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Spending money is good

Good spending

One of the best things about making it to financial independence/freedom is that you get to buck the trend, do a little more of what you want, without caring so much about what others may think.

Before reaching this milestone, I certainly conformed more, mostly sticking to the majority's blue print of how to be and act. Going too far outside the lines is odd, and which boss wants to promote the strange guy, or give him or her the more senior and higher paying role?

Not a foolproof argument I know. Some elite sports stars and some of the founders of today's top companies didn't follow the norms. But I'm going to think of them as outliers, the exceptions that prove the rule, rather than admitting that they may shoot down my point!

Anyway, reaching financial freedom and, in my case, then opting for early retirement has changed my outlook. I'm never going to be completely wacky in what I do, but I now do more of what I want, and care a little less what others may think about it.

And now today's rather uneventful example of bucking the trend. A lot of FIRE blogs focus on how not to spend money, and some almost make me feel guilty when I do splash out. So, at odds to this trend, here are some things that I think it's good to spend on.

People you care about

Good spending on those you care about

There are many reasons why this can be good, but I'm going to pick just one as an example.

I see some very committed people in pursuit of financial independence, looking to cut out every cost they can. There's nothing wrong with that if it suits you, but what if your partner doesn't share the same mindset?

Hmm, that last part sounds a little like my situation. While I don't try to cut the costs too much, I am more conscious of them than Sally is. I actually think it's good to be different, and it's fun to spend a little on things that I know will bring a smile to Sally. That's good spending. I just hope she doesn't read this and use this argument on me too many times😬

Enjoy the journey

Getting to FI (and early retirement if you want that) is wonderful, but you have to enjoy the journey too. It's a balance, there's little point in shaving five years off your FIRE date if it's achieved by missing out on life along the way.

Make sure you enjoy the journey, and if that means spending a little money to do so, then spend. I'm sure you won't regret it.

Sometimes it's worth spending a little extra

There are some things that you really want. Whether it's a material item or an experience, it's important to get it right, and sometimes it's worth paying a little extra to make sure that you do.

I used to work in Jamaica, and our daughter was born there, although we left when she was a year old. When she was sixteen, we booked a vacation to take her back. We toured the island, went to the hospital where she was delivered, the house that was her first home, connected with her first little friend, and much more.

This was a once in a lifetime experience. Soon she would be grown up and we wouldn't make this trip as a family again. We paid a little extra to make sure it was perfect, and it was. That was money well spent.

Spend to be smart

Sometimes it's cheaper to spend money. A little money paid now to fix a small leak in the roof is smart spending. Ignore the leak until it gets bigger only guarantees a much larger cost in the long run, which isn't smart.

Cars are a difficult one for me. You've paid for a repair, and something else goes wrong. Knowing when to cut your losses and buy a new (or probably a "new" used car) is a decision I suspect I will rarely get right.

To help others

Helping others by practising fair trade

This can cover a number of things. Giving to charity is just one example, and it can be as simple as buying an extra item of grocery during the weekly shop to donate to a food bank.

What about a friend who could use a helping hand, can you assist?

Or perhaps just being conscientious with our purchases. My friend recently wrote an article on fair trade which has made me wonder whether I should be doing better in this regard.

I've not tried to pick the five most important things to spend on, just five that mean something to me. It's great to have a financial independence and possibly an early retirement target, but spending along the way is OK.

I just try to make my spending conscious and thoughtful, and I know to only spend what I can afford.


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