I spend $ 725 per month on tasks I could do on my own and have no regrets
- I was so frugal that I tinkered with everything – and ended up being completely exhausted.
- Now I spend $ 725 a month on lawn maintenance, housekeeping, and meal kits, and wish I had done it sooner.
- Money isn’t our only resource – so are our time and energy, and I like having more of both.
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My parents taught me some basic personal finance lessons that served me very well in my early years as a self-employed adult.
They taught me that you don’t spend the money you don’t have, a rule I took so seriously that I never had a single penny in consumer debt. name (not even student loans).
They helped me understand that I had to live well below my means and prioritize saving above all else, an idea that helped me start investing at age 21 and encouraged me to save close to half of my income until my early twenties.
And they told me that the only way to be successful in life was to be independent, to have a practical and stable job, and to work as hard as possible for as long as possible.
These ideas made gives me a head start on my peers until my early twenties. I worked hard, saved a lot, and developed a solid financial foundation that allowed me to build up a lot of assets in a short period of time.
But at 25, I was also feeling exhausted and worried that no matter how hard I worked, I would never have enough money to really feel comfortable and secure. I felt guilty every time I spent money and developed a distorted sense of what was really precious in life.
I would spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort looking for saving tips and tinkering with everything to avoid spending money because I saw my finances as a limited and valuable resource. The truth is, time is much more precious – a lesson I wish I had learned much sooner.
Money is not the only precious resource we have
As I moved into my late twenties, I slowly learned that money is not an end in itself. Rather, money was a tool I could use to build whatever I wanted.
I stopped seeing it as a scarce resource and started thinking about things like how to best leverage not only my cash flow but also my energy and time.
I started to think of my personal finances in a larger context – it wasn’t just dollar amounts on a spreadsheet. Using money well forced me to think about my priorities and how much I was getting for the money I had too.
When I made this change of mind, I saw that my obsession with spend less often cost me more in terms of time, energy, experiences and the ability to be present with my family.
My unwillingness to spend more money – even when I had the discretionary income to spend without actually jeopardizing my financial future – could have meant a little more money in the bank, but the trade-off was much less what took place. a bigger impact in my life.
What I wish I had spent money on sooner
I was further convinced to change my spending habits through real research which suggests that people are happier when they use their money to save time or to have experiences. When I looked at my own life, I could easily identify the places I spent a parcel of time.
Lawn maintenance service
When it came to deliberately increasing our spending – a really strange feeling for someone who had avoided the lifestyle creep like the plague over the past decade! – the first thing my husband and I did was hire a lawn care service to help maintain the grounds around our house.
For about $ 175 per month, a crew cuts our grass and weeds around our property. They do this in a fraction of the time it takes us to complete the same job, and what used to be a big weekend chore suddenly becomes something we don’t even have to think about (let alone devote to it). time).
We also hired a housekeeper to help maintain the interior of our house, which costs around $ 300 per month. Like the lawn crew, our housekeeper is much more efficient than I am. It takes three hours to do the same job which takes me about seven.
Finally, we tried a meal kit service for around $ 250 per month. I felt extremely skeptical about this; for one, i love to cook. Not to mention that it still takes time to cook the meal that arrives at your door! But I was shocked at the difference it made.
What I hadn’t thought of before trying the service was the time, mental effort and energy that went into thinking, planning, shopping and making each breakfast , lunch and dinner for seven days. Now, three days a week, there is no more thinking or prep work at all and we keep our meals delivered for our busiest workdays.
How spending more made me happier – and even improved my finances
Yes, it’s a luxury to be able to hire help or somehow outsource some of our cooking, cleaning and lawn care. Spending $ 725 per month on those services that technically we could do on our own is a privilege.
I recognize him, and to me it is money well spent in terms of net gain.
Prior to getting this help and support, I had completely underestimated the time and effort spent in each of these areas. Spending money this way has given me back a lot of mental space, energy and hours in the day.
It also gives me more choices: I can choose to spend my free time enjoying more experiences, being with people who are dear to me – or, sometimes, doing work that wins me more money than I spent on hiring help.
Stubbornly refusing to let someone help me clean the house or cook a meal takes hours and energy to solve a business problem or develop new opportunities that increase income.
This is where spending money feels more like an investment than a waste of funds. Leveraging money wisely benefits my finances if it allows me to put more high-quality effort into my job and the business I help run.
Although I’m still a cautious spender, I don’t look at my finances in such black and white terms that I think all spending is bad and the only right thing to do with money is save it. Personal finances are much more complex than that, and life too!
I have found it much more productive to remember that money is not the only resource we have. Your time and energy are also very precious (and often Following more valuable than dollars alone). I have found that it is more useful to think of money as a tool which should be (strategically!) used rather than a scarce commodity that must be hoarded at all costs.