You know that game you play when the Powerball skyrockets up to some astronomical amount and your co-workers start to collect $5 from everyone to buy tickets? The old “what would you do if you won the lottery?” song-and-dance in which one person says they’d keep working, one person acts all benevolent and says she’d donate it to charity and then you’re honest and say you’d quit your job, buy a few homes, travel a bunch and then get tired of everyone you ever knew asking you for a loan.
Considering that the odds of you winning the lottery are pretty much non-existent and many folks end up blowing it all in a few years anyway – I quite prefer this practical question posted on an episode of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast.
“How can I ‘waste money’ to improve my quality of life?”
Tim used $2,000 a month as this sample discretionary fund to put towards improving his quality of life, but let’s say you’re not a multi-New York Times best-selling author and angel investor with a successful podcast. $2,000 sounds like a beautiful sum to squander, but $500 felt a more realistic amount for many millennials. So, for the fun of hypothetical questions though, I posed Tim’s question to Peach with both the realistic sounding $500 level and then the fingers-crossed-one-day-in-the-future amount of $2,000. There was one catch: he couldn’t use the money to invest, save or pay off debt.
We batted our ideas around for a while. Peach focused his funds on increasing his ability to see his family by either flying them to New York City or him taking regular routine trips back to his hometown. He took the improving quality of life from a mental health perspective.
I opted for the money to improve my quality of life by outsourcing chores I despise like meal planning and cooking, thus freeing up time similar to Tim’s initial point in the podcast.
- Dedicated parking or the use of Uber in major cities
- Spa days featuring massages and facials
- A personal trainer
- A chef to cook healthy meals or a food delivery service or buying only organic food
- Housecleaner and/or laundry service
- Meditation classes
- An assistant
- Indulge in expensive restaurants
You probably will find $500
“Basically – what would you do if you didn’t have to make student loan payments…I think about this all the time…Sigh” one of my friends wrote on Instagram.
She’s right, many people will eventually have an extra $500 a month by paying off debt or earning raises via traditional jobs or generating more income in freelance life or starting a side hustle. Unfortunately, you might not realize you’ve got that spare $500 or even $2,000 around to allocate towards improving your quality of life because of the slow creep of lifestyle inflation.
By the time those student loans, credit cards, personal loans or car payments are handled – will you still be living far enough below your means to enable the spending of $500 to improve your quality of life?
Or, if you’ve always been a freak about handling your money and never been in debt (like me), will you be able to get your mind out of the intense frugality headspace in order to justify “wasting money” in order to improve your life.
My struggle to waste money
As a New York City dweller, I do not have the luxury of a washer/dryer in my apartment. Instead, I must walk the 500 feet (thank goodness it’s close) to my laundromat at the end of the block. Because I’ve gotten close with the owners after more than five years of doing business with them, I just dump my clothes in the washers, go home, return in 27 minutes to move my laundry to the dryer, go back home and return in 56 minutes to fetch my clothes. Typically, I dump them all in my laundry bag and head home to fold. Scintillating, I know.
Due to a series of events two weeks ago, I found myself folding laundry at the actual laundromat on a Wednesday night. In the 20 minutes it took me to fold my laundry, there must’ve been about eight people who popped in to pick up their freshly laundered and folded duds. It felt as if I was the only person on my block that actually bothers to do my own laundry instead of dropping it off.
It would probably cost me about $20 each week to get my laundry washed and folded by the pros. Even though I can return home while my laundry is going, it’s hard to get much done in 27 minutes and then an hour later I’m interrupted again to return and halt to fold and put away my clothes.
This is a long-winded way of telling you, I rationally know it makes more sense for my time value of money to just pay for the laundry service, and yet I struggle with actually pulling the trigger. My mind makes excuses about how there’s a lot of clothing I hang dry or that I like everything washed cold and only dried permanent press and what if they mess up something of mine and then I’m out that money? Pretty pathetic reasons to not ‘waste my money’ on something that will improve my quality of life.
Overcoming mental blocks
Due to a large amount of travel, this month consists of only 8 full days home in New York City. Plus, the second draft of my book is due mid-month. So, what better way to force myself into using a laundry service than by doing it at a time when I feel it’s highly justified because I need every extra moment possible to get work done or just take a moment to relax? Next week is the test, so we’ll see if testing the waters this month can lead me to “waste” some more money in the name of outsourcing menial tasks and improving my quality of life.
How would you spend $500 to improve your quality of life?
Image taken from Pexels.