It is known that being frugal is a virtue, as it will likely prevent us from falling into any financial trouble.
However, too much of a good thing can be harmful if taken to the extreme.
There are times when it is wiser to spend more on quality than quantity.
Consider it a long-term investment. Although you are paying a higher upfront cost, you can get a better return on investment as you get to enjoy the benefits of your purchase for longer.
You may be splurging more in the short run but getting more in the long run.
With that, let’s take a look at nine things you should almost always spend more on:
As the saying goes: ‘You are what you eat.’
If you eat unhealthy food all the time, you are going to start feeling, looking and becoming unhealthy.
This is largely because your energy, mood, health and well-being are all affected by the food you eat.
According to Active Health, people who have a healthy and nutritious diet tend to:
- Have a healthy body weight
- Feel better about themselves
- Have more energy for daily activities
- Are less likely to develop conditions type-2 diabetes and heart disease
- Have a stronger immune system
- Enjoy better physical and mental health
Thus, it is worth paying a premium for fresh foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish etc.
After all, health is wealth. If you are in the pink of health, you will not have to spend so much on healthcare costs.
In a similar vein, you should spend more money on your fitness and exercise.
The benefits of eating healthy apply here as well. In fact, both go hand in hand to improve your health and well-being.
This used to take for granted, but now that I’ve hit the big 30, my metabolism has slowed, and I have gotten more prosperous:
But last year, I decided to make the decision to lead a healthier lifestyle by gradually increasing the number of times I exercise from zero to five times a week this year.
I started playing badminton about three times a week, swimming, swimming at public pools and working out at home, spending about $100 plus a month.
You don’t even have to sign up for a gym membership.
One of my colleagues is engaging in Calisthenics (exercises that only rely on a person’s body weight).
The exercises can also be done almost anywhere, including spots like the fitness corner near your home.
The Reddit thread r/Calisthenics is a good place to start.
Arguably, the most important sense is our vision.
We take in the majority of our impressions through our sight. Also, if our other senses, like smell or taste, are not working well, we will have to rely on our sight to get us out of danger.
This is why it is definitely worth spending more to get the most comfortable pair of glasses or contact lenses, as we are using them for about 16 hours a day.
If you wear glasses, you should go for the thinnest lenses with a scratch-proof and anti-reflection coating. The jury is still out on blue light lenses, though.
It is commonly heard that blue light is the #1 culprit in causing eye fatigue.
But according to Dr Sunir J. Garg, a spokesperson of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this common saying is not data-driven.
He mentions that it is understandable that people would buy into this – since our eyes do get irritated and tired after staring at the computer screen for hours.
But the problem here isn’t the blue light – it’s the duration we are staring at our screens, which leads to less blinking, which then leads to drier eyes and, therefore, irritated or tired eyes.
As for scientific studies, the ones that are present now are animal experimental studies (mostly mice), when they are exposed to very high-energy blue light, there is a chance of retinal damage.
This result, however, cannot be directly translated to humans.
The studies done that were closest to human was the placement of human retinal cells onto Petri dishes and the shining of intense blue light on them.
However, our retinas are protected differently in our eyes as compared to these cells on the dishes.
Therefore, there is currently no evidence in humans that it damages our retina or causes macular degeneration.
Nonetheless, despite the lack of scientific evidence, both Dr Najjar and Dr Garg did acknowledge that there were some patients who mentioned that their eyes felt less tired when they started using anti-blue light glasses.
Thus, getting a pair might yield different effects on different individuals.
If you wear contact lenses, get those with the latest breathable technology for the utmost comfort. And definitely do not wear your disposable contacts beyond their recommended use-by date.
Also, in sunny Singapore, it is good to get sunglasses with strong UV protection.
Personally, I can vouch for the glasses tip as I recently bought a really affordable pair of glasses for less.
But barely a few months in, the frame is already falling apart.
I regret not spending more on my spectacles, as I may have to spend more to get a decent pair.
4. Dental Care
Sadly we cannot grow back our teeth or gums. The adult teeth we have in our mouths are the only ones that we’ve got.
This is why it is important for you to take care of your oral health by flossing and brushing at least twice a day and visiting the dentist about twice a year.
5. Clothes And Shoes
As many famous figures like Mark Twain would attest:
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
Thus, instead of buying clothes and shoes that are of average quality, buy a few really good quality sets of clothes and shoes.
Sure, the upfront cost maybe two or three times higher.
But, these quality items tend to be more comfortable, last longer, and you will have less clutter in your house too.
To save more, you can check out these outlet stores in Singapore that sell off-season items at a discount.
Did you know that Singapore is the third most sleep-deprived city in the world (after Tokyo and Seoul)?
For the precious little sleep we have, investing in a better mattress just makes sense for our comfort and our health.
This is because a bad mattress can increase your stress levels; lead to back pain;, more snoring; and make you more susceptible to ailments linked to sleep deprivation.
With work-from-home (WFH) arrangements becoming more widespread due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might spend more time sitting in front of the computer in your house.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been getting random back pain as I get older.
With a solid well, designed ergonomic chair, the risk of back pain is greatly reduced as these chairs have a backrest that supports the natural curve of your spine.
These ergonomic chairs offer support for the entire back and then some.
Some even recline for added comfort and relaxation.
As Warren Buffett, arguably one of the world’s best investors, has said:
“By far the best investment you can make is in yourself.”
Your energy and creativity would pay off a lot more if it was focused on building your career and your income rather than optimising your investments.
We are not saying that investing well is not important. But building your career and your income should be prioritised.
One way to do it is to upgrade yourself by taking up the relevant courses and certifications to get ahead in your career. Our guide to making full use of your SkillsFuture credit should be a good place to start!
In an earlier article, I wrote about how the VALUE of anything is the amount of life (or time) you pay for it:
Even though money can’t buy happiness, you can ‘buy’ back your time and reduce your stress levels to spend time on the things that truly matter.
Instead of saving money, you are saving time, which in my opinion, is arguably more valuable.
Some examples include:
- Expanding your Grab/GoJek/ComfortDelGro etc. budget if you don’t own a car
- Hiring a part-time cleaner or maid to help you with cleaning the house
- Paying full retail price instead of spending hours hunting for deals on the internet
- Eating out instead of cooking.
The list goes on.
If you are working hard like the majority of Singaporeans who are overworked, don’t feel too guilty about doing this.
After all, time is our most valuable resource. Once it is gone, we cannot get it back.
Although these things are generally good for most people, you have to think critically about splurging on these things as well.
What do I mean?
For some, taking up fitness classes, going for a regular massage, buying an ergonomic chair or travelling with the purpose to learn of foreign cultures is considered splurging.
A good rule of thumb to determine what you should splurge on is to find something that is important and give value to you. More importantly, it must not exceed your budget.
When you ‘splurge’ in this manner, paying more than average is considered cost-efficient.
For example, one of my side hustles is that I am a freelance photographer. I also use my camera at work for any portrait work or simple videos that Seedly needs.
Clearly, cameras are important to me.
This is why I spent much of my savings on a mirrorless camera (i.e. the Sony A7iii).
Sure, the camera is not as cost-efficient as it is two or three times more expensive than the standard camera, but it is not two or three times better.
However, it is still much better than the standard camera, allowing me to do some freelance gigs and enjoy photography for longer.
But, on balance, having a car is not important for me as public transport is so accessible in Singapore, and I do not have a family that I need to ferry around.
You get the idea.
Looking to Budget Better?
Why not head over to our Seedly Community, where you can ask our savvy community members for tips and lifestyle hacks!