Invest. Retirement. College. An emergency fund. Home repairs. Check, check, check, and check. If you’ve been saving faithfully each month for some or all of these things, you might feel as though you’re on a never-ending financial treadmill.
But with such focus, it’s possible to get into a rut–a rut of always saving for the future with nothing left for today. If so, it might be time to take a step back and focus on the present. If you can’t remember the last time you felt rejuvenated, energized, or inspired in your day-to-day life, consider investing in a new asset: yourself. In fact, focusing on yourself from time to time might just give you the extra motivation you need to stick with your long-term savings plan.
Imagine you find yourself with a small windfall, maybe $500 to $2,500 from a tax refund, work bonus, reimbursement from a health or dependent care flexible spending account, or a cut in discretionary expenses. Here are some ideas on how to spend it–on yourself.
Focus on your health and well-being
Are you feeling a bit sluggish or stressed out? Having trouble sleeping? Watching the pounds creep on little by little each year? Make an effort to focus on your health and well-being. Staying active is critical to maintaining good physical and mental health. Regular exercise can help control your weight, prevent disease, improve your mood, give you more energy, help you sleep better, and generally make it easier for you to tackle all the things–financial and otherwise–on your plate each day.
What about your diet? Do you frequently eat on the run? Rely too much on processed foods? Maybe it’s time to invest in some new kitchen equipment, cookbooks, or even a cooking class so you can try new recipes and discover dishes you enjoy.
Along with better physical health, could you benefit from some inner peace and quiet? Consider creating a meditation spot inside or outside your home where you could go to relax, read, or reflect on your day–a bench under a favorite tree, a new chair next to the fireplace, or a small desk tucked away in a corner.
Expand your horizons–literally and figuratively
Do you feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, living the same day over and over? Doing something outside your normal routine can shake out the cobwebs and give you fresh inspiration. Take a weekend trip to a new destination, enroll in an adult continuing-education class, or get involved in a new project or hobby and see how much fun a new creative outlet can be.