By Lucas Counts
You’ve heard it before: Stop spending money on coffee, and invest it instead.
You can do that. It’s certainly not a bad idea. But let’s think about it: If you stopped drinking your favorite cup of coffee each day, let’s say it’s $5, and instead invested that money instead into the stock market or an IRA, 30 years later you would have a pile of money.
But you would’ve also spent many years missing out on something you enjoy. That may have led to a number of miserable mornings. So, if you love your daily morning coffee run, don’t worry about it — you can probably find other ways to cut your spending and ways to save. Spend money on the things that bring you joy.
If you love your coffee, but don’t love driving so much, maybe you can find a way to cut your spending on gas so that you can feel okay with your daily coffee purchase? Or, maybe it’s worth it to cancel your Netflix subscription (or another streaming service) to find savings? It’s all about opportunity costs, after all.
Eating out can cost you big, but if you value your trip to Starbucks, and it’s something you genuinely love, then you can carve out some room in your budget for it. Unless, of course, you’re going absolutely broke — then, some other measures might need to be taken. But the point is this: Spend your money on the things you love!
Can you remember the last time you were excited to hand over your hard-earned cash? If you’re struggling to think of something, you aren’t alone. With budgets to stick to and bills to pay, having money to manage can seem like a lot of work, rather than a blessing. Sometimes, even when we have the cash to buy something we really want, we are stubborn in our self-discipline and say “no” to ourselves.
Plus, many in the financial sector preach that overspending is a huge problem, and we need to save everything we have and curtail spending on things we don’t need. They’re not wrong, necessarily, but that doesn’t mean you should completely abandon the things you love.
Again: Spending money, within reason, on the things you want, is perfectly okay. If you have some extra money that you earned by working your tail off and you want to go purchase something nice for yourself, do it! If you deprive yourself completely of the things you enjoy, you are destined to have a fairly miserable experience. According to Elder Shafir, a behavioral scientist who focuses on scarcity, when a person starves themselves of something, whatever it is, that is all they can focus on.
Spending on things we love, with the resources we have worked hard for, should not be shameful. You earned that money! So, the next time you are thinking of skipping out on that thing you love because you feel guilty about it, remember that it’s okay to spend on things you really enjoy if you’re willing to sacrifice in other areas. Assuming, of course, that the rent is paid, and you can still afford to buy groceries!
Use money as your tool to have things that you want. Make your money work for you!
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