When you’re trying to save money for whatever reason – whether it be for a holiday, a mortgage deposit, or paying off debt – your instinct is likely to spend as little as possible in every area of your life. Whilst cutting the amount you spend on certain areas is undoubtedly good news for your savings efforts, pinching pennies when it comes to some items could actually be doing your finances more harm than good in the long run.
On top of this, living on a tight budget shouldn’t mean reducing your quality of life – if you force yourself to forego all but the most necessary expenses for long periods of time, your budget will be less sustainable and, ultimately, more likely to fail. Below are five ideas for things which investing in will serve you well in the future – despite costing more now.
One – Shoes
Obvious though it may sound, having good quality shoes is important for a number of reasons. Physically, more supportive shoes are better for your feet and posture, whilst better quality materials will do more to protect them from the elements. When you’re buying clothing on a tight budget, it can be tempting to simply choose the cheapest pair of shoes you can find. However, as many of us have experienced, cheaply made shoes can be a menace.
They can literally and figuratively leave you with cold feet, and are far more likely to quickly fall apart than their more expensive counterparts. Despite saving money in the short-term by purchasing cheap shoes, doing so actually wastes money in the long term, since you will probably have to replace them more often. Buying quality shoes doesn’t necessarily mean investing hundreds of pounds on designer footwear, but thinking carefully about how comfortable and long-lasting a pair of shoes are likely to be is as important a factor as price.
Two – Kitchen Knives
As well as being safer, investing in good quality kitchen equipment can save you a significant amount of money in the long run. It is well known that sharp knives are actually safer than blunt ones, because they glide through what you are chopping more easily, and make it less likely that the blade will slip.
As well as this, buying better quality knives, which have been forged rather than stamped, means you can sharpen them yourself at home rather than having to fork out the money for a new set. The best knives are designed to last a life time, and investing in a set which will last you for years to come is a good way to save money, which can also make the experience of cooking safer and more enjoyable.
Three – your Car
It goes without saying that safety comes first, so, even on a tight budget, maintaining your vehicle is vital. Regular maintenance, such as having your car serviced, can not only make journeys safer, but also save money by removing the need for more major repairs further down the road.
The same logic should apply to choosing your insurance. For example, selecting a high voluntary excess might reduce your premium, but it will put you further out of pocket should you have an accident. By the same logic, investing in breakdown cover is also likely to save motorists money overall, since getting roadside assistance elsewhere can be costly and inconvenient. Although there is nothing wrong with shopping around for vehicle maintenance and insurance, short term price should be carefully balanced against possible long term outcomes.
Four – Cosmetics
Cosmetics might seem like an obvious area for cutting, rather than increasing, spending, but this can actually set you back in your savings goals. Paying a little more for trusted brands will usually mean receiving products which last longer, so you will have to replace the product less often.
In addition, we naturally care what we put on our skin, and sometimes cheaper products are more likely to cause irritation. Cosmetics are an area where it can be difficult to balance cost against quality but, fortunately, online reviews can give you a good idea about whether a slightly more expensive brand is worth paying for. If it turns out cheaper versions are just as effective and long-lasting, no competition, but this will not always be the case.
Five – Experiences
As mentioned earlier, budgets which don’t allow for any treats at all are unsustainable, and will ultimately push your saving goals further away when you fall off the budgeting band-wagon. Probably the best way to keep yourself motivated is to spend treat money on experiences rather than things.
You might celebrate reaching a saving goal – say, paying off one debt – by going out for a meal with friends or family. Using experiences as treats also helps to mitigate the social isolation which a strict budget can cause, by not allowing any money for socialising. Investing in experiences doesn’t have to mean rushing off on a fortnight’s exotic holiday, but allowing some money for doing the things you enjoy will make you a happier and more successful saver.
You might decide to treat yourself to the occasional dinner at a nice restaurant, or pay to take a class in a hobby such as painting or sewing.
Sometimes, clearly, spending a little more now can save you a lot of money in the future – the key is to know which areas you can afford to cut back on, and which are worth dedicating more funds to. Click here for more information about how you can save money and overcome debts.