In last month’s newsletter, I took a break from my usual “Save, invest, repeat” mantra to talk about spending. In particular, spending for joy.
I asked for reader responses to the question “What did you spend money on in the last year that brought you joy?”
And wow, I was surprised and delighted by the number of responses.
For some, it was a tough question. One reader said “Joy, what is that?” Another said the question “stopped me in my tracks”.
One very common answer was travel:
- family vacation to Cancun was very joyful! Expensive, but worth it.
- I went to a 5-day conference near Warsaw Poland for people who share my odd hobby of learning foreign languages. Despite the Ukraine war (which is not that far from there) it was a wonderful experience going to talks and workshops and chatting with like-minded people.
- traveling has brought me the most joy. It is a triple joy. Planning a trip keeps me excited and hopeful for things to come. Exploring with my family and friends and making new memories strengthens our bond. And then posting the pictures on my fridge where I can enjoy them with breakfast in a sweet reminder of good times. There’s always so much to see and do and sharing that is pure joy.
- Recent trip to see [my daughter] race in Nationals
- Trips to see family and gatherings including people I enjoy a lot. That spending does bring me joy.
- Trips to see children and to see places that inspire.
Another common answer was gifts to others:
- buying gifts for my granddaughter (really anybody, but especially my granddaughter)
- giving to several charities that I’m involved with
- a shirt I bought my son that he wears constantly, buying my daughter furniture for her new apartment and thinking of her in her new space with many comforts, a scarf my mum wears nonstop and some of my partners favorite socks that he won’t treat himself to.
- My hot tub! It’s a little slice of luxury, it’s self-care, it’s being outdoors in the dead of winter, it’s quality time with my husband (no phones!), it’s where we spy constellations, shooting fireballs and starlink satellites.
- My answer is concerts! We have taken [our daughter] to Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Drop Kick Murphys, and still have Billy Joel in September. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Taylor Swift tickets. That was too big of an investment.
- A new RV – purchased with an unexpected windfall from my grandmother.
- Going out for sushi!
- A good pair of shoes that I wear nonstop and make me feel comfortable and fashionable (I do a TON of walking). All my spending that brings me joy is on things I share with others (even the shoes- they go on walks with wonderful people)
- A beautiful painting for my bedroom that I look at all the time. It not only brings me joy but also a sense of peacefulness.
- Art supplies and art courses!
One of the most surprising answers:
- Last week I took a leap on myself and bought 2 parcels of sapphires! It’s an investment in my goal to graduate my stonesetting skills to where I no longer “practice” with cheap stones! I’m going to push forward make heirloom quality jewelry with beautiful stones in different golds.
My favorite answer:
- I discovered a tiny Italian market that makes the best version of my favorite sandwich, fresh bread, tomato, mozzarella, basil and pesto. I rarely make it for myself. I am not always in the area, but when I am I make a point of going and I buy (what occurs to me now) a little piece of joy.
And lastly, an interesting take and word of caution from Kathy Peterson of www.breatheeasyorganizing.com
- In my line of work, professional organizing, I am regularly faced with clients who have spent their money on many, many small bursts of shopping joy only to be followed by guilt and overwhelming clutter. Then they need help deciphering what to keep and what to let go of. It’s a painful process for them. But I believe if you asked them what spending brought them joy they would say shopping, an answer that is only partially true.
I enjoyed this feedback from readers and hope each of you find some joy in spending. But don’t forget to save! 🙂