start to malfunction in windy situations.

Consider this: I’ve now been handed down premium quality jackets that my mum bought 20 years ago, which have lasted really well and still look great!

Short getaways

Something I’ve only come to appreciate in the last few years is the power of a long weekend getaway. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate (and expensive) affair. Rather, put some time into your calendar (and request your annual leave early) to get away and refresh yourself this year. These short breaks make a huge difference to my energy levels throughout the year.

International travel

Sometimes, a short break doesn’t cut it, and you want to go for a longer, more immersive experience. International travel is worth every cent to me, especially in my 20s, when I have more time and energy to take on walking tours and hostel adventures. I personally am happy to spend more in this area now, knowing that the memories will last a lifetime.

Preventative healthcare

I’m very passionate about actively doing things now to prevent mental and physical health problems from arising down the track. That’s not to say things won’t still happen, but I take a more proactive approach to minimising the impact of them by getting regular checkups at the dentist and optometrist, asking the physio for exercises to reduce my chance of injury while running, going to the gym, eating well (most of the time) and taking actions to improve my mental wellbeing.

Group exercise activities 

Although I love my solo morning walks and runs each day, I struggle to do anything cardio or strength-related without a little bit of encouragement. A group exercise class is the perfect antidote to that. I usually just pay $20-$30 for a one-off class, as I don’t really need to commit to another monthly subscription, and that gives me a good energy boost for the week.

Books (and bookshelves)

You know me, I’ll never say no to a good book. One community member at our roadshow events last year told me I needed 1,000 books to say I had a library. Well, I’m not quite there yet, but I love books to learn from, books to escape with, and books to give to other people at the right moment. Basically, they get their own category in my budget.

Expert advice 

Finally, I’m a big believer in getting help, and there are many times in life when it makes sense to use an expert’s advice or skills. That could be anything from going to a hairdresser or using an accountant to sort out your taxes to seeing a psychologist or getting financial advice to get you set up. A good expert saves you time and money in the long run.

Trust me and my 17-year-old self, who accidentally turned their hair red with a packet of hair dye.

✅ Over to you

What are some areas of your life that you really value spending money on? Are there any places that would benefit from a higher level of spending? Can you move money from one category of spending that doesn’t bring you value and allocate it to another?

In my book Buying Happiness, I guide readers through identifying their values and how to spend more on the things they value. I’d encourage you to pick up a copy if this topic has interested you!

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