11 Things That Are Worth the Money

By POPSUGAR Smart Living on 14 December 2011 (Updated 24 February 2012) 12 comments

Tough times have made us all a bit more cautious about whipping out our wallets on a whim. When it comes to spending with discretion, it's important to have priorities about things you think are worth the money, and those items or services that are not. Here are 11 things that I think are worth it.

RELATED: 11 Things Not Worth the Money

1. Insurance

We need insurance to protect us from paying even more money should the unexpected occur. At the very least, car, homeowners (along with certain incidentals like fire and earthquake), and health insurance are well worth their premiums. However, keep in mind that not all insurance policies are worth the money. Check out these seven insurance policies you can live without.

2. Culture

Excursions like visiting museums and monuments serve as entertainment and they give you a dose of culture. It's easy to get trapped in your own little world, but observing other people's accomplishments can open your eyes.

3. Going to the Doctor

Your co-pay is nothing compared to the cost of health surprises. Keep your doctor's appointments to avoid future problems and live the healthiest life possible.

You can always opt for a Flexible Spending Account where you can use pre-tax dollars to pay for your co-pay for even more savings. Remember, to use up your FSA dollars before the end of the year with these ideas!

4. Education

Consider education an investment in yourself and your career. Taking classes that can improve your sense of industry or make you think differently about the path you've chosen are worth your time and money.

Even if you're done with your student days, you can always keep on learning. Take a look at our seven suggestions for community college courses.

5. A Good Haircut

You don't have to visit the most posh salon in town to get a good haircut, but spending money on a good cut will polish your appearance and you'll save yourself from having to pay even more to get a botched cut fixed.

6. Your Well-Being

You don't necessarily need a gym membership to work out, but if it's the only thing that will get you moving, by all means join a local club. Exercise reduces stress and makes you sharper. And when you're grocery shopping, get your hands on healthy food that will keep your body working the best it can.

Here are eight more ways to improve your well-being.

7. Home Maintenance/Repair

Ignoring a problem only makes it worse down the road. When something in your home needs fixing/cleaning/maintenance, do your best to take care of it as soon as possible.

8. A Sharp Interview Outfit

As I always say, your ability to earn an income is your biggest asset. You need a quality interview outfit to make the best impression and make you feel more confident — two big factors in having a successful interview.

9. Well-Made Shoes

Saving up for a quality pair of classic, well made shoes is a smart move in my book. They'll last for years, especially if you take care of them and get them resoled when needed. Get a pair that goes with everything, and you won't need to shoe shop for quite some time.

10. Travel

Living to work is no way to live at all, so get out and see the places that interest you. There's no price you can put on memories and special experiences, but don't go into debt for the sake of worldly education. Spend and save wisely, and you'll have the means to make your dream trips happen.

Remember, there are lots of ways to save when planning for your dream trip or you can also take mini trips that are close to home.

11. Visiting Family and Friends

Buying plane tickets or filling the gas tank to visit family and friends who live far away is a necessary part of life. Those people are a part of you, and maintaining those relationships is something you can't afford to not do.

This is a guest contribution from our friends at SavvySugar. Check out more useful articles from this partner:

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Guest's picture
Thad P

Re: number 1 of your 11: It seems as if we equate health insurance with wellness. They aren't the same. And if we shop for health insurance based on a co-pay, the premiums are going to be sky high (especially for the self-employed or small biz owner).

It might be more sensible to look for a high deductible, but lower cost plan combined with an FSA or HSA (forgoing the co-pay model), and use the savings from the lower premiums to fund both the FSA/HSA AND pay for things that more directly go to staying well. This would be geared toward protecting against an unexpected but critical illness or injury.

Guest's picture
Guest

Lasik, the best $1000 I ever spent, 10 years later and my vision is still 20/20

Tara Struyk's picture

Great post. I'm a big believer in good haircuts. That way, I can spend time working, rather than blow drying! Plus, they look good for a lot longer, so I think it evens out in the end in terms of cost.

Guest's picture

Going to the doctor and home maintenance and repair are the two that you definitely need to keep up with if you want to make sure you're not paying a bundle later on to pay for an even worse problem. If there is something small that is easily fixible, the best thing to do is just suck it up and get it repaired, if you don't, you might be very sorry later on that your didnt take that one preventative measure. This is also important to remember in terms of your car! Spending some cash here and there to get your car running smoothly and safely, will be loads of help when you're not faced with a decision to get a new engine, or an entirely new car.

Guest's picture

You must be my sister from another Mister.;0) I couldn't agree with you more. Life isn't worth living without well made shoes , travel and your well being. I'm getting a haircut this weekend. I've been miserably waiting to save money. Not worth it!:0)

Guest's picture
librarian

Good list! FYI on #2: Public libraries often have free passes for local museums that you can check out.

Guest's picture
Rob

Insurance? Seriously? I would have spent nearly $50,000.00 in the last 10 years on basic (see high deductible, no obstetrics) family (of 4) health insurance if I had chosen to buy it. My total family cost for medical treatment in the last 10 years (minus obstetrics) has been around $3000 - including chiro. The obstetrics added about $13,000, but it would have cost a lot more than $50,000 for 10 years of insurance that would have covered ob/gyn.

How would that have been a good investment? I'm an attorney. 3 years ago, I had a fire claim lawsuit (house burned down) against Nationwide that went far enough that we obtained Nationwide's tax records. It showed 4 billion dollars in profits. If insurance is such a good investment for the individual, then how in the world is Nationwide making 4 billion dollars? Because they take in a LOT more than they pay out in claims - and in that particular claim, they refused to pay the claim for 4+ years for no good reason before eventually settling the case for more than the house was worth. Nationwide's attorney fees in that case were likely in the $50,000 range. Do you know what that $50,000 does? It causes individual premiums to go even higher. If Nationwide were interested in cheaper insurance, they would pay their legitimate claims MUCH earlier in the legal process.

The bare fact of the matter is that the large majority of people will never get back as much from insurance as they pay into it. If you think that's a good investment, by all mean, keep paying.

A better investment is to eat healthy, work out and believe in God. If you're not the believing type, then yes, do an FSA.

Guest's picture
Tyler

Rob,

First of all, the author is not suggesting that insurance is a good "investment" in the sense that one would expect to have a realized ROI. It is more of a preventive measure to avoid a crippling medical cost. If you were to actually spend $50k on insurance in 10 years, and during that 10 years had a $200,000 medical expense because of a major surgery, your $50k would yield $150,000 in cost avoidance. Makes more sense that way, doesn't it? That is why people get insurance in the first place.

Secondly, it took you a bachelors and a JD to conclude that insurance companies profit? Wow, you shouldn't be wasting your time reading wisebread, you should be out saving the world!! Banks profit by charging interest, insurance companies profit by using probabilities.

You're a moron,
Tyler

Guest's picture
Thad P

Well said, Rob. I continue to be amazed at people who believe that the only answer to healthcare reform is to have insurance. It is like we have been programmed to believe that to be the case.

Dealing with the paperwork alone from healthcare issues can be incredibly time consuming (aside from the expense of insurance). If anyone believes healthcare reform will make it easier to navigate the system, they are in for a shock.

Guest's picture
Ego

Rob..... yes, yes, yes.....

We have been self-insured for 11 years. Anyone who buys medical insurance in this day-and-age are worse than a sucker, they are the duped enablers of a broken system.

Guest's picture
Guest

I love wisebread, but I kind of hate this list. Culture is not worth spending "good money" on, you can get that for free or very cheap. Spend a few days in the nearest city, meet people, go to free museum days, see local theater for a few bucks. And a haircut? Really? Is this 1950? I have a 6-figure income, I cut my own hair for free and it looks great.

Guest's picture
Ego

Insurance: Legal minimum, yes. Anything more, no. Why? Two reasons:

1. Insurance companies have worked hard to create a social stigma around the uninsured. It is through posts like this one that an aura of irresponsibility is linked to those who refuse to buy health insurance and support the system. Yet we all agree that the system is profoundly broken. Each and every person who buys insurance is in some small way allowing that broken system to exist. They are enablers. If we all stopped buying the poison product, things would have to change.

2. Insurance companies are extremely good at calculating risk. Extremely good. They calculate the actual risk-cost of insuring you then tack on administrative, advertising, and broker fees to the policy. If you buy extra insurance, say comprehensive coverage on your car, you are essentially betting that you are a worse driver than they believe you are. It is a legitimate option to drive more carefully than the average person your age and assume the risk yourself.

Self-insurance is an option.