We often hear that we should save money, not spend it frivolously, but I think there are certain things you can spend money on that will genuinely make you happier. And not just for the five minute thrill of holding it in your hot little hands, but a lasting happiness. These are some of the things that have cost me money, that I have no regrets about and that have brought me joy.
These are difficult times we are living in through the coronavirus pandemic, and of course a lot of people are worried about money; they may have lost their job, or be worried about what the future will hold, and I totally understand that. Even though these things cost money, many of them were bought in the past, and they continue to make me happy now. I would never advocate spending money that you don’t have, or spending money if you are worried about your job, but you can also make the most of things you already own, or even look on sites like Freecycle, or eBay, to see if there are free or low cost items that could make a huge difference to your happiness, in your current circumstances.
I know, I know, it’s a digital world now and we should use our Kindle rather than have a book to hold. I do have some books on my Kindle – most of which were bought at a bargain price (thanks, BookBub 😉 ) but to me, there is nothing like the thrill of holding a book in my hands. Snuggling down in bed, which is where I normally do my reading, trying desperately to keep my eyes open while promising myself I’ll read ‘just to the end of this chapter’. I do love a thriller, but often they will keep me awake at night, which I always regret the next day. My main go-to though are self development books – I just love them. I’m going to write a blog post about my favourite books, so keep an eye out for that. And I know there are cheaper ways to read than actually buying a book, but I do visit my local library now and again – the problem is, I come out loaded with books that I can’t wait to read, and end up renewing them online about three times before finally giving up and taking them back because I don’t have time! I really do have a problem with books – but it’s a problem I’m happy to have! I truly believe that reading can open doors to other worlds, help us escape from the day to day and of course can give us skills and knowledge. I have always told my son that reading is the key to making it in life, and I absolutely believe that.
Yes, there are alternative phones to the iPhone – I had one for a while, a HTC model, and while it was ok, it didn’t bring me half as much pleasure as my iPhone. Who would have thought that we would have the ability to hold mini computers in our hands, through which we can access all kinds of goodies? Apps for health, for finance, social media, news, personal contact information, videos, music, podcasts – the list goes on. Oh of course and we can talk to people…! One of the things I worry about when the actual zombie apocalypse comes (yes, I am a Walking Dead fan..) is the fact we will no longer be able to use our phones. And whilst I have an iPhone, which I know isn’t the cheapest, I always shop around for a good deal, and keep my phone far longer than the two or three years that a contract lasts. And of course as soon as I am out of contract, I buy a cheaper SIM only deal.
I have seen many, many bands, and almost without fail, going to see them live has made a massive impact on me and brought me so much pleasure. The first band I saw live were Wham, and I literally could not believe that I was singing at the same time as George Michael. In fact, I still can’t believe it now – that you are singing along with your musical heroes – at the same time. Mindblowing. Many of my favourite tunes have been the soundtrack to my life at different key times, such as The Script when I was going through my marriage breakup. It really helps to know that other people have faced difficulties in love or life and have come through the other side. Going to gigs is such an amazing experience, music can touch your soul or move you in so many ways – joyful and uplifting, moving and emotional, and it is such a privilege to be able to experience the energy and performance in a live setting.
The Specials, at Coventry Cathedral; July 2019
Help around the house
I’ve been lucky enough to have had the services of a cleaner at various times, and whilst I am happy now to take on the cleaning of my home myself, at times it has been invaluable to have someone else help me by taking on the cleaning task. For example, when my son was little, my husband was working away and I was studying and working part-time; also when I first got my contracting role after taking my redundancy and had to be at work at 7.30 in the morning (which was a massive shock to the system, I can tell you). The women that helped me out then made a huge difference to my quality of life – and fair play to them, they were setting up a business and working for themselves, which is no mean feat. Being a single parent, running my own home, there are always maintenance and improvement jobs to be done, and I can honestly say it gives me so much pleasure to give someone a list of the little jobs that need doing, and to see that list completed after a couple of hours. It’s a great feeling. There are some jobs I will attempt myself (I even bought myself a drill..) but sometimes it is much more cost effective to pay for someone else’s skills to get it done quickly. I’m lucky enough that I know a few good people, particularly one ex-colleague who is very handy, and is happy to earn some extra money for helping me out. Win win!!
Throws, candles and fairy lights
Inexpensive, but a great way to make your home feel cosy and give you that Hygge feeling. I really love a Sherpa fleece throw; that underside of fleece really makes you feel that you are snuggling up, almost as if you are in bed but no, it’s just you lounging on your sofa watching the tv! Candles are a great way to throw a bit of mood lighting; even better if you get scented candles (but not cinnamon – please, never cinnamon!), but you have to buy the quality candles so that they burn well and don’t just burn down the middle leaving you with an outside edge that really gets on your nerves because it hasn’t burned down evenly. What? Me? Picky? Nah 😊 And fairy lights, well these are so magical on the Christmas tree, why not add a bit of that magic all year round by arranging them on your mantelpiece, or over a shelf unit, or swirled inside a glass vase – or even wrapped around your bed frame.
Foaming shower gel and ‘posh’ bath gel
This is one way that I can make having a shower feel really luxurious – and the Imperial Leather foamburst gel is the best I have found. It is rich, lathers well and you don’t need loads to get yourself really clean. I wouldn’t buy the unicorn or mermaid ones, but that’s just me. Oh and don’t let your teenage son get his hands on it or you will have none left after three days (speaking from bitter experience..). Posh bath gel – well for me the ideal is something like Badedas – and I know that isn’t posh for some people, but it definitely was when I was growing up! During my childhood we used to have this ‘for best’. That lovely pine smell, oooohhhhh. But any creamy, luxurious gel will do it – Sanctuary Spa do a lovely one too.
Enjoying a bath like….
photo by Lubomirkin on Unsplash
What have you spent money on that has brought you joy? Let me know!