It's ok to be spoiled, though I'm not talking about being a spoiled brat. Those are two different things. There is nothing wrong with liking a life of luxury, good living and good business, and everything wrong with living a low quality life if you can afford to improve it.
One of my favorite saying is:
Everything in moderation.
The same goes of living a life of luxury. There are two things to keep in mind about basic finance:
- Have (and use) a budget.
- Live below your means.
If you have the basic human needs, such as safe shelter and food, secured why not be comfortable? There are many people I know who live a life of near poverty in-order to save every single penny. To some degree they are correct: you need to save money for the future and invest! Though there comes a point there the quality of lifestyle (or there lack of quality) just doesn't make sense.
I admit it: I'm spoiled. I like nice things. I like being comfortable. I like being surrounded by nice things that are done my way.
Does this mean I spent a gazzilion dollars on things? No. Though it does mean I am willing to spend money to have a great life. I don't remember who said this quote but it's lived with me for a long time:
Poor minded people spend money on things, rich minded people invest in experiences.
I like having a good life experience, so here's a quick list of some of the things I'm willing to invest in to have a better life:
- quality internet
- healthy, comfy chair
- a puppy (soon not to be a puppy anymore though)
- quality coffee and tea
- museum membership
- air conditioning + air filter
- a comfy car
- high end speakers
You might be thinking: “dude, those are all ‘things.' To a degree you're right, though I don't see it that way:
- Good internet let's me get my work done faster and experience the world more fully and without restrictions.
- A good chair let's me keep my back healthy and my butt pain free. Being able to live with a healthy back gives you so much freedom in life!
- Puppies are just so darn fun. He's a trouble maker, though so far he's given me so many things to be happy about. Mood +1.
- Healthy in, healthy out: put good things into your body to expect to have your body do well. You've never really drank tea until you brew it yourself to perfection and go through the ‘tea' experience. Warm tea calms me, helps me think and it's my working companion in life.
- Museum memberships around Chicago run about $120 a piece. For that $120 I get to go to the museum as much as I want, see their private events and learn so many great things all without having to worry about if I'll get in each time. It's a worth while life experience!
- Having traveled the world I'll tell you one thing about American's: we take quality air for granted. I also don't take well to hot tempuratures. I work best in colder climates, and thus having AC is essential for me to be productive, get work done and not go crazy. The air filter helps keep the air dirt free, not really essential though there is a noticeable difference with and without it! Much better with it!
- I drive … a lot. Probably too much. Some days I spend about 6 hours in the car. I need to be safe, that's a given, but why torture myself on a clunker car when I can be in a car that's very comfortable to ride in, fun to drive and has all the toys I could ever want? If you commute a lot you know the pain of driving for hours on end. In my current car, all I do is turn on the latest interesting podcast, set the adaptive cruise control and kinda zonk out. The car handles most of the driving and all I have to do is steer left or right … that's it. Makes stop and go traffic driving much more bearable!
- I'm an audiofile. I can't stand low quality audio to the point that poor quality music, for example, will actually make me less productive. During my creative sessions, the high quality audio helps me have new ideas, tune out the world and just experience the ‘feelings' of the music, which in turn puts my creative mind into overdrive!
I didn't do this all at once though. It's taken me a while to get here. I can now afford such nice things all within my budget, all within my means and even better: all while still putting money into savings, investments, and random fun money things! There are things that I'd still like such as a sports car, but that's out of my means at the moment. So we'll get there when the time is right.
In the mean time, I'll be living rather comfortably by getting luxury things bit by bit and adjusting to the new world as it comes.
The big thing to remember is that being spoiled in the correct way means staying within your budget. You'll be surprised how many ‘nice' things you can have if you look around a bit.
You don't need a new sofa from that boutique store, why not see the local Good Will or thrift store? How about checking Craigslist? My personal favorite is moving sales! At one moving sale I got a full 3 piece sofa set (1 long couch, 2 arm chairs) make from high end wood, custom made … for $20. A town about 15 minutes from here has an annual ‘toss anything' day. It's also a rather posh area. At one of those I found a 9 very high end speaker set WITH a digital receiver, real Japanese lanterns and even some brand new filing cabinets.
It doesn't take much to live a life of luxury. You just have to start building up for it. It takes time, but it's well worth it. My life is much happier now that I've given myself these cushy life experiences.
Want to go on a sale boat? Find a yacht club and see if there are people there willing to give tours, or if you can help on the boat if they let go for some fun cruises with them. Want to have fun in nice cars? Either get to know people with nice cars, or join a car club and help out there.
Another fun one, and another personal favorite: camping and hiking. Taking a weekend trip up to Wisconsin or Michigan only costs me a bit in fuel and some basic food (and water) supplies. It's not expensive to go hiking. But if I'm feeling especially cheap: my wife and I go into the city (Chicago) and pretend we're tourists. We go see some great architecture, go to (other) museums on their free entry days (or find coupons/discounts … for example, with a Bank Of America credit or debit card you can free entry into the Chicago Art Museum), see free show (it's almost fall which means it's fall classical concert time in Millenium Park).
All of this makes for some very great living, all while being spoiled on having fun. No body said you have to be rich financially to be a wealthy person!