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Top 8 Luxuries That Make Financial Sense to Splurge On

By Mary McCoy

luxury coupleHave you ever made a bargain purchase and had it backfire on you? Perhaps you bought a cheap pair of jeans, only to have the seams unravel in a few short weeks. Or maybe you bought a discounted airline ticket with multiple layovers, but arrived at your destination, exhausted and agitated, without your luggage.

With the benefit of hindsight, you might realize that spending a little extra is sometimes worth the money. The trick is in knowing when it pays to pay more. In fact, there are circumstances in which making a luxury purchase can actually reduce your costs over time.

Luxuries That You Can Afford

1. Personal Trainer

You can easily pay $50 or $100 per hour to hire a personal trainer, which frightens away a lot of consumers. However, there are many reasons to bite the bullet and pay up. For example, many who train on their own don’t use the equipment correctly and don’t know how to achieve their desired results. Furthermore, too many don’t understand how different diets can impact their training regimen. You could waste many months and hundreds of dollars with an inefficient workout and an ineffective diet without ever reaching your fitness goals.

Even though the upfront cost may seem steep, a personal trainer can ultimately save you wasted time and expense by helping you develop a regimen that addresses your goals and gets results. If you pay the standard rate for two workouts per week for four weeks, you can develop a custom fitness and diet plan plus get one on one assistance to make sure you’re correctly using equipment and maintaining proper form. Once you develop good habits, you don’t necessarily need to retain the training services as long as you can remain self-motivated.

To reduce your costs, take advantage of a couple of industry tricks. First of all, remember that cost is always negotiable. Be prepared to haggle and bargain just like you would when buying a car. Second, try to negotiate at the end of the month, when trainers and managers are most focused on meeting their sales quotas. If all else fails, find a friend to go to your training sessions with you – it won’t split your costs in half, but it’s likely to reduce them significantly.

2. Top-Notch Leather Boots

Trends change over time, but leather boots never go out of style. They work as an important wardrobe staple that can take you from day to night in a snap. If you’re in the market for new leather boots, it makes sense to purchase a pair that is classic, comfortable, and well-crafted. Even if you spend $500, you can wear them for years, even as general clothing styles change. Not only that, an expensive pair is likely to be kinder to your feet, which can further their longevity in your closet.

To home in on a deal, peruse high-end outlets such as Nordstrom Rack or Neiman Marcus Last Call. You can find designer shoes at a fraction of the price you would normally spend, especially if you time your purchase with regular retail sales. Look for boots made from top-grain or full-grain leather, and that are stitched rather than glued together. Keep in mind that for a classic look, you need a boot with minimal additions, such as studs or buckles.

3. Night Nanny

If your family is expecting a child, spend some time researching night nannies. Night nannies are specially trained to manage feeding, changing, and cuddling duty so you can get some sleep. Although they may charge as much as $30 per hour, night nannies often guarantee that your infant will sleep through the night within six weeks of coming home from the hospital. This gives you invaluable time to rest, especially if you need to go back to work before your baby starts sleeping through the night, or if you’re raising a child on your own.

You can find a night nanny through word of mouth or by looking on a website such as Care.com. A good one should have multiple references and may even be a certified newborn care specialist or maternity nurse. A typical shift runs from 7pm to 7am, but you can hire a night nanny for as many (or as few) hours or nights as you’d like.

night nanny

4. Tailored Suits

Workers everywhere are implored to dress for the job they want rather than the job they have. And yet, so many American workers continue to wear ill-fitting clothing with a less-than-professional look. If you find a suit you like off the rack, be sure to hire a good tailor to perfect the fit. The tailor’s expertise may cost you more than $100, but you’re sure to impress everyone at the office and better position yourself for the job you want. Not only that, you may find that a well-tailored suit remains stylish for years, which sure beats schlepping to Kohl’s every few months for a pair of ill-fitting slacks that fall apart or go out of style.

Some high-end stores offer free tailoring with your purchase, but that doesn’t mean it’s wise to purchase a suit from them. Save by buying a suit from an outlet or mid-range store, and shop around for the best prices from independent tailors.

5. High-Quality Bed

You spend a third of your life asleep, so you need to put some thought into the quality of your bed. A low-quality mattress may contribute to chronic health conditions, such as spinal pain and insomnia, which can negatively impact your health, finances, and emotions over time. However, a high-end mattress can ease or eliminate such problems which makes it a sound investment that may even reduce medical issues.

A luxury mattress like a Tempur-Pedic Cloud can set you back as much as $4,000, but you don’t need to resign yourself to taking out a loan for a good night’s sleep. Go to a mattress store and try out a few models. Once you find a model you like, shop online or in outlets for the best price. Another option is to purchase a mattress topper instead of an entirely new mattress – this can easily save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars if you don’t need a full upgrade.

6. Cloud-Based Personal Assistant

If you’ve ever missed something on an invoice or forgotten a coworker’s birthday, you know how overwhelming the details of life can be. We can’t all have personal assistants at work, but with cloud-based services, you can come pretty close. These assistants help ensure that you never miss sending an invoice to a client, paying your water bill on time, or sending a card to your mom on her birthday. Packages start at $25, which buys you five personal assistant tasks per month. For $65 per month, you get 25 tasks. Check out Fancy Hands for more information.

7. Individual or Marriage Counseling

At $50 and up per session, individual or marriage counseling can feel like an unnecessary luxury when you’re managing just fine on your own. The trouble is, some people who claim to be managing just fine are actually enduring personal or marital crises that are only likely to escalate without intervention.

If you can’t stomach spending $100 per marriage counseling session, consider the exorbitant cost of divorce. Similarly, if you don’t want to pay for individual therapy, keep in mind that broken interpersonal relationships and damaging choices can also affect your bottom line. Counseling isn’t a cure-all for personal and interpersonal problems, but it can definitely help minimize the emotional, personal, and financial costs of crisis. If at first you don’t find a counselor that you or your spouse can work with, simply shop around for someone you both feel comfortable with.

Some health insurance plans cover counseling visits, so if you’re struggling, there’s no reason not to explore this avenue. If you don’t have a mental health benefit, search around for counseling interns through local graduate schools. These interns need to accumulate supervised hours for their licensure, which means you can sometimes access services for as little as $5 per hour. Just make sure you’re happy with the service, and recognize that you’re going to be dealing with someone without much experience.

marriage counseling

8. Grocery Delivery Service

Consumers pay top dollar for the convenience of grocery delivery via services such as Peapod. If you’re counting your pennies, it’s hard to justify spending twice as much on groceries just for the sake of convenience. But when you add up the time you expend every week trekking to the grocery store, shopping, purchasing, bagging, and loading and unloading groceries, it can add up in a hurry.

Consider the total amount of time it takes for you to shop. Then, consider how much money you could earn in that same amount of  time. If a grocery delivery service costs less than what you can earn, it might make sense. (This comparison is especially valuable for freelancers and the self-employed.)

Prices vary, but the costs of grocery delivery are usually tacked onto the price of each item you buy. For example, you may not pay a $50 delivery fee every week; you might instead pay $15 for frozen chicken rather than $11. Since delivery services aren’t available in every area, research which companies offer them in your area and how they work. If you’re looking for more information, check out three that deliver to specific areas: Amazon Fresh, Greenling, and Artizone.

Final Word

We all want to save money, but sometimes it makes sense to pay more for luxuries that save you money over the long run by sparing your valuable time, or improving your health or well-being. Think of it as an investment: The upfront cost may hurt, but your bottom line is sure to thank you over time.

Which of your favorite luxuries help you save money in the long run?

Mary McCoy
Mary McCoy, LMSW is a licensed social worker who works closely with individuals, families, and organizations in crisis. She knows first-hand how financial choices can prevent and mitigate crises, and she's therefore passionate about equipping people with the information they need to make solid financial decisions for themselves and their loved ones. When Mary isn't on her soap box, you can find her hiking, jogging, yoga-ing, or frolicking with her family.

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  • Linda Winkler

    None of these are ways I’d splurge, and unless you’re a parent of a newborn, or actively climbing a career ladder dressed for success, they have a limited audience. I already own a pair of good leather boots, so nothing here for me.

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