Yesterday a co-worker asked me if it was alright to spend on paydays just to get that “rewarded” feeling.
My co-workers now know that I am a personal finance blogger and a financial freedom advocate and thus often times they ask questions like this. As you all know social media is now bombarded with memes and images saying that going on a travel to discover oneself is a better gift than buying things like gadget, dress, watches etc. And it is because experience enriches one’s life with new insights and new people.
So to answer her question in a financial way, I ask if the thing she buys for herself will be useful. Would it be something that is of value and can be used longer? If you gonna do this, are you going to buy the same thing every payday? Can you afford it? These are important because if you will do this every payday and keep buying the same thing just so you can make yourself happy(buying shoes and stacking them in your closet, perhaps) then what would be the point if you aren’t going to use them anyway. Yes, we could argue that you are just a collector, but you can have this hobby only if you can afford it or such would just cost you cents (remember the Kurot Principle).
Remember that no one can tell you what you can do with your hard-earned money(yes, even me or a good friend of yours) but spending it wisely is the key. Given a choice, you should spend your money to life changing stuff that would affect you beyond your youths. That is why going on a journey overseas or to some place in the Philippines you have never been yet is one of the suggestions. Some call it immersion, that is experiencing something beyond your usual. The world is so vast and yet most of us haven’t really explored it yet.
With experience comes memories. Memories are something that you could go back to over and over that you will end up telling stories of that experience even in your golden years. You may hear your Lolo or Lola telling you the first time they went up to Baguio or the first time they saw the beautiful falls and jump the cliff and experiencing the first time they dive to the clear blue waters of that falls. Or maybe you will hear your friend tell you countless stories of her latest trip to Batanes and wish how it would be nice people in Manila would be as honest as the people in Batanes. And you might be awed by the interesting stories of a cousin who recently visited Japan.
Besides experiences and memories you should also spend for your relationship over things.
But this does not mean going all the way spending your salary just to throw a party for your son’s or daughter’s first birthday. A cup of coffee and a a shared cheese cake over hours of chatting with your best friend is something more valuable than changing your phone that you just bought last month with the latest promo of your mobile carrier. Or maybe treating your mom and dad one time in an affordable restaurant after your Sunday routines instead of bringing them to fastfood or food court. You could also share a pizza or a gallon of ice cream with your siblings or friends while enjoying an afternoon in a park or backyard on a Saturday afternoon.
On the other hand avoid the situation where people around you, force you to buy things for them. That is why I don’t like being bullied to treat because I got promoted or it is my birthday or anything. I feel good when I treat people because I wanted to. It is sad to see that at times other people wanted you to treat big because they too treated big. As if they wanted to get back what they spend for when it was their turn to treat. It shouldn’t be “an eye for an eye” thing. You treat people because you wanted to. Such act is more gratifying in my opinion.
Spend money to invest in your greatest investment, your relationships. As they say “People over things”.
And again a reminder that you don’t have to spend your entire salary for such things. Just a few of it will do. You are not doing that to impress or boast, but rather you are doing it to bond. A financial way to prepare for such if you are going overseas or having a trip to a new place is expensive is by saving for it. Remember to have a reason for saving. The first things you need to save for is your emergency fund. Always do that first before anything else. After that is your retirement fund and after that for your dream escape or reward stuffs.
Again, I reiterate, no one can tell you what not to do with your hard-earned money. But given a choice always spend for the things that gives you life changing effects as long as you can afford it. And if you have been doing your savings and investing diligently you might have extra to buy the things you’ve been wanting like a new phone, a new branded shirt, a new game machine, an expensive watch, etc. There is nothing wrong with buying these stuffs as long as you can afford it and if you have set aside savings first before these. It is a different story if you already don’t have any savings and yet you insist on buying and worst is you even borrow money just to buy new gadgets.
Remember: “People over things” spend on experiences, memories, and relationship and it does not need to be grand spending. Small things go a long way if you have good intentions for it.