Every item you purchase can be an investment, from a loaf of bread to a new computer. So what are the best ways to invest when you buy?
Food is pretty much a one-time deal. You buy it, eat it, and that’s the end of that money. However, what you eat isn’t just a temporary fuel source. Just like a car, the quality of what goes in plays a part in how long and how well it stays running. Not to get preachy here, but even though you can eat a bowl of ramen for 20 cents, that’s sort of like funneling bootleg whiskey into your gas tank. It’ll keep you going, but does more harm than good in the long run.
Organic is out of my price range, and I’ll admit to eating my fair share of cheap, hyper-processed noodles. But I also try to balance that out with healthier options. Less expensive fruit like bananas still give your body ample nutrition. If you like salad, try mixing cheap iceberg lettuce with more nutritious Romaine and green leaf, so you can eat it every day.
Your body is the one thing that will be with you all of your life, so it’s your most important investment.
This one is obvious if you’re living in your own home, as real estate can be a great investment. But what if you rent? You may not be investing money in the traditional way, since you’re not going to own a rented home. But since a large portion of your monthly income is going toward rent, you should make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
There are so many ways to invest in good clothes. My preferred way is to spend very little on new-looking clothes from consignment and thrift shops. It doesn’t matter how quickly I destroy them, since I only paid about a tenth of the original cost. Of course, you can also buy new from reputable retailers. Land’s End and L. L. Bean, for instance, offer lifetime guarantees on their clothing.
When it comes to investing in clothes, price and durability aren’t the only important aspects. Another element of long-sighted clothes buying is limiting your trendy purchases. By all means, go buy that cut of jeans that’s popular right now. But maybe limit it to just one pair, because in a year and a half, they’ll be out of style. Is anyone (besides unfashionable me) wearing Gauchos anymore? Nope. They’ve fallen out of style. So no matter how well they’ve lasted, they’re still folded up in someone’s closet.
What about buying things that depreciate rapidly, but are pretty much necessities? Computers and other technology fit the bill here. My best advice is to buy as new as you can, bearing in mind the possibility of updates and the items overall utilitarianism once it’s become outmoded. I recently bought a new laptop, and it cost me quite a bit. But, unless an unprecedented technological explosion happens, it’ll serve me for at least the next few years before it become decrepit and unusable. I also chose to buy a laptop, so it’s more functional for the money I spent.
And then there are the other things. Items that appreciate in value. Mostly, these are going to be collectibles. For people who have a beloved collection they like to add to, don’t worry too much about spending the money. As long as it’s not coming out of money earmarked for savings or regular expenses, you’re still investing that money. You may never want to sell, but it’s still a smarter purchase than over-priced convenience food that has absolutely no value once you purchase it.
No matter how well you save, you’re going to have to spend money on a very regular basis. But if you keep these things in mind, your purchases, even the ‘disposable’ ones like food, can be well-planned to give you the best possible future.