When it comes to spending money, it’s easy to see everything as an expense. Taxes cut out of your take-home pay, your car’s tires eat into savings, and groceries just keep getting more expensive. But what you spend your money on can be more than just outgoing expenses; it can actually be seen as investments in yourself, your future, your business, and those around you.
On the Worth It podcast, Dustin and Danielle are discussing the investing vs. spending mindset and how it can be beneficial to view some spending through the lens of investments.
On a recent trip to the Cayman Islands, Dustin “invested” in a gold coin from a shipwreck. While there may not be an actual monetary resale value to the coin, it’s an investment in Dustin’s interest in history, his love of Louisiana (the coin was from a shipwreck right off the coast of New Orleans), and his memory of the family trip. Not everyone would view that coin purchase as an investment, but it’s a good example of a time when the monetary cost of something provides an return that isn’t necessarily quantifiable.
The same goes for other purchases, like clothes that make you feel great or help you land that new client, or an executive coach you need to build and grow your business. It can also be something as trivial as a coffee from your favorite shop every morning; it’s an investment in your mood, your local economy, and your morning ritual. The most important thing, Dustin and Danielle say, is to know what brings you value, rather than what brings other people value.
Of course, there are always situations where your spending habits don’t serve you — and it’s usually when the money you spend doesn’t bring you joy. Eating out for every meal but not feeling energetic? Cut out that part of your budget and start spending more money on healthy food you can cook at home. Have magazine subscriptions you throw away as soon as they come in? Stop wasting money and paper and instead spend that money on a New York Times online subscription. Whatever you spend your money on, it should “spark joy” as Marie Kondo says. If it doesn’t, figure out where you can funnel that money that would actually spark joy. If you can’t find a replacement, just save that money and cut out what wasn’t working. In the episode, Dustin and Danielle give a list of examples to help jog your thoughts, so make sure to listen in.
Once you’ve got a good grasp on where you’re spending your money just to spend it and where you’re actually investing it, you can focus on saving money on things that just don’t matter to you. All of this helps you invest in the more traditional sense — and prepares you for your future.
When you stop spending money on things that don’t matter to you, you save money. When you invest in quality products, experiences, education, or even food, you invest in your future (and actually spend less over time). When you do both, you will be set up for better financial health.
You’ll be able to better plan for a work-optional lifestyle or retirement (Dustin and Danielle call it revivement) because, when you spend less on stuff that doesn’t matter, you automatically start putting money in the right places. You’ll also have more money to put to the 25x Rule (25% of your income should go to saving and giving).
But it all starts with knowing what you value — even if may seem like “just spending” to an outside observer. To hear Dustin and Danielle talk about the investment mindset and how you can adopt it to cut costs, save money, and invest in your future, check out this week’s episode of Worth It.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Mike Michalowicz, the author of Profit First, is unaffiliated with LPL Financial
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