While saving for retirement is important, constantly delaying gratification may limit your ability to enjoy your life while you’re still young and healthy.
We all want a comfortable, financially secure retirement, but spending now can actually help you prepare financially for the future.
The key is to strike a balance between spending and saving. One way to accomplish this is by recognizing situations where spending would be more beneficial.
Here are 14 instances when it might be better to spend money instead of saving it.
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1. Improving or maintaining your health
Getting regular checkups, eating healthy, and exercising can prevent chronic diseases and save you from medical bills later in life.
You’ll likely feel better, have more energy, and enjoy life more fully when you prioritize your health, so don’t hesitate to buy organic or get that gym membership.
You’ll either potentially live longer or reduce the likelihood of major medical expenses. Either way, your health is absolutely worth the cost.
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Traveling can be an invaluable experience. Escaping the pressures of everyday life allows you to recharge, rejuvenate and learn about new subjects and cultures.
When traveling with friends or family, you can create memories together, and maybe even make new friends along the way!
Even though traveling can be expensive, you can earn travel rewards that can help you get you discounted flights and hotels.
3. Advancing your career
Strategically investing in your career can lead to significant professional and financial growth. You may consider pursuing a degree, getting coaching, or attending workshops.
You may even want to purchase software to help you work more efficiently. Attending networking events is also an excellent way to grow your career by meeting other industry professionals.
Even if there are upfront costs, making more money later might be worth it. You just need to make sure that the value you’re getting is worth the cost.
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4. Invest in the stock market
While it involves risk and may take time, the stock market has seen about a 10% annual return for decades.
This means you could see higher returns on stocks than from investing in bonds or putting the money in a savings account.
Stocks can also protect your money against inflation as prices increase. Some companies even pay dividends, which can provide you with an extra source of income as your money grows.
5. Paying for professional services
Hiring a professional may be the right choice if you don’t have the time, energy, or knowledge to do a job.
For example, many people struggle with emotional stress when budgeting and planning their finances. Hiring a financial planner may provide an objective perspective and help you stay on track with your goals.
Although it may be costly upfront, consulting an expert can be well worth the benefits, depending on the field and your personal experience.
6. Improving your home
Your home should be a place of comfort and security, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about spending money to make sure it’s exactly that.
Upgrading heating and cooling systems, renovating the kitchen or bathroom, and increasing security can help your space feel more comfortable.
These upgrades can make you happier in your home and could actually increase or maintain its value. This makes these improvements an investment in the future.
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7. Purchasing insurance
You probably have medical or car insurance, but you may not have considered other types of insurance to protect you and your family.
Life insurance provides financial support to your loved ones if you pass away. Disability, travel, and pet insurance might also be worth considering, depending on your situation.
It’s tempting to forgo insurance and save money, but in an unforeseen event, you’ll be thankful for the extra protection.
8. Invest in personal development
Whether you’re taking a cooking class or buying a new book, it’s always a good idea to make room in your budget for self-improvement.
Pursuing your passions and interests can help you feel more fulfilled in life. You may also gain new skills and knowledge that you can profit from.
Attending therapy can also improve your mental health and strengthen your relationships with people around you.
9. Maintaining your vehicle
Keeping up on your vehicle’s maintenance may save you money in the long term and ensure your safety on the road.
Worn brakes, bald tires, and malfunctioning lights present safety hazards that could endanger you and your fellow drivers.
Regular repairs and maintenance may also improve your vehicle’s reliability, fuel efficiency, longevity and resale value.
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10. Buying time-saving conveniences
If time is money, it may be worth it to invest in conveniences that will save you time.
For example, installing a dishwasher in your kitchen may be a sound purchase. Instead of washing dishes, you could use that time to exercise, work on your side business, or just relax.
This could also apply to meal delivery, online shopping, lawn care services, and other time-saving conveniences.
11. Spending money on gifts and celebrations
Celebrations and gift-giving are integral to many people’s social lives. They can build stronger connections with those who matter most to you.
Giving people gifts can show them your love and appreciation. You may also recognize milestones or achievements by celebrating with friends and family.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about spending money on these occasions because it helps bring you closer to your loved ones and gives you a feeling of satisfaction.
12. Opt for quality products
High-quality products may save you money if they provide better performance and durability.
Specific mattress designs, for example, can improve sleep quality, spinal alignment, and pain reduction. High-quality clothes, shoes, electronics and furniture may also be a worthwhile investment.
Whether it’s to ensure the product lasts longer or increase your enjoyment of it, buying the higher-quality version may be the better option in the long run.
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13. Donating to charity
Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can still donate to a cause you believe in. It may bring you happiness knowing you are able to make a difference.
Letting others know about your donations can also inspire them to donate, causing a ripple effect that can positively impact your community.
However, don’t forget to research beforehand to ensure the charity is reputable and spends enough on the actual charitable causes instead of overhead or administrative costs.
14. Enjoying life now
Life is short, so you should prioritize what brings you joy. Whether that’s going out to dinner or buying a new phone, you should occasionally treat yourself.
No one knows what the future holds, so waiting until you retire to enjoy life may not be the best plan. Instead, you should experience life to the fullest while still young and in good health. And that may involve some spending.
Although saving money should be a priority, spending some is healthy and allows you to enjoy the present moment and make yourself happy.
When you find a healthy balance, you can save money to retire comfortably without completely depriving yourself of enjoying your life before then.
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone, so you shouldn’t fret over making the most out of today while saving for the future.
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This article Yes, It’s Completely OK to Spend Money Now and Save Less for Retirement originally appeared on FinanceBuzz.