There are a lot of things I don’t buy in order to save more money. In fact, I made a list of them here. But there are a number of new things that I do buy, now that I’m saving more money and working on achieving financial independence. It probably seems counterintuitive, but sometimes spending money now will save money in the future.
For example, in my post about everything I don’t buy, morning coffee at my favorite coffee shop is one thing I learned to do without. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy really good coffee. I simply learned how to make it myself. I do splurge on the quality coffee beans from my local coffee roaster. While the beans cost more than a tub of instant coffee, my overall savings is still significant compared to my old daily latte habit.
Here is a list of all the things that I did start spending money on, all in the name of actually saving more money in the long run.
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Contents and Quick Links
- 1 Higher quality products that will last longer
- 2 Education
- 3 Travel
- 4 Better coffee so I still enjoy my morning brew
- 5 Home decor and furniture
- 6 Heating during the winter
- 7 Subscribe and save products
- 8 Home workout subscriptions
- 9 Home Gym Equipment
- 10 Amazon Prime membership
- 11 Energy efficient light bulbs
- 12 A high quality phone case
- 13 Investments
- 14 Recap
Higher quality products that will last longer
Back in the days when I thought that having a small savings buffer and then living paycheck-to-paycheck was perfectly adequate, I was buying a lot of stuff that didn’t last very long.
I mean, if it’s cheap, it’s cheap, right? It’s not overspending if it just didn’t cost that much to begin with.
But this simply isn’t the case. I’ve learned that there are certain products that last so long, and provide so much added value, that they end up costing less money over time.
Products I have spent extra money on include:
Reusable coffee filter
I became tired of buying paper filters at the grocery store so I researched whether I could use a reusable filter. I found a great one on Amazon that has been going strong for 3 years now. While the paper filters are more convenient, I love my coffee strong and I love to save money.
This reusable filter has been a great investment.
High quality shoes
I went on a minimalist kick and cleared out a bunch of shoes that either weren’t in good shape or just didn’t get worn very often. Then I purchased a few targeted, high quality replacements.
The result: fewer but higher quality shoes that are comfortable and will last years.
Cast iron and GreenPan cookware
I’ve learned something over the years, non-stick aluminum cookware doesn’t last very long. The non-stick coating wears off, the aluminum dents and they just aren’t safe to cook with once this starts happening.
Finally, I took the leap and invested in a couple of cast iron skillets. One small and cute one for my morning eggs (which I seriously love using every morning!) and another large skillet for making big dinners. I had never used cast iron before and I had no idea what I was missing out on.
The best part, my son will probably be using these same pans 30 years from now.
I also really love GreenPan cookware. I have friends and family and I use them myself every time I visit. Next time I need a new pan, this is on my list.
I have this egg pan in yellow and it brightens my morning:
Various cast iron skillets in case you don’t have one. These are easy to find a garage sales and clean up really well:
The GreenPan cookware that will eventually replace my older set:
I might be super frugal in many ways, but educational spending is not one of them. I strongly believe in the importance of continued self-improvement and learning. My blog would absolutely not be where it is today without spending more money that I’m comfortable with on blogging education.
But this is an investment in myself and my business. If I want to do better, build a better business and financial future, education is a must.
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Learn from the people that have become experts and become that expert, too. Without the years of trial and error.
Save this post for later by adding it to your favorite Pinterest board!
I didn’t cut this out because it adds so much value to my life. I am however smarter about it. I added new credit cards with reward points and make all my purchases by credit card. Then I buy my airfare with points.
I airbnb a home with a kitchen so I don’t have to eat out all the time
I also make sure the airbnb rental is central to where I need to be so I can walk everywhere and not rent a car or spend a lot on transportation.
Travel hacking is seriously amazing, read more about it here.
Better coffee so I still enjoy my morning brew
As I mentioned earlier, I really love my morning coffee. More for the enjoyable morning routine than the need for caffeine to wake myself up. I really do get a little grumpy if I have to skip it.
Which is why I’m not willing to compromise on the quality of this simple little pleasure. Spending close to $50 a week at Starbucks wasn’t in my budget anymore. However, buying high quality coffee beans and a quality filter works just fine.
Home decor and furniture
I mentioned this in my last post on all the things I don’t spend money on anymore. While I don’t buy the seasonal home decor that gets rotated through and stored most of the year, I do buy higher quality furnishings that I can enjoy all year round.
Obviously I shop around and spend as little money as possible, including refinishing my own yard sale finds, but I only buy items that will last and I absolutely love.
Also, since I don’t go out as often anymore and have people over instead, I really enjoy having finishing touches to my home and creating a space that I love to spend time in. This includes candles, place settings, better furniture and wall art. My new rule is that if I don’t think I’ll love a home decor item 5 years from now, I won’t buy it.
Heating during the winter
This is one I hear about a lot in the financial independence community. The idea is that you get your monthly expenses very low such that you don’t need very much money saved before retiring early. Part of maintaining very low monthly expenses is not spending much on heating or air conditioning.
However, I draw the line at being miserably cold. I want to enjoy my life and be comfortable, and being cold all the time is simply not something I’m willing to do in the name of frugality.
That being said, I no longer heat my home to 72 degrees and I only run the heat when I’m actually there. I also added more blankets to my bed and keep the house a bit cooler at night. One thing that’s on my wish-list is a heated mattress pad. This would allow me to keep the house even cooler at night, and probably pay for itself in the first year.
Also, if you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, consider installing one. If you’re forgetful and sometimes leave the heat or AC running after you leave the house, it really adds up. This way you can set the schedule and let it run on autopilot.
Subscribe and save products
I am new to the whole concept of “subscribe and save”. But now that I’ve discovered it, I’m a huge fan. It really does save money, as well as time and gas because I don’t have to run as many errands. Here are some things that I subscribe to and are automatically delivered on a schedule that works for me:
Household cleaning and personal care products
I use Grove to order all my cleaning supplies and some of my personal care products now. The VIP program allows you to order the items you use regularly at whatever time interval works for you and your family, with free unlimited shipping. Then they throw in freebies with each shipment. This is a great way to try out new products and see what you like. It also means you won’t run out of products and end up running last minute errands to purchase at full or marked up prices.
Do it yourself hair color
Since I gave up going to the hair salon and having my hair professionally dyed, I order my products online and on a schedule. By recommendation, I tried out Madison Reed. And, since I don’t have take time to reorder every few weeks, I don’t actually miss any shipments (which would be horrible because I’m so not ready to sport the grey look!). The best part, by subscribing to automatic shipments, I get a 20% discount on my products.
This is another item that I know I need to order on a regular and ongoing basis, so I may as well save money on it. I save an additional 5-10% by ordering on Amazon using “subscribe and save” and it’s automatically delivered every 4 weeks.
While I don’t know exactly how often I need laundry detergent, I do have this one on a 3 month auto-ship schedule, then I go into Amazon and adjust the shipment time as needed. Subscribing to auto shipments saves and additional 10%.
Home workout subscriptions
I gave up my local gym and CrossFit classes in order to save more money, but I still needed some type of workout program. I’m not so motivated that I can pull out a play list and my own HIIT (high intensity interval training) routine when I’m half asleep in the morning.
So, there are two programs that I subscribe to.
I love, love, love Daily Burn. They have a huge Facebook community and more videos than I can ever go through. I’m very particular about the type of workouts I do, and I need fairly advanced programs. They have me covered.
They are also fantastic for beginner and intermediate levels.
Another option, which is free, is Fitness Blender. They offer free YouTube videos and you can filter for just the type of workout you want to do.
Since I haven’t been super motivated to run lately, I tried a two week free trial of Aaptiv. It’s an app that I have on my iPhone and includes downloadable workouts with a coach. While they have home and gym workout routines and treadmill runs, I use the outdoor running program. There are many different coaches to choose from, each with their own unique style.
Having a coach (and varying playlists) talking me through my whole run and telling me exactly what to do and when has been a HUGE help in getting me out the door.
Home Gym Equipment
Speaking of working out at home, one essential to make this possible is a set of free weights, a yoga mat, weighted exercise ball, foam roller and HIIT (plyometric) box. Obviously the essentials will vary based on the type of workouts you prefer.
I had my dad make my HIIT box for me, however, if you aren’t so lucky, you can buy the same thing on Amazon or from Daily Burn. This one little box can do so much for you!
I also go through a yoga mat every year. Apparently a cat and a ton of burpees and jumping around are fairly hard on them.
To buy my free weights, I hunted around on Craigslist for some barely used sets. I also planned out my workouts ahead of time and figured out exactly what weight barbells I would need, and only purchased those.
Another necessary expense that is well worth every penny: a high quality sports bra. I moan and groan about the price every time I need a new one. And then I’m grateful I spent that money every time I wear it.
Amazon Prime membership
Since I try to drive as little as possible these days and I hate overpaying at the local stores, most of what I purchase comes from Amazon (as you probably noticed). I also use Amazon Fire tv instead of cable, so that Prime membership more than pays for itself.
Energy efficient light bulbs
Once I started focusing on saving money, I realized that none of the light bulbs in my home were energy efficient. I was kind of horrified to realize this. I spent some time on Amazon searching for the least expensive cost/bulb pack of led lights and changed them all out. I did notice a slight drop in my electricity bill. Not only are they cheaper to use, they will last quite a bit longer as well.
A high quality phone case
I don’t like to carry a purse so I need my phone case to protect my phone, hold credit cards and cash (yet doesn’t look like a wallet) and fit in my back pocket. This is asking a lot of a phone case. So, I did some research and found one that is 100% guaranteed and highly reviewed.
Sadly but fortunately, my new phone case was put to the test. I was traveling in another country and dropped my phone in the street. I was biking through a construction zone. Before I could pick it up, not one but TWO heavy construction dump trucks ran over my phone! Here I am in a foreign country and this is my only tie to everything familiar.
I fully expected my phone to be a pancake. Instead, all it had was a cracked screen. $40 and 4 hours later my phone was good as new. Needless to say, I LOVE my Incipio Stashback phone case!
Saving money is important. But it’s also important to make that money saved up start working for you. Investing is key to actual wealth generation.
I worked very hard to increase my savings rate. My goal was to save $75,000 and then buy a house. But not a house for myself. I wanted a rental home that my tenants would pay for and would continue making me additional income. I am now the proud owner of a duplex and my tenants pay the full mortgage, taxes, insurance and all expenses and I still clear an additional $400/month. This will increase over time as the mortgage gets paid down, the house appreciates and the rent goes up.
Additionally, I started setting aside more money to contribute to my retirement accounts and to start buying Vanguard ETFs.
Saving money and then putting it to work is how I was able to increase my net worth by $300,000 in just 5 years. I couldn’t have achieved this through a simple savings account.
Building the new habit of saving more money seems daunting, but really isn’t that difficult. It helps to first track your spending, understand where you money is going every month, then pick one or two areas to cut back on. While there are a lot of things I have learned to stop spending money on, there are certain things I do buy now that I’m saving more money and working to achieve financial independence.
The most important thing I’ve added to my life is education. I added this category to my monthly budget and typically spend between $1,000 and $1,500 every year. If the book, course or conference is going to help me invest, manage my business or save more money in the long run, I consider it a valuable expense and wise investment.
Even when I’m trying to spend less money, I don’t hesitate to invest in my personal growth and learning.