Sometimes the best investments return no money

June 22, 2009 · 4 comments

Can ya guess where this article is going? It’s time to get all sentimental up in hurr and take a step away from money… kind of. If you’re like me, it’s probably not uncommon for you to make everything become a monumental financial decision. I have been trying to balance my priorities and make sure my journey to being freaking rich doesn’t prevent me from having fun and making “investments” in other areas of my life.

As much as we value money, I’m sure we all value friends, family, fun, happiness, beer?, sleep, laughter more. As a means of accountability (to myself) I am going to lay out the various parts of my life that I want to continually be investing in.

The girlfriend (aka The Girf): Let’s face it, dating is expensive. I don’t reap the benefits of combined housing, joint checking accounts, dual income like I will when there is a ring around my finger. As the boyfriend, I personally believe I should pay for virtually all meals. That’s not because I feel obligated too, but because I want to. But as we all know, dining out can get expensive real quick. I have actually caught myself avoiding dates with my girlfriend to spare a couple bucks…dumb. There is nothing wrong with paying a little extra for an “investment” in our relationship. The date isn’t just about the food we shove in our face, but about the quality time we get together, trying something new, and getting away from distractions. I’d way rather pay $20 for a meal with my Girf than $20 to go a movie theatre and not get to talk to her. I will temper my uber frugal nature with a little bit of love and common sense.

Family/Friends: I live in San Deezy. The majority of my family and friends live in Seattle. A round trip ticket usually costs around $250. It’s been a while since I have gone home just to go home. That’s not to say that I haven’t been lately (was there in January, March and April), but each trip had a specific purpose. January was Xmas time and March and April were both for weddings. It’s been a while since I have just taken a vacation for the sole purpose of enjoying the company of my parents, siblings, and friends. I think about heading up there every summer for a week long get away, but haven’t done it since college. Even if I can’t make it back to the Pacific Northwest I can sure try and call/email/tweet/facebook/instant message/text my friends and family more often.

Food: Eating healthy is easier said than done for me. I just can’t get over how expensive it is to eat organic, non preserved, no sugar, etc. I have cruised to the grocery store and made it a mission to buy healthier choices. Needless to say, the bill is noticeably higher. I use to be frustrated with a larger grocery bill, but then I thought to myself “Is more expensive ALWAYS a bad thing?” I enjoy life and want to extend my time on earth as long as possible. Eating twinkies, Jack in the Box, and ice cream wont help accomplish that goal. Over the last year I have drastically changed my eating habits and I try to cook (from scratch) the majority of my meals. Although, I still don’t buy strictly “organic” I have definitely improved the sexiness of my grocery cart.

Fitness: I think we all know that running, yoga, weights, sit-ups, and just about any other type of physical activity is good for us, but few actually do anything about it. Don’t pull the “I hate running” or the “I have a bad back and can’t lift weights” excuse. Everyone can do something to improve their physical fitness. You know, and I know, that we should dedicate at least 30 minutes of our day to some type of activity (no going to the fridge to grab a popsicle doesn’t count as an activity). When’s the last time you broke a sweat? I hope it wasn’t when you were trying to squeeze in to a pair of jeans you use to wear 6 months ago. It takes discipline to get healthy, just as it takes discipline to get out of debt.

These are just a few of the areas of my life that I want to make a conscientious daily investment in. These returns will far exceed those of my 401k and Roth IRA. Where are you investing your time? What are some important things that you have let get away from you? What are you gonna do to better your quality of life?

{ 4 comments }

1 Josh

It's true what you say. People should watch a little less TV each night and use that time to invest in themselves. One thing I try and do everyday is practise my guitar. Seems like I'm not making much progress, but eventually I have to get better.

2 Jesse

I'm right there with ya. My wife and I have always fought about eating out. I finally decided it wasnt worth fighting and we both just need to enjoy it and be sensible at the same time. We havent fought about it for years now and we are both really happy and conscious of our spending on that sort of thing.

Its sometimes hard to find the right balance but once you do its worth it.

3 Punch Debt In The Face

@ Josh – I wish I had musical talent, I'm sure if you stick with it you will see some improvement over time

@ Jesse – Yeah we have had our fair share of arguments, but have since found a happy medium.

4 Bret

For eating healthy on the cheap, try your local Trader Joe's store.

Even the non-organic food is much better than the grocery brands and they usually cost less.

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