Is it possible to spend money and become rich?
Yes, if you’re willing to recognize “richness” beyond the dollars in your pocket.
Most of the time, I try not to spend money unless I absolutely have to. Last week, I wrote a post about how Minimalism helps me save, and I heard a resounding “yes” from the blog community.
However, as I noted in that post, I’ll note here again: money and wealth are not the same thing. In fact, there are several things I’m happy to spend money on, because they make me richer.
How exactly do I spend money and grow in wealth? First, I redefine wealth. Wealth is an inventory of all the resources we have: time, energy, generosity of spirit, skills and abilities, and finally, money. Money is only a part of our wealth– in some cases, a small part.
I should note, also, that spending money on clutter and excess doesn’t count. Furthermore, the possibility of growing richer with certain purchases is certainly not an excuse for debt. No amount of irresponsible spending can maintain financial peace, much less build wealth.
But if we’re willing to spend thoughtfully, there are things you can buy that can make you richer. Here are 8 of them.
1) Travel and experiences.
It’s no secret that I love to travel. But there are many experiences that are worth paying for, and they can be so fun to give and receive. Experiences that force us to open our minds, that teach us about our world, or that challenge our complacency are excellent purchases. Consider this to be an investment in your life inventory: you’ll walk away a more well-rounded person, and hopefully lead a more inspired life.
2) A useful education.
Whether it’s enrolling in college, graduate school, an online course or even a learning software, education is another investment in your inventory. Intentionally learning a new skill with practical applications will never go to waste. Expanding your ability to write clearly and think critically are skills required for the information age we live in. The world needs more people who are constantly learning and growing; a useful education will no doubt make you, and your community, richer.
3) Services for what you can’t do yourself.
Any successful business owner will tell you that eventually it became more efficient for them to hire help than to try to do it all themselves. There’s a point at which this is true for us, too, whether we own businesses or not. The greatest and most obvious advantage to paying for help is that it will likely save time and heartache.
Now, I’m a big proponent of cleaning one’s own home and cooking for oneself, but I also think that hiring professionals for certain jobs can be a good idea. If you can afford it, consider hiring someone for a task that could take you hours, or days, to figure out.
4) Gadgets and products that actually save time.
Isn’t this what everything is advertised to do? Unfortunately, most of them don’t save us time. Instead, they collect dust, take up space, fall apart, and demand to be replaced.
There are a few “gems”, though, that really do work. We are grateful for our slow cooker, for example. It has saved us countless hours and time standing in front of the hot stove. A good dishwasher can be another excellent purchase. Discern what kind of product will help YOU in the same way, and don’t be afraid to invest in it.
5) Books and inspiration.
There is media that simply gets in the way and makes us envious, discontent, or discouraged. It can also make us both monetarily and intellectually poor. Let’s avoid those.
Good literature and art, on the other hand, can lift us up and bring about the kind of creativity we crave in this day and age. The kind of media that truly enriches your life– by challenging you to pursue what matters– can be worth its weight in gold.
It’s easy to hate the idea of paying for maintenance. But theoretically, if you only own the items you really need, then it’s probably a good idea to maintain them well.
Maintenance can prolong the life of the few things you depend on daily– whether it’s a car, a suit, a heater, or the roof over your head– and in the end it will help keep replacement at bay.
7) Healthy food and exercise incentives.
My mother always said that she would rather spend money on high-quality food than on medical bills. I think I agree.
While there is little we can do about whatever debilitating disease will get us in the end, it’s true that our food and lifestyle choices influence our quality of living– in the present and future. Invest in your body and prolong the years during which you can thrive, be of service to others, and achieve your goals.
8) Gifts for loved ones and donations for what you believe in.
I saved the best for last. The best ways I’ve spent money have often been on other people: in sharing with friends or donating to a cause that matters to me.
You see, when I give money, I extend my resources beyond the boundaries of my own life. It increases my influence as well as my awareness. I can celebrate victories that are not my own. I can meet needs that are not my own. Is there any better way to be rich?
To conclude, I’d like to note that not all wealth is money, and I still believe that money cannot ultimately buy happiness.
However, there are real ways to invest the money you have into your life inventory— so that, despite losing dollars, you gain richness in other more important areas of your life.