Every few weeks you get a paycheck. But once taxes are taken out, and after you've paid your rent and utilities, the number starts to look a bit…paltry. I mean, how are you supposed to have any FUN?
Of course, you CAN have fun — it just needs to be on a budget. That's where we come in.
I'd bet that you aren't spending money on the right things. I mean, just a shot in the dark, but have you ever bought something on a whim, used it once and then never looked at it again? I bet you have, and that is what I mean by spending money on the wrong things.
But it's totally okay. Your days of buying a quesadilla maker — yup, been there, bought that — are over. Know why? Because we're here to tell you what you should actually spend your money on.
Here's a list of things you should splurge on — and the things you should save on.
1. SPLURGE: Vacations. SAVE: Cabs.
If you live in a city, I know it can seem like cabs are necessary, especially in those moments when you're exhausted or you've been out late. But, as long as you plan ahead, cabs are expendable and a waste of money.
And just think what you could do with the money you save on taxis. If you put $10 in a jar every time you're tempted to take a cab, in a few months you could have enough money to take a weekend trip somewhere. In a year? Maybe a trip to Europe.
Your Instagram followers are going to be a lot more impressed with a photo of Big Ben than they would be with the back of a cabbie's head.
2. SPLURGE: Medical needs. SAVE: Skincare.
I know this seems obvious, but do you know how many friends I have who have said they can't go to the doctor because they're low on funds?
Always splurge on getting the medical care and prescriptions you need. Spend on your allergy meds or your daily contact lenses. It's worth it.
But buy your skincare products at the drugstore. The ingredients are similar to the ones in fancy department stores, so you're basically using the same product anyway.
3. SPLURGE: Craft beer. SAVE: Wine.
Our days of slumming it with light beer are over. We should be splurging on the good stuff! Microbrews from local breweries are delicious and worth every penny.
Wine, on the other hand? Save your money. Unless you have trained your palate to detect every subtle hint of oak and boysenberry, a moderately-priced bottle of wine will taste just as good as the expensive stuff.
4. SPLURGE: Pots and pans. SAVE: Dinnerware.
Plates and bowls are breakable. Silverware tarnishes or rusts. But pots and pans are forever if you invest in the right kind.
Spend the bigger bucks on roasting pans and baking sheets, and you'll have them for years to come. Plus, you'll swear the food you're making tastes better.
5. SPLURGE: Quality shoes and handbags. SAVE: Jeans.
I was shocked when I found out my male friends also routinely wear out their jeans. It was a revelation that this phenomenon doesn't exclusively happen to women. With that in mind, let's acknowledge that jeans are (perhaps) not the greatest investment. Buy a pair from a cheaper retail store and call it a day.
However, go ahead and splurge on shoes and handbags. The higher the quality, the longer they'll last. And if there is an issue? It's nothing a cobbler — yes, that is still a profession — can't fix.
6. SPLURGE: Theater tickets. SAVE: Movie tickets.
When I was growing up in New Jersey, movie ticket prices only approached the $10 mark if you were going to a nighttime showing. Now, I live in New York City and cannot get away with paying under $15 for a movie ticket unless I get up before 10 am (doubtful). And if I want to see something in 3D or IMAX? Forget about it, I'd have to take out a loan.
Theater ticket prices have not changed as much, though, unless you want to see something that instantly sells out. (Cough, "Hamilton," cough.) For just $20 more than a movie ticket, you can have a cultural experience. It's the right way to spend.
7. SPLURGE: Headphones. SAVE: Phone case.
With a little care, any cell phone case can work for you. Headphones, on the other hand, crumble under the pressure of your active lifestyle unless you invest in a good pair. Your workout will thank you for it.
8. SPLURGE: A good umbrella. SAVE: Sunglasses.
Whenever I've bought a cheap-o umbrella from a street vendor, it has broken. Without fail. Yet my fabulous bubble umbrella that I bought from an actual store has lasted me through torrential winds and downpours.
Sunglasses, though, are a precarious buy. Since it's just so easy to lose them, save your money and get a fashionable pair from a cheaper, trendy store.
9. SPLURGE: Cooking classes. SAVE: Dining out.
As the old adage goes, teach a man to fish, and he'll never go hungry again.
Dining out adds up. But if you spend the money on cooking classes, you'll be able to cook for yourself for the rest of your days.
10. SPLURGE: A good mattress. SAVE: Linens.
A good mattress is a dream. A good mattress, without hyperbole, can change your life. Sleep is what you need to keep your body going, so always get the best mattress you can afford.
But you don't need a 3000-thread count sheet to sleep well. You also don't need a plush towel to get dry after your shower. Save money on all the linens for your home. Leave fancy linens for your someday retirement.