If you can afford to meet your needs and still have money leftover, you are faced with two options when it comes to spending that extra money: material good or experience. Do you choose to buy that bigger television set or do you buy concert tickets? Do you take a nice vacation or buy a nicer car? This of course doesn’t include the third option (and probably the most responsible) of simply saving that money, but that is no fun. Saving of course is important, don’t get me wrong, but that isn’t what this post is about. When it comes to spending money, I tend to spend it on three things: good food, concerts, and travel.
I spend it on food, because I’d rather eat well than have the nicest things. Growing up, my parents weren’t rich. My mom owned a daycare and my dad was a teacher. I lived in West Philadelphia until I was 12. I attended a K-12 school, where I was the minority. I never had the nicest name-brand shoes or clothes, but I did have a nice healthy lunch every day. The kids with the nice clothes normally bought the frozen pizza or cold chicken nuggets they sold in the lunch room. I had toys at home, but I never had a Sega or Nintendo like my friends. I did have gourmet home cooked meals with my family every night.
The result: I prefer good food over pretty much everything else. I’d rather shop at the local co-op or Whole Foods and only buy organic, then buy clothing at Nordstroms or Macy’s. I can’t make it out of the grocery store without spending at least $100, because good food excites me. The funny thing is though, I’m no chef. I cook several dishes really well and the rest I just make up. I love fresh organic produce. For this reason, I try to only shop once a month or I will spend all my money at the grocery store. In the long run, I believe spending a little extra on my food means spending less in medical bills down the road. If you treat your body well, you will have less ailments. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy eating bacon from time to time though.
The second thing I spend the most money on is live music. Ever since I was born, my parents shared their love of music with me. I danced on my mother’s feet to the rhythms of Bob Marley or the doo-wop of the Temptations. My father came home every day from work, kicked off his shoes, changed from his shirt and tie to tie dye and put on the Grateful Dead. Of course, when I was young I wouldn’t admit my parents music was cool. I was busy in my room blasting, “Let’s talk about sex,” by Salt and Peppa. When I hit 12 years old, I went to my first concert. It was, embarrassingly enough, a pop concert featuring N’Sync, 5ive, Destiny’s Child, Shaggy, and other hip groups at the time. In that same year, I attended 15 concerts. By 9th grade, I transitioned into more of a hippie than a teenie bopper and attended a Dave Matthews Band concert with my best friend and parents. I lost count after that. I’ve probably attended upwards of 200-300 concerts in my 28 years of life. My dad would be proud. Our phone conversations consist of discussing which concerts we are both planning to attend in the near future.
My dad is super cheap about everything. He cuts coupons on the weekends. He complains if the store shorts him 25cents. If Paul McCartney comes to town, he will drop $150 on tickets. Concerts are the only thing he spends his money on. I’m a bit of a daddy’s girl, so I spend a lot of my money going to concerts. I love the experience of it all. Even though it isn’t something you can hold in your hands, it is a memory you will have for a lifetime. Being able to hear your favorite songs and scream them at the top of your lungs along with your favorite band is one of the best experiences in life, I think. Feeling the reverberation of the music as it wraps its arms around you, is like no other. When I was unemployed and couldn’t afford to go to shows, I picked up a part-time job working security at the concert venues. I even got to meet some of my favorite artists. That experience is priceless.
The third thing I spend my money on is travel. I’ve worked three jobs at a time just to save up for travel. I’ve lived on bare minimum budgets, just to afford a big trip. I started traveling at the age of 12 and have become addicted ever since. Most of the possessions I’ve spent my money on were just things I needed for travel. I’ve visited 25 different countries and been to several of them more than twice. I try to never take a trip abroad that is shorter than a month. I don’t vacation, I travel. I vagabond. I normally travel very poor, but I make the very most of the experience. It has been said that, “travel is the only thing you spend your money on that actually makes you richer.” I believe that is very true. All of my travel experiences have taught me so much about life, that I feel richer for the experience. I don’t have a savings account, I have a travel account. The only thing in life that can force me to save, is travel. The mere thought of all the adventures I will have abroad, forces me to choose to live very frugally at home (minus the food and concerts though of course).
This isn’t to say that I haven’t spent money on possessions. I do happen to have a minor dress obsession. I’ve learned to curb it though, in order to afford the food, concerts, and travel. In no way am I trying to judge what other people choose to enjoy with their money. I simply thought I’d share the three things I spend mine on. I think you can learn a lot about someone if you ask them, what are the top three things you spend your money on?