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Budget life has been ingrained in me ever since I decided that as much of my earnings from my first full-time job would be saved for travelling. A lot of people get their first ever job, and blow that first pay check in sheer celebration that they’re making money. And I don’t blame them.
For me, my first real job just happened to come right before my first travel adventure, so living on a budget was the only real option. I was 18, but instead of partying with my friends (well, not every night anyway…), and splurging on a new wardrobe and treats, I put over 50% of my monthly pay into my savings account. Shout out to living rent free with my parents – I never could have done it without them!
That attitude of saving for something bigger, rather than splurging every week, has stayed with me all throughout my students days, my 2 years as a proper, real-life adult with a career, and now, when my travels around the world rely on savvy spending.
There are things worth spending your money on…
I’m a firm believer that being smart with your money doesn’t just mean spending less – it just means spending on the right things.
There are some things in life that are totally worth splashing the cash – I’ve listed my top 5 things worth spending your money on here:
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Good Quality Clothes
Cheap clothes may be friendlier on your budget, but when you have to replace the same item just a few months down the line, the costs soon add up. If I had to choose between an expensive, quality coat, and a cheap high-street one, my money would go with the quality every time. An item of clothing that will last you for years without need replacing is one of the top things worth spending your money on – and gets you one step closer to a more minimal lifestyle.
Bedding & Towels
A few months ago, I picked Pete’s towel up off our bedroom floor and it felt rough and well, crusty… I’m sorry for using that word! That’s what happens when you buy a £4 towel from Asda – it will be barely soft when you buy it, and in a matter of washes, you’ll be drying yourself with material just a step down from sandpaper. Needless to say, we took a trip to Debenhams and made some new purchases that day!
Humans spend 33% of our lives sleeping, and (most of us) wash every single day, so spending a little more money on quality bedding and towels that make life that bit more comfortable is definitely worth it. I’m not saying let’s all splash out on Egyptian Cotton and silk sheets, but perhaps think about how much you’ll be using your bedding next time you reach for the most discounted item.
For great quality towels and bedding that are also great value, I’d always recommend Debenhams as a trustworthy retailer. Check out some of their selection here.
A cheap gadget is a short-lived gadget. I don’t understand the point in buying something that you know is going to fail on you in the next year, with no warranty or guarantee to get your money back should something happen. Some gadgets are ridiculously expensive, even if they do look great (I’m looking at you, Apple MacBooks…), but it’s always worth investing in a quality gadget if it suits your needs and will last you longer.
This is particularly relevant to people who rely on their gadgets for their income – my laptop was a good investment when I got it, and although it’s a little dated now, it’s served me well and I know I can rely on it. One thing I regret not splashing the cash on before travelling? A camera. I use my iPhone for all my travel photos and while it does take a good shot, it’s nothing compared to the pictures I’ve seen people with DSLR or other quality point-and-shoot cameras take.
The Canon SX170 PowerShot is definitely one of those more extravagant purchases, but of all the camera reviews I’ve read (and trust me, I like to do a lot of research before buying anything), this one is the best value for money, delivering a versatile and compact camera that takes perfect photos for travellers and keen photographers, bloggers and vloggers. If you’re interested, check it out for yourself:
Sports gear is often one of the more expensive purchases in my life as a self-confessed health and fitness addict – and why reserve leggings purely for the gym?!
Whether you’re a gym-goer, runner, climber, or have a different fitness passion, you’ll often find yourself looking for a piece of gear to help improve your performance. I’ve bought a lot of gym leggings, sports bras and tops in my time, and the more expensive products are always the better quality – a more comfortable fit, less sweat, no risk of VPL, and a much longer lifespan.
Think of your sports gear – clothing and equipment – as an investment in yourself, and suddenly the costs seem like nothing in the long-term. I’m a huge fan of Adidas and have the collection to prove it – their products aren’t budget-priced, but are great value for money for the quality, design and length of time the clothes last. Check out their range here.
Travel insurance is one of the most expensive purchases Pete and I made before setting off on our trip, but it is so worth it. I know a man who became ill while travelling in New Zealand and had to be flown home to the UK for treatment – without travel insurance, the medical bills would have been in the thousands.
Travel insurance feels like a high price to pay for “just in case” scenarios, but you can’t predict what will happen when you’re abroad, so paying for a good quality insurance policy that covers everything you need will be worth it should your trip go south.
What are your must-have spends? Is there anything that you refuse to stop buying even in pursuit of a frugal life? Let me know in the comments below!