The small cheese plate came with only two cheeses but paired with my wine it was like heaven. It was at that moment that Paula from Afford Anything said, “this is why I earn money: to have these experiences.” We were eating at Empire State South in Atlanta and loving every moment of it. From our charming waiter, to our perfectly split rib-eye steak, the whole night was incredible. Then the salads came out and we were in awe of their beauty. We’re not those people that photograph their food – not normally, anyway! But for this, we couldn’t resist. The entire evening was delightful, down to the candies that came after dessert. (Note to restaurant owners everywhere: I’m a huge fan of dessert after my dessert. Please make this a trend.)
Why I Never Regret $100 Dinners
I don’t go out for fancy-shmancy meals all that often, but when I do it’s usually for a special occasion or while I’m traveling so I like to live it up. In the past 6 months, I can clearly remember the last few expensive meals I’ve eaten: my 30th birthday dinner, a girls’ trip to Fargo, and a dinner at FinCon. This is one of my favorite ways to spend my money because I’m spending it on experiences! A memorable meal with good company is what makes me happy in life. This is how we use our money to match our values: by investing in relationships.
Cutting the Big Costs to Make Room for the Smaller Ones
People often ask me, “how do I balance savings for the future while enjoying life now?” It all comes down to spending less that you earn, but you have to decide how you want to do that.
Do you want to spend a large percentage of your income on rent and then stick to a tighter budget for discretionary expenses? That works great for some people, but I would rather have low living expenses and live a nicer lifestyle than have a beautiful house and not be able to enjoy life’s luxuries. Paula is the same way, which is why she lives with roommates at age 30 and I totally get that. By cutting a large expense like rent or a car payment, it frees up cash flow for the discretionary spending that really matters to you.
It’s OK to Spend Money
Often times financial planners and personal finance experts focus on cutting costs and eliminating expenses so you can ramp up your savings, but that kind of restriction can only be sustained for so long. I believe that it’s critical to balance savings goals with enjoying your life now. As important as it is to build financial security, it’s totally OK to spend money on things that make you happy. Sometimes I think that we need to cut ourselves some slack and enjoy life a little more. Go ahead, splurge on an unforgettable experience!