I wanted to talk about spending by going over the five best purchases that I’ve made in my 20s, or, more specifically, the five ways I spend money that I believe are well worth the cost. Now I’m not going to cover basic necessities like food and shelter because obviously, those things should come first. But after I’ve covered those basic living expenses and set aside some money to invest as well, I like to spend some of my excess cash on a few things that will benefit me and that fit into one of three specific criteria.
Each of the things on this list has to either improve my life in some way, generate some sort of return for me, or bring genuine happiness into my life because I think it’s very easy for a lot of us to overlook the fact that happiness really should be one of our top priorities. And I’ve always thought to myself, “What good is all the budgeting, all the saving, all the investing that I do if I don’t spend at least some of that money that I have on things that will bring positivity into my life?”
So let’s just get right into it here with my first best purchase, and this is something that goes hand in hand with my love of credit cards, and that is going to be travel. Now, growing up, I never really traveled too much because, usually during the summertime, if my family and I ever went on vacation, it was just a quick two-hour drive over to the good old Jersey Shore.
And I still love going to all the beaches in South Jersey as much as I can, but as I got a little older, I started traveling to a few different places across the United States, and I even got to leave the country for the first time to visit Ireland a few years ago. I mean, I thought it was so cool getting to see all these new places and meet all these new people.
So I knew that once I graduated from college in 2018 and started working full time and making money, I had to at least find some way to work and travel within my budget. Of course, as you’d probably expect, this led me to the world of credit cards and credit card points, which can allow me to travel almost completely for free, which was really important to me because I was on a pretty tight budget since I was trying to get ahead financially as early as possible.
I quickly learned from places like Reddit and YouTube how to use credit cards to my advantage. And now I like to share some of that information with you here as part of the content on this website. But by using a combination of points and some of the cash that I was setting aside, I was able to make my money stretch a little bit further, and I never regret anything that I ever spent on travel.
Now, the reason why I included travel as one of the best ways that I’m spending money in my 20s is that I’ve found that when I’m traveling to new places, not only does it give me these new memories that I know are going to last forever, but it also helps to give me a better perspective on how much else there is out there in the world outside of our normal everyday lives.
When I was younger, I really liked to spend money on things like new electronics, new video games, new clothes, new shoes, or whatever else. But as I grew older, I realized that those things only provided short-term happiness that faded after a few months, if not a few weeks or days. But the fun memories and even the photos that I can look back on from all my traveling and exploring new things are going to last for years and years, and they can’t be taken away from me, unlike most material things that can get old pretty quickly.
2. Gym Membership
Now, for the second best purchase, this is something that I think has improved my life in a number of different ways, and I’d actually argue that it’s helped to make me more productive so that I can generate a return from other things that I work on, and that is going to be a gym membership. So, in most areas, a gym membership, or membership to any other type of fitness club, is fairly inexpensive.
I only pay $35 per month for my gym because, first of all, it helps to keep me in shape and healthy, and then hopefully, the healthier I am, the less I’ll have to see doctors, and the lower my overall health-related expenses will be. But second of all, and more importantly, going to the gym has taught me two very important life lessons that I’ve applied to many other things, namely, to be consistent and to fall in love with the process of getting better.
I’ll be honest, I was a pretty skinny kid growing up, and by the time I was finishing up high school and entering college, I decided that it was time to start taking going to the gym a little bit more seriously to hopefully improve myself. And over the past six or seven years of working out the right way, I’ve noticed a very gradual but very real change over time, and all I had to do was just show up, give my best effort, and stay consistent.
Real results do not happen overnight, but the more that I fell in love with the process of getting better, the more enjoyable it became for me to go to the gym, and then eventually it just became a normal part of my schedule. And so, by learning these things from going to the gym with my gym membership, I applied that same mindset to other areas of my life, such as this website, when I started it almost one year ago on January 26th, 2022, with my first blog.
I told myself to keep showing up by uploading regularly and then trying to get better with each and every post. Eventually, I figured out a way to grow slowly but surely here on my website. But back to the gym membership being one of my best purchases last year, in 2022, I decided to add on another gym habit that I hoped would help improve my life as well.
And that was waking up early, sometimes as early as 5 a.m., to go to the gym and start my day off with a workout. And the reason I decided to start doing this was that I discovered that working out first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day off right. However, it will also provide a significant energy boost, allowing me to be more productive in other areas of my life throughout the day.
And actually, I credit this boost in productivity with helping me get this website off the ground while juggling other things in my life, like a full-time job. Now you can lift weights like me, go for a run, take a fitness class, or really do whatever works for you. And by no means do you have to work out early in the morning either. But the point here is to find something that you can do to better yourself and your health little by little. And if you can stay consistent and fall in love with the process of doing that, then you’ll start to see results in other areas of your life as well. So go out and buy a gym membership or anything similar to that because it’ll definitely be worth the money.
3. Good Technology
Now the third-best purchase in my 20s is going to be another thing that has helped me to grow this channel as a business that now generates some decent income. And that is going to be a good technology. Now, this is going to include any sort of quality smartphone or laptop or anything that again can help to generate some extra income from an online business.
I’m sure that you’ve read plenty of blogs out there where people talk about making money online from things like blogs, YouTube, Amazon, drop shipping, or whatever else. But people have learned that they can now leverage the power and reach of the internet to increase their income, as long as they have the right tools to do so.
And while there are plenty of ways to budget and save money, and in order to build wealth, what many people in today’s world are doing is they’re creating online side hustles and side businesses. This can create multiple streams of income. And it’s the reason why I included good tech on this list of the best things that I’ve purchased in my 20s.
I knew that if I was going to start this blog, I would have to buy things like a good laptop, a good tablet, and a good phone to make that happen. I actually started this blog by just using my old iPhone 11 to write posts. And then I edited those posts with the free software on my MacBook Pro. But if I was going to take this website to the next level, I knew that I would have to make some better tech purchases to do so.
And I spent some other money here and there on some other things related to this website business. I also bought a new MacBook Pro a few months before I even started writing a blog because I knew that it was a good and reliable computer that I could use for any sort of online business that I wanted.
When used correctly, technology purchases can be one of the best investments you ever make. Obviously, you don’t want to overpay for something or buy tech that’s too powerful for what you need. But the technology that I’ve bought has allowed me to generate income that’s been many multiples above what I paid for that tech. So it’s an investment that’s well worth it for me.
4. Information and Learning
And this brings me to the fourth thing that I would say is one of the best things that I’ve spent money on in my 20s. and that is information and learning. Now, I know that sounds very broad. So let me get a little bit more specific with what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about a college education because, obviously, that is a huge investment that only you can decide if it’s right for you depending on where you want to go with your career.
What I’m really talking about here is learning new information in your own time from things like books, audiobooks, podcasts, online courses, YouTube channels, and really anything that can increase your knowledge, or your “human capital,” as it’s sometimes called. I think it’s always important to have a sense of curiosity and an eagerness to learn new things because, as I talked about before with going to the gym, we should always be striving to get better.
There are now plenty of free resources out there. And I definitely suggest that people start with those free resources. But what I like to do is pay a little bit of money here and there for some paid information as well. Personally, I’ve grown to appreciate having an audible subscription because it’s only $15 or $16 per month. But I then get one credit each month so I can download an audiobook of my choice.
And then I have that download forever. And if you have an Amex Platinum card like me, that audiobook subscription is going to be covered by the digital entertainment credit on that card. So I get good value from that. Now I like audiobooks because I can just listen to them if I’m doing something that otherwise might seem like a waste of time.
For example, if I’m driving somewhere, folding laundry, or doing the dishes, I can hopefully learn something new from that audiobook while doing those things. I’m really trying to get back to reading actual books too, but I know myself pretty well. And I do tend to get a little bit distracted as I’m reading through the physical pages.
So hopefully I can improve on that in 2023 because I do want to read some new books. I forget where exactly I heard this, but I do remember hearing somebody say that if they spent $5 or $10 on a book, and then that book led them to think of a new idea for a business or help to develop a skill that can increase their income or potentially make the millions one day, then the ROI right there is massive and worth it every time.
Now one of the most popular ways for people to learn new information in today’s world is from online courses. And with these, I do like to recommend that people be very careful with their money. I pretty much just stayed away from online courses myself because I believe that there’s an unlimited amount of information out there. All you gotta do is look for it and you usually can find it for free.
You can do whatever you want, but just know that for every one good online course out there, there are probably another three or four bad ones that might just be recycled information or the information inside those courses. It may sound good and like a get-rich-quick scheme, but the people teaching those bad courses did not become wealthy by following the advice they’re giving you.
They got rich by selling you those overpriced courses in the first place. But anyway, I know that right now in my 20s, this is a very valuable time when I want to try to learn as much as possible because then, in the future, I can leverage all that knowledge to hopefully increase my income and improve my life in other ways, plus all that knowledge that I have up in my head can’t be taken away from me. It’s all there for the future. It’s just going to keep accumulating. And I think that’s a great thing too, which is why it’s one of the most important things that I spend money on right now in my 20s.
5. Dating and Relationships
And now finally, we’re on to the fifth and last way that I like to spend money in my 20s. And this way is going to be something that I don’t see many other people talk about, but I do think it’s one of the best ways that I spend my money because it does make me very happy. And that is for dating and relationships.
Now, right off the bat here, I just want to say that I’m not talking about spending money in some of the ways that you guys might be thinking, I’m just joking around here. But what I am talking about is spending money on dating and relationships because life is better when you experience it with somebody else. That’s something that my mom taught me from a very young age. And she always told me as I was growing up.
And now I know what she means. My girlfriend, Jackie, and I met two and a half years ago. And everything that I’ve talked about in this post has been better with her by my side. Whether you’re single and looking for someone, or if you have a boyfriend, a girlfriend, or you’re married, I think it’s definitely worth it to spend some money on your relationship because this is an area of life that can make you very happy if you give it the proper attention.
I know that nothing makes me happier than when I can put a smile on my girlfriend’s face. So I try to remind myself of this because it can be easy to forget when we get caught up in the rest of our lives. If you’re single, then spend a little bit of money on a dating app or first date. If you’re in a relationship or you’re married, go out on a date night or buy your significant other some flowers or some coffee or something like that.
Jackie, if you’re reading this, I love you, and I hope you enjoy the flowers that I got you. You don’t have to break the bank, but you also don’t have to let your efforts to budget and save prevent you from spending a little bit of money on somebody that you care about and somebody that makes you happy. Make sure that you minimize your larger fixed monthly expenses as much as possible. Don’t succumb to lifestyle inflation because your income may rise and you invest a little bit each month.
But as long as you’re doing all those things and spending a little bit of money each month on your relationship, it’s going to be a good thing, and your financial health will still be in good shape. Let me know if there’s anything that I missed that you would include on this list of the best things to buy in your 20s. But as always, I just want to say thank you so much again for reading this post.