by Katie Little
There is a fine line between miser and smart spender. As your accounts grow in size and decimal places, there are several key purchases that may increase your quality of life — and even save you some cash in the process!
A range of experts shared advice for items that savvy investors should buy in order to climb the ladder and accumulate wealth while also increasing day-to-day enjoyment.
Here are 10 thrifty ideas for smart ways to spend more without feeling guilty:
Hire Some Help
Time is money. If your hourly income is more than what you would pay for someone else to clean the house, walk the dog or mow the lawn, then hiring some help makes financial sense.
Jennifer Litwin, an author and consumer reporter, added that grocery delivery can be a big-time saver. Litwin listed “avoiding the new long self-check-out lines; getting fruits and vegetables that are well-wrapped and packed; and shopping from the comfort of your own home and still being able to take advantage of sales” among the service’s advantages.
The time saved from outsourcing some of your daily chores can be used to relax after a long day at work, log in some extra face time at the office, or brainstorm new investing ideas.
Dress for Success
Sloppy outfits are not exactly an express ticket to the C-Suite. While Silicon Valley is known for its casual environment, rocking the hoodie in a typical business landscape may elicit some unwanted attention — even if you’re Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Fanya Chandler, Nordstrom’s national stylist director, advised investing in core pieces.
This means men can splurge for a high-quality suit while women can spend a little more on the dress, skirt or jacket. Blouses are a spot where women can scale back a little, she said.
Loren Bendele, CEO and co-founder of Savings.com, suggested investing in handbags, well-made jeans and staple children’s clothing also.
Table for Two, Please
If you’ve found the One (or narrowed it down to one for now), don’t forget about date night.
While anniversaries are often associated with splurging, Bendele said surprising your plus-one with tickets or going out to dinner could be a way to build lasting memories.
“Date nights don’t necessarily have to be expensive either,” he said. “Picnics on the beach, breakfast in bed and candlelight dinners at home are always big events.”
Research from the National Survey of Families and Households provides further evidence for the importance of some alone time.
“Indeed, the predicted probability of divorce for those who rarely had couple time was 21 percent for both wives and husbands, but only 14 percent for wives and 10 percent for husbands who reported having couple time almost every day,” wrote researchers from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project.
Turning to the Financial Pros
Depending on the extent on your burgeoning financial empire, adding a trusted financial adviser to the payroll may be a good idea. Experts have years of experience that they can draw on to grow your portfolio while you can concentrate on your own career. But be sure to keep tabs on your accounts and ask questions to make sure that their investing values and philosophies match your own.
Is Your Business Card Rolodex Ready?
“That's bone. And the lettering is something called Silian Rail,” boasts Patrick Bateman in “American Psycho,” in which he exhibits some serious business card envy.
For this tip though, skip the corporate competitiveness and concentrate on the basics.
Entreprenuer.com suggests sticking to the standard business card size of 3.5 inches by 2 inches, keeping cards simple and including relevant contact information, including company name, phone number, email address and website address.
Critical information should be relegated to the front since business cards often spend the rest of their days in card holders that obscure the backs.
While many companies will provide employees with cards, this suggestion is especially useful for people trying to expand freelance or side businesses.
It’s Tool Time
Buying high-quality tools can save time, money and a leaky drain or two if you learn to use them correctly. But don’t be tempted to quit your day job to become Mr. Fix-It full time for your home though — if a problem arises that is beyond the scope of your skills, call the pros.
With average 30-year and 15-year fixed mortgage rates at record lows, homeowners should consider whether now is a good time to refinance. Freddie Mac said the 30-year loan rate had dipped to 3.79 percent as of May 18, the lowest since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s.
“Record-low mortgage rates and low home prices are making home buying more attractive to Americans, and refinancing is a perfect example of spending money so you save more in the long run,” Bendele said.
Saying 'I Don't' to Cash Bars
As the average price of a wedding climbed to more than $27,000 last year, according to the Real Weddings Survey, couples-to-be may want to consider wedding insurance. Several companies offer policies that range in coverage type and level to help couples recover lost expenses if plans go awry.
Anja Winikka, TheKnot.com’s site editor, said that couples should not skimp on either some form of a gratis bar for guests or a reputable photographer for the big day. She also suggested spending the extra money to get some professional help to help coordinate the wedding festivities.
“As much as you want to take on the creativity of DIY activities for elements of the wedding, the last thing you want to do on the day of the event is worry about the flowers, food, etc.,” Winikka said. “There are some vendors that should be hired professionally to avoid a stressful wedding day.”
Skip the Nosebleeds
Sporting events, Broadway, concerts — these are a few times when upgrading seats and paying a little extra may be worth it. But this does not mean that splurging for the VIP passes is the best idea either. Aim for the middle ground for maximum enjoyment with minimal impact on your wallet.
This concept also applies to family vacations.
“You can’t put a price tag on the life-long memories from family vacations,” Bendele said. “It is important to spend time together, and whether you plan a modest vacation or a more extravagant one, enjoying time spent together is a highly valuable investment.”
Networking to the Top
Rubbing elbows at relevant networking events is another area where it is important to spend. Investing in memberships at professional societies in addition to dinners and fundraisers provides plenty of opportunities to further your career and catch up on the latest news in your industry.
Same goes for personal development seminars and courses as long as you put them into action, said J.D. Roth, founder and editor of the personal finance blog getrichslowly.org.
“Any personal development is a good investment, if you ask me,” he said. “But only if you act on the things you learn. Just going to a bunch of seminars won’t make you a better person. You have to put the things you learn into practice.”