Yes, It’s Completely OK to Spend Money Now and Save Less for Retirement

Discover the benefits of investing in the present and enjoying your hard-earned money.
Updated April 11, 2024
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While saving for retirement is important, constantly delaying gratification may limit your ability to enjoy your life while you’re still young and healthy. 

We all want a comfortable, financially secure retirement, but spending now can actually help you financially prepare for the future.

The key is to strike a balance between spending and saving. One way to accomplish this is by recognizing situations where spending would be more beneficial.

Here are 14 instances when it may be better to spend money instead of saving it.

Do you dream of retiring early? Take this quiz to see if it's possible.

Improving or maintaining your health

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe couple looking at each other tying laces for jogging outdoors

Getting regular checkups, eating healthy, and exercising can prevent chronic diseases and save you from medical bills later in life.

You'll likely feel better, have more energy, and enjoy life more fully when you prioritize your health, so don’t hesitate to buy organic or get that gym membership.

You’ll either potentially live longer or reduce the likelihood of major medical expenses. Either way, your health is absolutely worth the cost.

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Kay A/ women sharing moments of traveling on mobile smartphone

Traveling can be an invaluable experience. Escaping the pressures of everyday life allows you to recharge, rejuvenate, and learn about new subjects and cultures.

When traveling with friends or family, you can create memories together, and maybe even make new friends along the way!

Although traveling can be expensive, you can earn travel rewards that could help you get you discounted flights and hotels. 

Advancing your career

Urupong/Adobe young woman with learning language during online courses using netbook

Strategically investing in your career can lead to significant professional and financial growth. You may consider pursuing a degree, getting coaching, or attending workshops.

You may even want to purchase software to help you work more efficiently. Attending networking events is also an excellent way to grow your career by meeting other industry professionals.

Even if there are upfront costs, making more money later might be worth it. You just need to make sure that the value you’re getting is worth the cost.

Investing in the stock market

shevtsovy/Adobe stock market trader analyzing bitcoin price trend

While it involves risk and may take time, the stock market has seen about a 10% annual return for decades. 

This means you could see higher returns on stocks than from investing in bonds or putting the money in a savings account. 

Stocks can also protect your money against inflation as prices increase. Some companies even pay dividends, which can provide you with an extra source of income as your money grows.

Paying for professional services

NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe thinking financial advisor

Hiring a professional may be the right choice if you don’t have the time, energy, or knowledge to do a job.

For example, many people struggle with emotional stress when budgeting and planning their finances. Hiring a financial planner may provide an objective perspective and help you stay on track with your goals.

Although it may be costly upfront, consulting an expert can be well worth the benefits, depending on the field and your personal experience.

Improving your home

graphixchon/Adobe Woman taking wallpaper off wall in house

Your home should be a place of comfort and security, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about spending money to ensure it’s precisely that.

Upgrading heating and cooling systems, renovating the kitchen or bathrooms, and increasing security can help your space feel more comfortable.

These upgrades can make you happier in your home and could actually increase or maintain its value. This makes these improvements an investment in the future.

Purchasing insurance

zimmytws/Adobe life insurance

You probably have medical or car insurance, but you may not have considered other types of insurance to protect you and your family.

Life insurance provides financial support to your loved ones if you pass away. Disability, travel, and pet insurance might also be worth considering, depending on your situation.

It’s tempting to forgo insurance and save money, but in an unforeseen event, you'll be thankful for the extra protection.

Investing in personal development

BullRun/Adobe male student sitting at table using laptop to prepare academic notes

Whether you’re taking a cooking class or buying a new book, it's always a good idea to make room in your budget for self-improvement.

Pursuing your passions and interests can help you feel more fulfilled in life. You may also gain new skills and knowledge that you can profit from.

Attending therapy can also improve your mental health and strengthen your relationships with the people around you.

Maintaining your vehicle

HBS/Adobe car mechanic worker working using wrench tool for repair

Keeping up on your vehicle’s maintenance may save you money in the long term and ensure your safety on the road.

Worn brakes, bald tires, and malfunctioning lights present safety hazards that could endanger you and your fellow drivers.

Regular repairs and maintenance may also improve your vehicle’s reliability, fuel efficiency, longevity, and resale value.

Buying time-saving conveniences

Pixavril/Adobe delivering amazon prime packages

If time is money, it may be worth it to invest in conveniences that will save you time.

For example, installing a dishwasher in your kitchen may be a sound purchase. Instead of washing dishes, you could use that time to exercise, work on your side business, or just relax.

This could also apply to meal delivery, online shopping, lawn care services, and other time-saving conveniences.

Spending money on gifts and celebrations group of people toasts together at party

Celebrations and gift-giving are integral to many people’s social lives. They can build stronger connections with those who matter most to you.

Giving people gifts can show them your love and appreciation. You may also recognize milestones or achievements by celebrating with friends and family.

You shouldn’t feel guilty spending money on these occasions because it helps bring you closer to your loved ones and gives you a feeling of satisfaction.

Opting for quality products

olly/Adobe woman buying at a shop

High-quality products may save you money if they provide better performance and durability. 

Specific mattress designs, for example, can improve sleep quality, spinal alignment, and pain reduction. High-quality clothes, shoes, electronics, and furniture may also be a worthwhile investment.

Whether it’s to ensure the product lasts longer or increase your enjoyment of it, buying the higher-quality version may be the better option in the long run.

Donating to charity

Monkey Business/Adobe people donating food to charity food bank

Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, you can still donate to a cause you believe in. It may bring you happiness to know you were able to make a difference.

Letting others know about your donations could also inspire them to donate, causing a ripple effect that can positively impact your community.

However, don’t forget to research beforehand to ensure the charity is reputable and spends enough on the actual charitable causes instead of overhead or administrative costs.

Enjoying life now

Vasyl/Adobe happy couple having fun with moving boxes

Life is short, so you should prioritize what brings you joy. Whether that’s going out to dinner or buying a new phone, you should occasionally treat yourself.

No one knows what the future holds, so waiting until you retire to enjoy life may not be the best plan. Instead, you should experience life to the fullest while still young and in good health. And that may involve some spending.

Bottom line

Antonioguillem /Adobe Two females travelers discussing a payment

Although saving money should be a priority, spending some is healthy and allows you to enjoy the present moment and make yourself happy.

When you find a healthy balance, you can save money to retire comfortably without completely depriving yourself of enjoying your life before then.

Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone, so you shouldn’t fret over making the most out of today while saving for the future.

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Author Details

Carley Clark Carley Clark is a personal finance writer from Michigan. She graduated from Spring Arbor University with a bachelor's degree in business. After graduation, she worked in finance as a revenue auditor at a casino. Carley strives to write informative content that will help readers meet their financial goals.

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