When it comes to managing money, there’s a lot of talk on what not to spend your money on. While saving is important in a money management practice, we want to talk more about giving yourself permission to spend. Remember — money is a resource for life. We use it for absolutely everything, from covering our basic needs to splurging on things that make us feel good. Understanding the value of your life and of your time, and learning how to use money to not only sustain your life, but actively improve it, is a big part of building a positive money mindset.
There are certain things in life that carry what’s known as a ‘convenience tax’. This isn’t a real tax but it refers to a premium paid for certain goods and services that add value to your life. Getting comfortable with paying for things that carry a convenience tax requires a robust money mindset and perspective on the value of your time. To help you get your head around it, here are five things we think pay seriously good convenience dividends.
While paying for help around the house can feel like you’re just being lazy, it’s actually life-changing when approached with intention. Not only can professional help get the job done better and faster than you, it can also free up your time to do other things. For example, starting a business, spending more time with your partner, friends or family, or simply resting. When you view the cost of services through the lens of what you’re else getting in return beyond the service itself, you can make informed decisions about when these conveniences are ‘worth it’. It’s all about understanding the value of your own time.
Robot vacuum, anyone?! Smart home appliances can be pricey, but if it means you get to enjoy a clean home and maximize your time, it can definitely be worth it. Identifying tasks that regularly fall off your to-do list and sourcing solutions that allow you to double down on efficiency can unlock a whole new level of productivity in your life. What you do while your robot vacuum cleans your floors is entirely up to you!
Parents, how long has it been since you had a childless date night?! Having children drastically changes your life, and prioritizing quality time with your partner can be something that gets pushed to the side. Investing in babysitting every once in a while can restore a sense of balance in your relationship, and improve your life in ways you’d probably not considered. If you’ve been wanting to try that new restaurant or catch up with your friends, don’t be afraid to throw some money at things to make it happen.
A busy week at work, sick kids, hectic social calendars — you name it, there are tons of things that can derail our nutrition. Paying for a pre-prepared meal delivery service like HelloFresh might seem counterintuitive from a financial perspective, but if it buys you time to nail that work report or look after your kiddos without a messy kitchen, it could be worth your coin. Plus, it could even save you money in the long run if it stops you from reaching for expensive takeaway options.
Ever had to get to the airport at some obscene time because it was the cheapest flight, or taken some scary budget airline to save a few bucks? Sometimes paying a little extra for comfort, convenience and peace of mind is worth it for the lifestyle value. For example, flying at a reasonable hour could mean you get more enjoyment out of your holiday. It’s not always about just the upfront cost. Consider how your experience would benefit from that extra cost, too.
While you might find yourself refusing to pay for apps in memory of the ridiculous cost for 30 seconds of internet data on your phone in the early aughts, you could be missing out with today’s powerful and affordable apps. From collating all of your favorite online recipes to ditching your spreadsheet and automating your finances, paid apps can be a vital utility and not just a luxury purchase. Splurging for your beloved apps makes privacy sense too — if you don’t have to pay, they could be monetizing your personal data.
Ultimately, knowing when to pay extra for conveniences comes down to your own personal financial situation and values. What adds to one person’s life might not add to another’s, so it’s really important to get to know yourself and what matters to you. Then, seek ways to use whatever financial capacity you have to make life simpler, easier, and more enjoyable.
Emma Edwards is a finance copywriter and blogger, on a mission to humanize the financial services industry by creating meaningful content that’s accessible and empowering. You’ll find her penning money tips at her blog, The Broke Generation, sharing financial insights on Instagram, or injecting life into content for her business clients.