If you’re fortunate enough to have some money left over from your monthly salary, you may be wondering how to spend it effectively. Whatever the size of your disposable income, how you spend your cash can make a big difference to your overall wellbeing, success and future wealth.
In this article, we outline eight key areas where you might want to spend your money – and the suggestions might just surprise you.
What to spend money on for greater happiness and success
Do you regularly ask yourself, “what should I spend my money on?” If so, you’re not alone. Once you’ve paid your bills and other essential costs, you have some important spending decisions to make. But with so many possibilities, it can be difficult to know exactly what to spend your money on.
Ultimately, it’s up to you, but research suggests that spending your hard-earned cash on the following things could make you – and those around you – that little bit happier.
1. Your physical and mental health
Want to know how to spend money wisely? Start by investing in your own physical and mental health. It’s easy to neglect your health in favour of quick gains, but you need to take a long-term view. After all, there’s little point in working hard to earn money if poor health means you’re unable to enjoy the benefits.
Fuelling your body with nutritious food is vital if you want to stay in good physical and mental shape. Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost more (vegetables are among the cheapest foods available), but it does require you to spend money in the right areas. In some cases, paying more for healthier alternatives e.g. low salt or reduced-fat varieties, will always be money well spent.
If you can afford to, consider spending money on things that will improve your overall fitness. Whether it’s a gym membership, dance classes or yoga lessons, spend money on the sporting activities you enjoy. As well as keeping you fit, regular exercise is great for your mental health.
Other health-related areas where you may want to spend your money include:
- Optical appointments and treatments
- Dental check-ups and procedures
- Physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic treatment
- Complementary therapies such as massage and hypnosis
2. Education and self-improvement
Education is another area you might want to spend money on. While a degree or professional qualification can be costly, they’re usually a worthwhile investment, especially if you have your sights set on a particular career.
But learning doesn’t have to stop once you’ve secured your dream job. If you can afford to, invest in continuing professional development (CPD). With so many sector-specific courses available, spending money on CPD is a great way to enhance your skills and increase your earning potential.
Of course, self-improvement doesn’t always mean furthering your academic or professional studies. Spending money on cultural activities that broaden the mind is equally important. Books cost little more than your favourite takeaway coffee, yet they have the power to reshape your outlook and understanding of the world.
3. Your future
When contemplating what things to spend money on, don’t forget about your future. While living in the moment has its benefits, investing in your future will help you to achieve your savings goals and provide more financial security.
It’s never too early to spend money on your retirement, so consider making or increasing payments into a pension fund. Even if your retirement seems a long way off, investing spare cash for your later years will pay dividends in the long run. For more advice, read our guides to pension planning.
Do you have a specific goal you would like to achieve? Whether it’s buying a house, getting married or having a baby, setting aside money is crucial if you want to accomplish those future life goals. Even if you are living on a modest wage, there are usually ways you can still save money. Our articles ‘Ways to save money on a tight budget’ and ‘How to live well on a small income in the UK” contain some handy tips to help you.
In this guide, we look at how much you need to save for a baby, how to go about saving for a baby and some of the benefits that new and expectant parents are entitled to.Read more
Want to buy a car? Find out how best to save to buy a car, how much you might need and how long it might take.Read more
Are you looking for a savings account to help you to save for a holiday? Discover which savings accounts you should consider for your holiday savings and why they might be right for you.Read more
4. Experiences and travel
You might think it’s sensible to spend money on material objects over intangible, one-off experiences. After all, a new coat can last for years whereas a music concert is over in a couple of hours. However, research shows that spending money on experiences can make you happier than investing in material objects.
While buying new possessions can boost your mood, the endorphin rush is usually only temporary. Experiences, however, can provide an ongoing source of happiness. Not only do they create life-long memories, but shared days out can bring you closer to family and friends. Plus, the anticipation of an experience often brings more joy than the wait to buy material goods.
Travel is widely considered one of the top experiences worth investing in. It’s not always cheap, but it can make you richer in other ways. New friendships, knowledge and a greater understanding and appreciation of the world can all come from travel. Planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip? Read more about saving for a holiday here.
5. Things that make your life easier
Spending money on items that make your life that little bit easier is a wise decision. Whether it’s a new piece of software to speed up work tasks or a kitchen gadget that will make your home life smoother, investing in solutions that meet a specific need is money well spent.
If you have a problem that needs addressing, research possible solutions that will help you to overcome it. Once you’ve completed your due diligence and you’re confident the item will make your life more productive or enjoyable, consider buying it.
Although being frugal has its benefits, it’s not worth enduring daily frustration when paying for a simple solution will solve the issue.
6. Items you use daily
If you use something on a daily basis, it makes sense to spend a bit more money on it. While there are some areas where it’s easy to cut costs, there are others where quality does matter – especially when that item is being used every day.
Items such as mattresses, appliances, furniture and shoes all need to withstand rigorous use. Opting for the cheapest option could mean you have to spend more money paying for frequent replacements. Not only could this cost you more in the long term, but it’s inconvenient and bad for the environment.
It may also be worth spending more on electrical goods with better energy ratings. An energy-efficient dishwasher, for example, might have a higher upfront cost but this may be negated by a reduction in your energy bills over the year.
7. Clearing your debts
It might not be exciting, but paying off your credit card debt is one of the most beneficial things you can do with your money, especially if you’re paying more in interest on your debt than you’ll earn on your savings. Certain credit cards can charge very high interest rates and if you don’t manage the debt effectively, you could damage your credit score.
Clearing high-interest debts may seem overwhelming at first but it can be very rewarding and improve your long-term financial prospects. Using the avalanche or snowball method to systematically reduce your debt can be particularly satisfying.
Having a credit card can be useful, but it can also mean incurring debt. Read our guide to find out how to pay off your credit card debt and avoid getting into debt on your credit cards.Read more
8. Giving more to others
Spending money on your nearest and dearest can increase your own happiness and wellbeing. Watching their reaction when you give them something they’ve always wanted is a sure-fire way to release those endorphins. What’s more, gifting doesn’t have to be expensive. Sentimental handmade gifts are often some of the most cherished.
In addition to treating loved ones, consider helping those who are less fortunate. Aside from helping to make a real difference, gifting to charity can be an enriching experience. The rush of buying material goods simply can’t compete with the joy that comes from doing something to make the world a better place.
In the UK, gifting money to your loved ones is pretty easy, but it’s important to bear in mind that some gifts might be taxed by the government. On this page, you’ll learn everything you need to know about gift tax, including your gift allowance and gifting exclusions.Read more
On this page, you’ll learn what these rules are, what the tax implications are on large gifts and things you may want to consider before you give your children money.Read more
Do you want to grow a savings pot for your grandchildren? Read our guide for some of the best savings accounts to consider, and understand how tax works when you’re saving money for your grandchildren’s future.Read more
Not spending money can also be rewarding
If you’re living on a tight budget or you’d rather save money from your salary, not spending can be equally satisfying. It’s especially rewarding when you reach a milestone savings goal you’ve been working towards.
Raisin UK gives you access to a range of competitive savings accounts from our UK partner banks, including easy access savings accounts and notice accounts. Applying is easy and only takes a few minutes. Visit our website to register for a Raisin UK Account today.
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